Massachusetts Water Resources Research Center at UMass Amherst

Information for Volunteers

Project Title: 
Acid Rain Monitoring Project

ARM Project Home | Info for Volunteers | Results

SAVE THAT DATE!  The next ARM sampling event is Sunday, April 12, 2015

Site Directions

Stream Lists, with site location directions are available in pdf map files below:

Sampling Directions

  • If sampling by a bridge, try to collect sample upstream of the bridge.
  • If you can do so safely, wade into stream, walking upstream. Take sample upstream of your body. For lakes, sample at dam or shore.
  • Uncap bottle, fill it partly, cover with cap, shake to rinse inside bottle and cap, and empty behind you.
  • Repeat twice (rinse 3 times)
  • Then completely immerse bottle in water, let it fill completely, and cap under water.
  • Put in cooler with ice or frozen ice pack.
  • Fill out field data sheet with your name, date and time of sampling, and samples taken.
  • Deliver to lab and sign bottom of field data sheet at that time.

Downloadable Forms and Letters

Collector Data Sheet/Chain of Custody Sheet

2015 Volunteer Letter for Landowners


Analysis Method for pH and alkalinity - Care and maintenance of electrodes

Barnstable County

Contact: Alyssa Reischauer
Phone Number: (508) 487-3262
Cape Cod National Sea Shore
99 Marconi Site Rd.
South Wellfleet, MA

Bristol County

Contact: Robert Caron
Phone Number: (508) 241-1576
1435 Main Road
Westport, MA 
Drop-off times: after 8AM Sunday April 12th. Call if other arrangements need to be made.

Essex County

Contact: Joseph Ciccotelli or Phil McCarthy
Phone Number: (978) 356-6639
Ipswich Water Treatment Plant
274 High St
Ipswich, MA 01938
Drop-off times: after 7AM Monday April 13th, 2015

Franklin County

Contact:  Cathy Wilkins
Phone Number: (413) 337-5717

7 Underwood Hill Rd Heath.
Drop-off times: Sunday April 12, 2015. Cooler will be left on porch. Alternatively, samples may be left at Françoise’s house in Greenfield: 63 Washington St, Greenfield, MA
Drop-off times: Sunday April 12, 2015

Hampshire/Franklin Counties

Contact: Beckie Finn
Phone Number: (413) 545-5979
5 Goessman Hall
Amherst, MA 01003
Map of campus
Drop off Times: before 5pm Sunday April 12, 2015. There will be a cooler outside of the lab. 

Southern Hampshire and part of Worcester County

Contact: Sherrie Sunter
Phone Number: (413) 323-6921 ext. 406
MWRA Quabbin Lab
485 Ware Road
Belchertown, MA 01007
Route 9 to 485 Ware Road. Brick building. Go to front door. Lab is upstairs.
Drop off times: By 1pm Sunday April 12, 2015

Hampden/Berkshire Counties

Contact:  Sue Tower
Phone Number: (413) 310-3515
West Parish Filters
1515 Granville Road
Westfield, MA 01085

Directions: MA-10 S/US-202 S/Massachusetts Rte 10 S. Drive to Granville Rd. 
Drop off times: Springfield Water and Sewer Comission - By 3pm Sunday April 12, 2015

Middlesex County

Contact: Carmen DeFillippo
Phone Number: (978) 433-9859
47 Nashua Rd.
PO Box 319
Pepperell, MA
In Pepperell, follow Rte 111 North after split from Rte 122 for about 1 1/4 mile or less. Sign for WWTP on right. Follow road to end, cross at four way stop and enter driveway. Lab is in building straight ahead.
Drop off times: 7:30 - 10:30am Sunday, April 12, 2015

Norfolk County

Contact: Amelia Atwood, UMass Boston
Phone Number: (781)775-1827 
100 Morrissey Blvd
UMass Boston
Boston, MA 02125

Drop-off Address: 6 Granite Street, Norwood, MA
Directions: Call Amelia to coordinate drop-off time and place.

Plymouth County

Contact: Bob Bentley and Jim Hoberg
Phone Number: Bentley: (508) 946-2225 Hoberg: (508) 295-2550
Analytical Balance Lab
Plymouth, MA

Worcester North

Contact: David Bennett
Phone Number: (978) 827-7065 (978-827-7063 home)
Cushing Academy
Joseph R. Curry Academic Center
Ashburnham, MA 01430
Please deliver your samples to: Room 105, Joseph Curry Academic Center, which is the first building on the left on Academy Street.
Drop-off Times: 12-3pm (if earlier, there will be a tub outside the lab door) Sunday April 12, 2015

Worcester South

Contact: Jim Bonofiglio
Phone Number: (508) 799-1513
71 Stonehouse Hill Rd.
Holden, MA


Take MassPike West to exit 10 (Auburn). After the toll, stay in the left lane and take Rt. 290 East to exit 17 (Rt. 9). Turn left at end of ramp. This is Belmont St., which changes to Highland at the 2nd light. Go straight through 7 sets of lights, you will come to a rotary. Follow signs for the Worcester Airport (2nd right out of rotary, Pleasant St.) At 3rd set of lights turn right onto Mower St., go 0.2 miles and bear right at the fork onto Olean St. Travel 1.2 miles and plant entrance is on right. Take the FIRST left to the treatment plant.
Drop-off times: by 2pm Sunday April 12, 2015

Lake and Stream Sensitivity Explained

How aquatic environments respond to acid deposition depends on their sensitivity to acids and the quantity of acids received. Most environments are naturally buffered against acid input by neutralizing materials such as limestone. If sufficient buffering capacity exists in an environment, excessive acid input does not change the pH of the water, although it will progressively deplete its acid neutralizing capacity (ANC). The soils, bedrock, and vegetation of watersheds largely determine the capacity of aquatic resources to accommodate acid deposition, but other factors play an important role. Acid neutralizing capacity can have its full effect only when the incoming precipitation has sufficient contact time with the neutralizing material. Areas with steep slopes, shallow soils or frozen ground tend to minimize contact time, resulting in incomplete neutralization of water entering lakes and streams. Additional neutralization is provided by the biota. For example, algae generate buffering materials during photosynthesis, and microbes living in bottom sediments reduce sulfur compounds to inert forms.ANC and pH interact in an unusual way: as acid is added to a buffered system, pH changes little until the ANC approaches zero. Then, small additions of acid cause large changes in pH. Finally, pH drops precipitously and permanently to levels that few aquatic organisms can tolerate.

With lower pH, levels of toxic metals leached from the watershed increase, aquatic growth is reduced, and sensitive species ranging from fish to algae disappear. If this occurs in a drinking water supply, metals will dissolve from distribution pipes resulting in high levels of iron, copper, lead and other metals.

Sensitivity Categories
Category Acid Neutralizing Capacity (mg/l)
Acidified ≤0 and pH≤5.0
Critical 0 - 2 or <0 and pH≥5.0
Endangered 2 - 5
Highly Sensitive 5 - 10
Sensitive 10 - 20
Not Sensitive >20