• 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

Water Quality Improvements in Boston Harbor

Dr. David Taylor
Dr. David Taylor
Project Manager
Harbor and Outfall Manager
Environmental Quality Department
Massachusetts Water Resources Authority
(617) 788-4952
e-mail author
 
Delivered at 2008 Boston Harbor Islands Science Symposium.

Water quality in Boston Harbor in 2007 was significantly improved relative to conditions prior to 2000, the year the secondary-treated discharges from the Deer Island wastewater treatment facility to Boston Harbor were diverted offshore. Since 2000, nitrogen concentrations and biomass of phytoplankton in the harbor water column have decreased by approximately 50%. Midsummer dissolved oxygen concentrations in the bottom-waters have increased, and counts of pathogen indicator bacteria have decreased. Water clarity has remained much the same, but the sea grasses that at the start of the century covered much of the harbor seafloor, are showing evidence of recolonization.

Did You Know?

Sunset at the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area

In the 1800s, when the Great Famine drove a million or more Irish citizens to immigrate to the United States, Deer Island was the landing point for thousands of refugees, many sick and poverty-stricken, hoping to reach the Port of Boston. More...