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Water-Quality Data and Methods of Analysis for Samples Collected Near a Plume of Sewage-Contaminated Ground Water, Ashumet Valley, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, 1993-94

U.S. Geological Survey Water Resources Investigations Report 97-4269


Prepared in cooperation with the National Guard Bureau

This report is available as a pdf.


Water-quality data were collected and analyzed by the U.S. Geological Survey and ABB Environmental Services, Inc., in 1993-94 to characterize the nature and extent of a sewage-contaminated ground-water plume underlying the Ashumet Valley in northeastern Falmouth on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The source of the plume was the disposal of wastewater and chemicals at the Massachusetts Military Reservation's (MMR) sewage-treatment plant and former fire-training area. The plume of contaminated ground water extends more than 18,000 ft downgradient from the source area on the MMR toward coastal ponds and Vineyard Sound. Residents and Federal, State, and local officials are concerned about contamination of drinking water supplies by the plume and discharge of contaminated ground water to ecologically sensitive streams, ponds, and coastal environments.

Water samples were collected from 315 observation wells, 31 multilevel samplers, 14 screened-auger borings, and the sewage-treatment-plant effluent to describe the plume, provide information for use in developing remedial alternatives, and improve the understanding of the fate and transport of ground-water contaminants. A field test of the effects of pumping rate and filtration on the measured concentration of inorganic solutes and the development of new laboratory methods to analyze the ground-water samples also were part of this study. The chemical and microbiological data from the samples, along with the sampling procedures and methods of analysis, are presented in this report. The data include analyses of physical properties, major ions, nutrients, metals, dissolved gases, organic compounds, other sewage-plume constituents, such as methylene blue active substances and boron, and microbiological data, such as bacterial size and abundance.

Table of Contents



Collection of Water Samples

Water Quality Data

Methods of Analysis


References Cited

Tables (tables 6 through 18)

Tables (tables 19 through 34)

Suggested Citation:


Savoie, J.G., and LeBlanc, D.R., editors, 1998, Water-Quality Data and Methods of Analysis for Samples Collected Near a Plume of Sewage-Contaminated Ground Water, Ashumet Valley, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, 1993-94, WRIR 97-4269, 208 p.


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The on-line version of this report is presented in two parts:

Part A Cover page to page 113. (Report main body, and Tables 1 through 18) Size 5.4 MB

Part B Page 114 to 208. (Tables 19 through 34) Size 17.1 MB

For more information about USGS activities in Massachusetts, visit the USGS Massachusetts-Rhode Island Water Science Center home page (

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