Water Quality Improvements in Boston Harbor
Harbor and Outfall Manager
Environmental Quality Department
Massachusetts Water Resources Authority
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?
Worlds End was a proposed site for the United Nations Headquarters in 1945 and a nuclear power plant in 1965. Now part of the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area, it includes 251 acres of undisturbed grasslands and over 4 miles of footpaths.