Source Water Quality Monitoring Program

Given that the City of Cambridge only owns and controls ~10% of watershed lands, water quality monitoring is an essential means of identifying sources of pollution and tracking water quality changes over time. The Watershed Division relies on the sound scientific information gathered under the Source Water Quality Monitoring Program (SWQMP) to guide its watershed management practices. 

The primary goal of the Cambridge SWQMP is to ensure that water withdrawn from Fresh Pond Reservoir for treatment is as free as possible from contaminants, thereby minimizing the costs of treatment and protecting overall water quality. Specific objectives of the program are to:

  • Monitor the condition of source waters in the Cambridge drinking water supply system;

  • Determine where, when, and how water quality conditions are changing over time;

  • Identify acute and chronic problems related to source water quality; 

  • Evaluate the effectiveness of programs designed to prevent or remediate water quality problems;

  • Ensure that all applicable water quality goals, standards, and guidelines are being met; and

  • Provide for rapid response to problems identified in real-time.  

The Cambridge SWQMP consists of the four major elements shown below. Click on each one to learn more. 

Routine Sampling

Details the dry weather (baseflow) and weekly reservoir sampling procedures for monitoring the standard conditions of the watershed.

Event-Based Surface Water Monitoring

Details the event-based sampling procedure for monitoring stormwater runoff and construction effects.

Continuous Record Surface Water Monitoring

In partnership with the USGS (United States Geological Survey).

Data Management, Interpretation, and Reporting

Analysis of watershed data.