Public Lab Research note

Three water samples — Emerson Data Visualization

by jacktemp | September 29, 2014 00:40 29 Sep 00:40 | #11197 | #11197

Group 2

Sample A: Jamaica pond


Coordinates: (42.318978 and -71.118460) Type: Pond water Conductivity: High Background: Jamaica Pond is located in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood. It is a kettle pond, sediment filled and formed by retreating glaciers. The pond has an area of 68 acres. It is 1.5 miles around and 53 ft. deep at it’s center. Part of the Emerald Necklace, it is the largest body of freshwater in Boston and the source of the Muddy River that drains into the Charles River. Rowboats, kayaks, and sailboats are permitted on the pond. Swimming in the pond is prohibited.

A 2010 article from the Jamaica Plain Gazette reported that storm sewers run directly into the pond from adjacent streets. This has a strong likelihood of increasing the probability of pollution in the pond. The site where I collected a sample was just along the pond’s edge, where ducks were resting and sediment abundant. The presence of the animals and my proximity to the shore may affect the conductivity of the water. There seemed to be little litter and the location that I collected from was far from any boats. In general, Jamaica Pond is a popular place to run, walk, fish, and boat. There is a lot of human activity around the pond that may increase the likelihood of pollution.


Sample B: Leverett Pond


Coordinates: (42.330251 and -71.113226) Type: Pond water Conductivity: Low Background: Leverett Pond is one of three ponds in Olmsted Park, located in Brookline and Boston, Massachusetts. The pond is part of Boston’s Emerald Necklace and was created from a malarial swamp. It is a popular location for biking, walking, and hiking. The busy Jamaicaway runs close beside the pond.

I collected my sample from the shore of Leverett Pond. The area has trees hanging over the water. Leaves from the tree fall into the water. There are two man-made islands in the middle of the pond. Nearby, birds and other wildlife habitat the pond. Though it is allowed, I did not observe any boating or fishing. This leads me to believe that the pollution level will be low, due to the lack of human activity in the pond. Still, it is a fairly urban pond in close proximity to a major roadway. This may contribute to the pollution level.


Sample C: Charles River


Coordinates: (42.367588, -71.067532) Type: River water Conductivity: I predict it will have a high conductivity because it is salt water, and seems polluted. Background: I took this sample from the Science Park section of the Charles River. In this spot, many boats drive by as it toward the end of this stretch of the esplanade. A small staircase leads down to the portion of the river, so many birds gather in this spot as well. I was surprised to find a great deal of fish swimming around when I collected the sample.

In the 1600s, people found that the Charles had little current in many portions, but developed a power mill to quicken this pace. In the 1950s journalists discovered that much wastewater and sewage was running into the river, making it foul and "un-swimmable."

Government officials were forced to shut down swimming areas along the river at this time, and anyone exposed to the water was encouraged to get a tetanus shot. In the 90s, the United States Environmental Protection Agency launched a campaign to make the river swimmable by 2005. This mission was largely successful — by fixing sewer overflows, the river’s quality improved greatly. By 2007 the river was deemed safe again.

As of 2013, the EPA rated the water quality of the river an “A-” up from a “D” in 1995. This grade means the water meets all standards. The water quality is better on days without rain.



Nice work! Looking forward to listening to the conductivity in class!

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