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WRWA Water Quality Projects and Improvements @ Head of Westport

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Presentation on Projects and Programs. WRWA works to document and improve water quality in the Westport River, Westport, MA.

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WRWA Water Quality Projects and Improvements @ Head of Westport

  1. 1. Water Quality Improvements Roberta Carvalho Science Director Westport RiverWatershed Alliance email– water@wrwa.com
  2. 2. Making a Difference Swimmable and ShellfishableWestport River • Shellfishing – the MA Division of Marine Fisheries began testing in the 1960s in theWestport River – shellfish beds were increasingly being closed in the River due to fecal coliform contamination. • WRWA sampling program begins 1991. • In 2006WRWA established aWatershed Improvement Fund (WIF) to provide partial funding for projects that make a significant contributions to improving the health of the Westport River watershed. • Priority was given to projects that addressed major pollution problems. • Since the implementation of multiple best management projects,WRWA has observed improvements in water quality parameters at the Head ofWestport area. • This presentation describes some of the watershed improvement projects and details water quality improvements seen at the Head ofWestport. WRWA - Water Quality Improvement at the Head of Westport2
  3. 3. Pathogens –Waste Related Bacteria WRWA - Water Quality Improvement at the Head of Westport3 Bacteria. Bacteria do not generally damage the ecosystem, but can make people sick when they eat tainted seafood, or swim in contaminated water.They are also a marker to identify the possible presence of other pathogens that come from the same fecal sources. Cesspools do not do an adequate job of treating bacteria. Functioning traditional septic systems (TitleV approved) are effective at treating bacteria. High bacteria counts are why shellfish beds and/or beaches are closed. Bacteria in the river comes from human wastewater and domestic and wild animal waste.The majority of bacteria are conveyed to the River via stormwater, although ground water is significant, too, particularly during wet weather.
  4. 4. Pathogens - Bacteria WRWA - Water Quality Improvement at the Head of Westport4 • What is measured – the number of bacteria colonies present in the water sample. • Indicator species = fecal coliform indicates the presence of bacterial pathogens in the water • How to measure – place 1 ml of water on an agar petri dish, incubate for 24 hours. Count bacteria colonies. • Desired range – • Drinking water 0/100 ml • Swimming < 200/100 ml • Boating < 1000/100 ml • Naturally present in ecosystems • Comes from– animal waste, sewage • In 1960 the state (DMF) began testing fecal coliform levels and used the data to open and close shellfish areas
  5. 5. Making a Difference – Decreasing Pollution WRWA - Water Quality Improvement at the Head of Westport5 There are two main types of pollution in the river – 1) bacteria, an indicator of sewage – which can make you sick and close shellfish beds and beaches, and 2) nutrients, which fuel algae growth and create unhealthy ecosystems. These two issues are often confused.
  6. 6. WRWA monitors bacteria weekly June-August WRWA - Water Quality Improvement at the Head of Westport6 Map the data Put results on our wesbsite and facebook page each week
  7. 7. Pollution at the Head ofWestport • This part of theWestport River is on the 303d list AKA Clean Water Act’s dirty waters list • Direct discharge of untreated road runoff built in the 1960’s • Bacteria pollution (fecal coliform) at levels of in the hundred-thousands (not suitable for recreation activities). WRWA - Water Quality Improvement at the Head of Westport7
  8. 8. Timeline of AreaWatershed Improvement Projects WRWA - Water Quality Improvement at the Head of Westport8 1 3 4 5 2 1. Ferry Farm Retention Ponds installed in 2001.WRWA donated $12,000 of watershed improvement funds to help offset construction costs. 2. Install catch basins and route road runoff to vegetated area.Work done by Westport Highway Department as part of a MA DEP funded 319 grant written in partnership with WRWA. 3. Constructed wetland built byWestport Highway Department as part of a MA DEP funded 319 grant written in partnership with WRWA. WRWA supported the project with$41,000 funds and volunteer efforts to plant and maintain since 2006. 4. Raingardens—second 319 grant to reduce polluted runoff from municipal properties (WMS) built in 2012. 5. Larger raingardens built in 2013 at the Westport Middle School complex to treat parking lot, roof and road runoff.
  9. 9. Ferry Farm on Gifford Road – Retention Ponds WRWA - Water Quality Improvement at the Head of Westport9 1.Ferry Farm Retention Ponds were built in 2001. WRWA donated $12,000 of watershed improvement funds to help offset construction costs. Retention ponds The retention ponds prevent cow manure and other polluted runoff from leaving the farm and draining into the River.
  10. 10. GrantWriting – working with State and Federal Agencies to fund solutions WRWA - Water Quality Improvement at the Head of Westport10 In the early 2000’s WRWA worked with Buzzards Bay National Estuaries Program (Dr. Joe Costa – Director) to write a series of grants for the Town of Westport to assess and remediate polluted stormwater runoff at the Head of Westport. Multiple grants were written for engineering services and BMP (Best Management Projects) to engineer design stormwater solutions for the area This series of grants segued into a successful grant application to the MA DEP – 319 Grant program – these funds were to implement the designs.
