Event-Based Surface Water Monitoring

In the event of a spill or hazardous material release, Watershed Division staff members may collect water quality samples to assess the impact, if any, to the drinking water supply and to inform water treatment plant operations. Watershed Division staff may also collect water quality samples from tributaries, outfalls, or reservoir locations to identify sources of pollution or unusual water quality conditions. The Cambridge Water Department laboratory is on standby 24-hours a day allowing staff to quickly identify and address acute sources of pollution.

The Watershed Division also funds stormwater sampling by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) at four tributary locations throughout the watershed. USGS stormwater sample results are compared against routine, dry-weather baseflow samples to assess the effects of storms on introducing sediment and associated constituent loads to tributaries and reservoirs in the watershed.

A shed next to a tributary with equipment for automatic collection of water quality samples.
USGS stormwater sampler at a Cambridge watershed tributary monitoring station.

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