Surface Water Quality Monitoring in Rhode Island

Science Center Objects

Since 1979, the USGS has monitored water quality in the major river basins of Rhode Island contributing to Narragansett Bay.

Presently, the USGS collects monthly samples at the following Rhode Island sites: Blackstone River at Pawtucket, Branch River at Forestdale, Blackstone River at Manville, Pawtuxet River at Pawtuxet, and the Pawcatuck River at Westerly.  Monthly samples are collected at these sites for nutrients, major ions, suspended sediment concentration, and field parameters. Every third month (that is, quarterly) samples are also collected for dissolved trace metals at the same sites.    

The following analytes are sampled, analyzed, and reported:

  • Field parameters (water temperature, specific conductance, dissolved oxygen, pH, and turbidity)
  • Total and dissolved nutrients (8 analytes)
  • Major ions  (4 analytes)
  • Suspended sediment concentration
  • Dissolved trace metals (6 analytes)