Lake and Stream Monitoring

Why monitor water quality?

The WLA monitors the water quality of Webster Lake and four streams that flow into the lake. Water monitoring is the first defense in identifying possible pollutants that may be detrimental to the lake's watershed and ecosystem. The monitoring data provides a valuable record of measurements over an extended period.

The WLA has been monitoring the lake water since 2004 and the stream waters since 2006. In 2004 and 2005 The French River Connection monitored the three streams. The WLA took over this monitoring in 2006. The system has evolved and improved over the years. Several outside groups have sought help from the WLA in setting up and improving their own water monitoring procedures. The data has also been used by both the State of Massachusetts and ACT in preparation of their reports. In addition, the Town of Webster has used our data to assist in stormwater management. The data is also reported to the Mass Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and is reviewed by The Last Green Valley as part of their Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP). Our Webster Lake monitoring data is available on this website HERE.

2016 STREAM Testing Schedule

TIME: 1:30-2:30 PM DATE: Sunday, 8/7 (Rain or Shine)
TIME: 1:30-2:30 PM DATE: Sunday, 9/25 (Rain or Shine)
TIME: 1:30-2:30 PM DATE: Sunday, 6/5 (Rain or Shine)

2016 LAKE Testing Schedule

TIME: 10:30 AM to Noon DATE: Sunday, 8/7 (Rain or Shine)
TIME: 10:30 AM to Noon DATE: Sunday, 9/25 (Rain or Shine)
TIME: 10:30 AM to Noon DATE: Sunday, 6/5 (Rain or Shine)

General Procedure for Water Monitoring

The WLA has two water monitoring teams: The Lake Team and The Stream Team. The Lake Team performs monitors at the deepest spot in each of the three ponds: South Pond, Middle Pond and North Pond. The Stream Team performs tests at four different places: Brown's Brook near LKQ at Route 16, Brown's Brook on Lower Gore Road, and Mine Brook and Sucker Brook on Mine Brook Road. The unnamed brook which joined Brown Brook near LKQ was monitored in 2004 and 2005, but after the forest surrounding this brook was practically clearcut, the monitoring was discontinued in 2006. Currently, both teams collect data three times during the year, on a Saturday or Sunday: once in the Spring, once in the Summer and once in the Fall.

The monitoring is an all-volunteer activity and we often need volunteers. It is a pleasant experience with a nice few hours on the lake or the streams. If you are interested, please contact Gloria Ricker. Phone: 508-943-9113 Email:

Data Recorded

A variety of observations are recorded by the monitors. These include weather conditions and water qualities including the clarity of the water.

Several measurements are based on water samples which are collected at different depths (at the surface, near the bottom, and at the thermocline, if it exists). A colorimeter is used to test some of the samples for nitrate concentration while other samples are sent to professional testing laboratories (meeting state quality requirements) to determine chlorophyll and total phosphorus.

Additional measurements are gathered using a device called the Troll 9500. The Troll is used to measure conductivity of the water, dissolved oxygen, ORP (Oxygen Reduction Potential), temperature, pH, depth, and turbidity. In the streams, one troll reading is taken at each site. In the lake, multiple troll readings are taken from the surface to the bottom of the lake. Measurements are gathered at two foot depth increments.