• Lush vegetation on the top of Spectacle Island's North drumlin dominates the foreground. Boston's skyline can be seen in the distance.  The park's logo with tag line minutes away, worlds apart empashises the stark contrast between the city and islands.

    Boston Harbor Islands

    National Recreation Area Massachusetts

Island Facts: Nut Island

Beautiful harbor vistas are found on this peninsula which houses a waste water pumping station and landscaped park.


 
Short History
The island was likely used seasonally by Native Americans. Colonists used the island for grazing their cattle. It has a long history of use for sewage treatment. It is now part of the Boston Project with the new facility at Deer Island.
 

General Information
This island of Boston Harbor Islands national park area is managed by Massachusetts Water Resources Authority.

Agency Designation: Nut Island Pumping Station - Boston Harbor Project
Current Use: Sewage disposal; park purposes
Harbor Location: Outer Harbor
Acreage: 20.5 upland acres
Highest elevation: 10 feet
Longitude: 42° 16' 42.3" North
Latitude: 70° 57' 18.6" West
Miles from Long Wharf: 8.2
 
Visitor Facilities & Services
Hours:
Piers/Docks:
No
Visitor season:
0
Boat slips:
0
Visitor staff:
No
Moorings:
0
Guided tours:
No
Park boats:
None
Lifeguards:
No
Car access:
No
Flush toilets:
No
Campsites:
0 (capacity ea: 0)
Composting toilets:
No
Group campsites:
0 (capacity ea: 0)
Picnic areas:
No
Camping capacity:
0
Refreshments:
No
Cooking grills:
0
Drinking water:
No
Walking trails:
Yes
On-island Circulation: A 2,500-foot loop road connects with the mainland (Quincy). Paved trails traverse the site.
 
Natural History Overview
Vegetation
Many new trees and shrubs have been planted as part of the new public park area.

Wildlife
Survey in progress.

Geology
The island rises approximately 10 feet in elevation and is surrounded by a rip-rap retaining wall.

Water Features
The new pump facility at Nut Island is part of one of the largest, most elaborate constructed water features in the country. A 4.8-mile tunnel from Nut Island pumps sewage from 21 South Shore communities to Deer Island for primary treatment.

Views and Vistas
Nut Island is visible from the islands in Quincy Bay. Islands most visible from Nut Island include Peddocks, Hangman, Rainsford, Moon and Long Islands.
 
Structures
Buildings
  • MWRA sewage treatment plant
  • Guard house
Fortifications
  • None
Other Structures
  • Pier
  • Entry gate
  • Alger Foundry monument
  • MWRA tunnel with silver ventilation ducts are prominent features in the landscape
  • Benches
  • Fences
  • Stone retaining walls
Comments
Private vehicle access through Squantum is discouraged.
 
Alternate Names
Island names have changed, depending on ownership and the customs of the times. What's in a Name? lists alternate names for park islands (and a few Harbor islands not within the park). Following are known names for Nut Island:
  • Houghs Tomb
  • Hoff’s Thumb

Did You Know?

Double-crested Cormorant Rests at Boston Harbor Islands

Shag Rocks in Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area offers roosting sites for cormorants and other seabirds that fish the surrounding waters. Better known in Britain as “shags,” cormorants gave this rocky outcropping its name. More...