Public Lab Research note

Bridget & Casey's Water Sample Locations

by caseyrcampbell327 | September 29, 2014 11:04 29 Sep 11:04 | #11201 | #11201

Plymouth Harbor Boat Ramp


Our first water sample was taken from Plymouth, Massachusetts on the South Shore. It is from the main harbor area, specifically the dock at the boat ramp. Plymouth Harbor holds 700 boats on moorings and each summer hundreds of additional citizens without moorings launch their boats through this boat ramp. We thought it would be interesting to test this area for a few reasons. First of all, this is salt water. It could be interesting to see how salinity affects conductivity. There is also dozens of boats in the surrounding water every day and there must be some runoff from their engines, similar to cars on the road. Our sample is specifically from the floating dock thats used for temporary tie-up. Usually one person will drive the vehicle that backs their boat into the water with another person on the boat. This way one can go park their truck while the other ties their boat up to this dock and the driver is still able to access the boat. Basically, this dock sees a lot of boats every year, especially April-September. 


While Plymouth tends to pride itself on being one of the cleanest harbors in Massachusetts, it will be interesting to see the results of this area. It’s also important to note that the results we find may not necessarily reflect the entire harbor. Plymouth has a dynamic shore line and you would have to test a lot of different spots to get a true reading of the entire harbor. 

Nelson Park, Plymouth, MA


Our second sample is also from the main harbor of Plymouth, MA, but quite a different location. This is the beach area of Nelson Park, a spot on the end of the main road in downtown that frequents hundreds of visitors every summer. This area has an interesting history though, in terms of its water use. Just five years ago signs were posted along the beach warning people not to swim. Parents would still bring their kids to play on the playground and tourists still loved the view. But the town did an entire restoration project of this park in 2010. The not only cleaned up the playground area, adding a splash pad and new sidewalks and landscaping, but the beach area was much improved. Through this project they turned the beach into a recreational area that people could actually use. Additionally they added an improved storm water wetlands area, which would prevent the area from flooding with the runoff from heavy New England storms.


Since this project was completed many more people go to Nelson Park than ever before. It’s a smaller beach, and closer the the northern part of town than any other beach in Plymouth. Crowds gather there to watch the fireworks on the Fourth of July, and kids love the option of having a splash pad and the ocean at their fingertips. Overall, it seems like a big improvement. Hopefully our results will yield the same and show that this new and improved park is just that.  


Our third sample is from a private home in Beacon Hill (photo of Beacon Hill neighborhood in general, licensed for reuse without modification via WikiMedia [as opposed to photo of actual private residence, to protect residents]). This is a rather affluent area of Boston, a place that typically is considered to be a safe and convenient place to live. Many of Boston's rich and powerful live here, and many consider Beacon Hill to be one of the safest, most historic neighborhoods to move to.

While there aren't any immediate public concerns regarding the neighborhood's water safety, we are interested to see if the standards of Beacon Hill living translate to their water supply. Many tourists and students frequently travel through the neighborhood, which could pose a problem to the water supply if any of these groups were to accidentally pollute the supply. We used unfiltered water from the tap, which would presumably be a decent representation of at least the block, if not the street and whole neighborhood.


Great research note you two. Do you have a third sample?

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I believe Bridget is posting it this afternoon!

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