  11. 11. Work with theWestport Highway Department WRWA - Water Quality Improvement at the Head of Westport11 2. Work with the Westport Highway Department to install catch basins on Gifford Road and change the road runoff area to drain to a vegetated area. Work done by Westport Highway Department as part of a MA DEP funded 319 grant written in partnership with WRWA. The total grant was $264,332.
  12. 12. Grant funds build a wetland treatment system WRWA - Water Quality Improvement at the Head of Westport12 2. Constructed wetland built by Westport Highway Department and contractors as part of a MA DEP funded 319 grant written in partnership with WRWA. WRWA supported the project with $41,000 of funds to design, plant and maintain since 2006.
  13. 13. Wetland Pond cleans polluted runoff WRWA - Water Quality Improvement at the Head of Westport13 This system has been treating polluted runoff since 2006. Native wetland plants help slow down and clean up road runoff.
  14. 14. Tweaking the System—Operation and Maintenance WRWA - Water Quality Improvement at the Head of Westport14 4. In 2012, $4,500 in WRWA funds were used to buy equipment for the Town to fix and improve the road drainage at the Head of Westport into the constructed wetland. WRWA worked with the Westport Highway Department to implement the project.
  15. 15. Raingardens— WRWA - Water Quality Improvement at the Head of Westport15 4. WRWA worked with the Town to secure a second 319 grant to reduce polluted runoff originating on municipal properties, beginning at the then Westport Middle School, a series of bioretention gardens were designed and then built in phases in 2012-13. The total grant for this project was $233,930
  16. 16. Raingardens— WRWA - Water Quality Improvement at the Head of Westport16 4.WRWA worked to secure a second 319 grant to reduce polluted runoff from municipal properties, beginning at the then Westport Middle School, this series of bioretention gardens were built in 2012.
  17. 17. Raingardens— WRWA - Water Quality Improvement at the Head of Westport17 5. More engineered Raingardens were engineered by a environmental firm and constructed by the Westport Highway Department, this was also funded by the 319 grant to reduce polluted runoff from municipal properties (Westport Middle School) built in 2013.
  18. 18. Raingardens— WRWA - Water Quality Improvement at the Head of Westport18 5. After construction by theWestport Highway Department, the area was planted byWRWA volunteers.The plants and vegetation were paid for byWRWA ($7k cost).
  19. 19. WRWATesting Results - Head ofWestport 2001-2015 WRWA - Water Quality Improvement at the Head of Westport19 y = -0.5555x + 22914 R² = 0.0234 0 10000 20000 30000 40000 50000 60000 70000 80000 90000 7/24/1998 4/19/2001 1/14/2004 10/10/2006 7/6/2009 4/1/2012 12/27/2014 9/22/2017 CFUper100ml Dates
  20. 20. WRWATesting Results – Average and Geomean WRWA - Water Quality Improvement at the Head of Westport20 y = -178.79x + 359887 R² = 0.339 y = -15.54x + 31365 R² = 0.3572 -1000 0 1000 2000 3000 4000 5000 6000 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 2010 2012 2014 2016 FecalColifomConcentration(cfu/100ml) Year Average and Geometric Mean of Fecal Coliform Samples at the Head ofWestport 2000-2015 AVG Geomean Linear (AVG ) Linear (Geomean) A geometric mean, Mathematical definition: The nth root of the product of n numbers. unlike an arithmetic mean, tends to dampen the effect of very high or low values, which might bias the mean. This is helpful when analyzing bacteria concentrations, because levels may vary anywhere from 10 to 10,000 fold over a given period. Geometric mean is really a log- transformation of data to enable meaningful statistical evaluations.
  21. 21. WRWATesting Results – Average and Geomean WRWA - Water Quality Improvement at the Head of Westport21 0 1000 2000 3000 4000 5000 6000 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 2010 2012 2014 2016 AVG Geomean Retentions Ponds at Ferry Farm Built Gifford Rd catchbasins and swales improved Constructed Wetland planted and online Raingardens built at Middle School
  22. 22. Rough estimation of total spent on remediation work near the Head ofWestport WRWA - Water Quality Improvement at the Head of Westport22 12,000 264,332 41,000 4,500 233,930 7,000 TOTAL =$562,762 Funding Source WRWA 319 Grant WRWA WRWA 319 Grant WRWA WRWA provided almost $65k in cash and also hundreds of hours in staff time.
  23. 23. WRWA - Water Quality Improvement at the Head of Westport23
  24. 24. Next big issue: NutrientTMDL How to address nutrient loads in the watershed
  25. 25. Nutrients - Nitrogen WRWA - Water Quality Improvement at the Head of Westport25 • WRWA works with the Buzzards Bay Coalition to monitor nutrient levels in the River. • What is measured – Nutrients (dissolved and particulate nitrogen, nitrate, nitrite, ammonia, phosphorus at freshwater sites) • Comes from– septic systems, fertilizers, agriculture • Nitrogen levels will continue to increase until communities decide to reduce source inputs. • How to reduce input? • Stop development? • Revise septic rules? • No new nitrogen?
  26. 26. WRWA - Water Quality Improvement at the Head of Westport26 • Municipal wastewater treatment (SewageTreatment Plants) are first to have requirements for limiting nitrogen inputs (Westport does not have these) • Rhode Island has a property inspection and cesspool phase out requirements in certain management areas began in 2007 • TitleV Septic systems do not remove nitrogen from effluent which leeches into groundwater and eventually the River • The Massachusetts Estuaries Report and draftTMDL report have determined how much nitrogen needs to be removed from the Westport River to ensure that it is a healthy ecosystem –The amount is close to 19% • A Comprehensive Water Management Plan is needed to guide theTown (watershed) on how to proceed with nutrient reduction.

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