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Region 1: EPA New England

Science Reports (TMDL & Lab Reports)

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An Individual Makes A Difference

An important characteristic of the Clean Charles Initiative that has helped this effort to be successful is because of widespread support it receives – not only from EPA and State and local government agencies, but also from concerned and dedicated volunteer groups and individuals.

One individual who has played a large role in helping the Charles return to better ecological health is a local private citizen and kayak enthusiast: Roger Frymire. As a environmentalist who enjoys spending a lot of time paddling on the river he loves, Roger has helped the Clean Charles efforts significantly by collecting water samples during his regular excursions on the river. He has collected and sent to EPA's regional laboratory over 700 samples for analysis. These data have provided important information on water quality in different parts of the river, helping to identify previously unknown sources of bacterial contamination. Roger Frymire's work has been instrumental to the Charles River clean up.

A key component of EPA's ongoing efforts to clean the Charles River has been to apply the best, most current scientific data and methodologies to understanding the pollution issues in the river, and to measuring our progress cleaning the river.

Monitoring along the Charles River

Monitoring along the Charles River

When EPA established the Clean Charles Initiative in 1995, our strategy was to develop a comprehensive approach for improving water quality through CSO controls, removal of illicit sanitary connections, stormwater management planning and implementation, public outreach, education, monitoring, enforcement and technical assistance.

To support the initiative, EPA has conducted much monitoring in the Charles River Watershed. EPA monitoring reports can be found below. EPA's core monitoring program 1998-2007 data has been used to identify water conditions at reasource areas, document water quality impaired areas, track trends in the river, and to provide the necessary information for the development of a TMDL. Although EPA's Core Monitoring Program ended in 2007, EPA remains committed to support monitoring and science in the Charles River. EPA will continue to analyze hot spot bacteria samples collected in the Charles River watershed and will support efforts for special purpose monitoring.

Monitoring to Detect Pharmaceutical Products
Scientists from EPA's New England regional laboratory have conducted sampling to detect trace amounts of pharmaceutical and personal care products in the Charles River. This sampling has been done for two primary reasons: 1) to gather research information on PPCP concentratons in the Charles River; and 2) help identify human sources of bacteria or sewage contamination entering the river.

In 2005 and 2007, EPA performed sampling of PPCP indicators, including caffeine and over the counter pain relief medications.

EPA's Annual Water Quality Report on the Lower Charles River 2005, April 2006 (PDF) (16 pp, 2.1 MB)

Nationally, EPA is gathering information on levels and types of PPCP residues found in water in the U.S., because studies have shown that pharmaceuticals are present in our nation's waterbodies. Further research suggests that certain drugs may cause ecological harm. More research is needed to determine the extent of ecological harm and any role it may have in potential human health effects. To date, scientists have found no evidence of adverse human health effects from PPCPs in the environment. Typically, PPCP products occur in the environment in extremely small concentrations – measured in parts per billion or even parts per trillion. More information on EPA's efforts to research PPCP residues in waters.

EPA Reports

For purposes of identifying problems, solutions and measuring progress, EPA has conducted studies to better understand water quality issues in the Charles. This section is designed to provide easy access to scientific research and reports that have contributed to the Clean Charles Initiative since 1995.

10 Year Report (2005) (PDF) (38 pp, 151 K)
A comprehensive program overview developed to mark 10 years of the Clean Charles Initiative

EPA Regional Laboratory Reports

Other Charles River Reports

USGS Reports

CRWA Reports

RMI Reports
EPA funded and partnered with Rocky Mountain Institute to conduct first national research paper on benefits of daylighting.

NEIWPCC Reports (PDF) (36 pp, 321 K)
Two studies assessing the performance of the Gunderboom system as a means of creating an engineered swimming area on the Charles

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