UMass Mill River Monitoring Facility - Overview

This facility is owned and operated by the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. It's mission is three fold: (1) to assist businesses in developing new water quality monitoring devices, (2) to provide a platform for 3rd party evaluation of innovative water quality monitoring technologies, (3) to study impacts of weather (e.g., precipitation, seasonal cycles and climate change) on water quality in the Mill River.

Key Instruments

Perhaps the most unique feature of this facility is the extensive set of monitoring systems that are focused on natural aquatic organic matter. In addition to a continuous dissoved organic carbon (DOC) analyzer and a UV254 monitor, we have multi-spectral analyzers, an oxidant demand analyzer and a prototype THM Precursor analyzer. Grab samples are being collected for off-line laboratory analysis in support of these on-line devices. In addition, we have some more common on-line water quality analyzers for parameters such as pH, turbidity, particle counts, Nitrate and Phosphate.

For more on the continuous on-line instrumentation:

Below is a summary of the key instruments and their analysis time & frequency:
Type Manufacturer & Model time/analysis #/day
DOC Sievers M5310 2 min 715
UV absorbance RealTech UV254 8 sec  
Multi-spectral RealTech (196/scan) 5 min 270
THM Precursor AMS THM-100-FP 3.5 hr 6
COD Mantech PeCOD at-line 5 min 60
N & P MicroLab Nutrient Monitor  


Off-line Testing and Instrumentation:

  • Fluorescence EEMs: Horiba Aqualog
  • Disinfection Byproduct Precursor Analysis
  • Mass Spectrometry

Supporting Facilities:

Source Water:

Additional Background:

The Mill River Monitoring Facility is co-located with the EWRE water and wastewater pilot plant. The field station that includes these facilities was originally developed with the help of research funding from the Massachusetts Division of Water Pollution Control (MDWPC). These grants were key to the early growth and success of the UMass Environmental Engineering Program (later EWRE). They supported a substantial expansion of the Master's program thereby helping to meet the growing regional and national need for environmental engineers.




For more on EWRE Program history


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