Measurement of the rate and direction of ground water flow beneath Wollaston Beach, Quincy, Massachusetts by use of a heat-pulsing flowmeter shows a mean velocity in the bulk sediment of 40 cm d-1. The estimated total discharge of ground water into Quincy Bay during October 1990 was 1324-2177 m3 d-1, a relatively low ground Water discharge rate. The tides have only a moderate effect on the rate and direction of this flow. Other important controls on the rate and volume of ground water flow are the limited thickness, geographic extent, and permeability of the aquifer. Comparisons of published streamflow data and estimates of ground water discharge indicate that ground water makes up between 7.4-12.1% of the gaged freshwater input into Quincy Bay. The data from this study suggest the ground water discharge is a less important recharge component to Quincy Bay than predicted by National Urban Runoff Program (NURP) models. The high nitrate and low nitrite and ammonia concentrations in the ground water at the backshore we]l sites and low nitrate and high nitrite and ammonia concentrations in the water flowing from the foreshore suggests that denitrification is active in the sediments. The low ground water flow rates and low nitrate concentrations in the foreshore samples suggest that little or no nitrate is surviving the denitrification process to affect the planktonic community. Similarly, oxidizing conditions in the aquifer and low trace metal concentrations in the ground water samples suggest that the metals may be precipitating and binding to sedimentary phases before impacting the bay.
Additional publication details
Ground water discharge and the related nutrient and trace metal fluxes into Quincy Bay, Massachusetts