Water Quality Monitoring

Seeking Volunteers For Monthly & Weekly Monitoring

This is your chance to make a real difference. Join our group of dedicated citizen scientists working to monitor and improve the water quality of our three rivers and their tributaries.

Volunteers are fully trained by OARS staff and all equipment is provided. Your health and safety are important to us. We will follow all distancing recommendations.

To volunteer, please email Ben before May 1.

Once a month, early on a Sunday morning, citizen scientists head out to sites along the Assabet, Sudbury, and Concord Rivers to collect water samples, measure pH, temperature and record river conditions. The data and analyses enable OARS, municipalities, environmental agencies, and others to improve management of our waterways. More information about our water quality monitoring program.

Additionally, every week on Monday mornings, we have a team that collects samples for monitoring the health of the rivers for recreational purposes. This is a new initiative which will allow us to provide better information to river users about the safety of recreational water contact.

The 2020 sampling season starts in May. We sample on Sunday and Monday mornings (dates below). Sunday sampling generally starts at 5:30 am and takes about three hours. Monday sampling starts at 6 am and takes 1 hour. It is not necessary to be able to make all of the sampling dates, Volunteers can take turns to accommodate individual schedules.

Training dates (same trainings are offered on 2 dates): Your safety and health are of concern to us. We will Have virtual training for experienced volunteers and distance respecting field training for new volunteers.

  • Virtual (via Zoom): May 4 (8:00-9:30AM) and May 6 (8:00-9:30AM)
  • Field Training: May 9 (8:00-9:30AM) in Acton and May 11 (6:30-8:03PM) in Wayland

Sunday Water Quality Sampling: Teams of 2-3 volunteers each sample one section of the rivers (4 - 6 sites):

  • Assabet River, Westborough to Marlborough
  • Assabet River, Berlin to Hudson
  • Assabet River, Acton to Concord
  • Sudbury River, Framingham to Concord
  • Concord River, Concord to Lowell
    Tentative sampling dates:
    May 17th, June 14th, July 12th, August 16th, September 13th, November 8th

Monday Bacteria Sampling: 1-2 volunteers sample one river (2 sites) weekly:

  • Assabet River (Hudson and Maynard)
  • Sudbury River (Ashland and Wayland
  • Concord River (Bedford and Lowell)
    June to September

Information for volunteers only.