Monitoring Groundwater

Yesterday I began my independent study field work. My project involves sampling groundwater from various locations on Nantucket for Nitrate and Phosphate, two nutrients that are added to water via human activities. I went around to three groundwater wells with Emily MacKinnon of the Nantucket Land Council. We stopped and took various measurements including conductivity, salinity, dissolved oxygen, dissolved solids, pH, and temperature at the Umass Boston Field Station, Clarke’s Cove, and Hummock Pond. Emily was super helpful and showed me how to measure the depth of the groundwater and how to use all of the instruments. After taking water samples from the three locations, I then went back to the Field Station to perform Nitrate and Phosphate tests using the spectrophotometer. I did the tests multiple times to ensure accurate results. I found that nitrate levels were extremely low in all three locations while phosphate was prominent, especially at the Field Station well where I got a reading of 1.11 mg/L of Phosphate in the sample. This is a high level, most likely due to fertilizers seeping into the groundwater. I look forward to doing these tests weekly to find out where the problem areas are on Nantucket, so I can inform the community and hopefully measures can be taken to reduce these nutrients in our drinking water.

2 thoughts on “Monitoring Groundwater

  1. I’m glad that you are doing this and will follow along, I’m most interested in this particular subject…
    Thank you for taking the time!

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