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Boston Harbor and Massachusetts Bay
MWRA Environmental Quality Department

Massachusetts Bay Benthic Monitoring: Farfield stations

Sea-floor, or benthic monitoring in 2008 was conducted at soft-bottom stations in the nearfield and farfield and through a video and photographic survey of rocky habitats in the vicinity of the outfall and at reference locations to the north and south.

Sediments from farfield stations are typically finer-grained than those from the nearfield but also have lower concentrations of some contaminants, a pattern that has persisted throughout the monitoring program.

Locations of soft-bottom farfield stations

While not used currently by MADEP or MADMF, Enterococcus is now recognized by the EPA as a better indicator of public health risk to swimmers than fecal coliform in seawater. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health adopted the Enterococcus standard for swimming areas. This standard includes a geometric mean of 35 colonies per 100 ml and a single sample maximum of 104 colonies per 100 ml Enterococcus.