Directions to NRWA Water Testing Labs

Water samples are delivered to the Pepperell Wastewater Treatment Plant at 47 Nashua Road in Pepperell or the Devens Wastewater Treatment facility at 85 Walker Road in Ayer operated by SUEZ. Click on link to a Google map of general location. Details on where to deliver samples below:

Google map link to Devens facility

Google map link to Pepperell facility

Detailed Directions-Pepperell Waste Water Treatment Plant

  • In Pepperell, take Rt. 111 North/Hollis Street.
  • Turn at sign "Lomar Park".
  • Proceed into Lomar Park continuing as road bears left until you see the treatment plant entrance on your right at stop sign and chain link fence.
  • Take right at stop sign- go through chain link fence and up driveway to parking lot.
  • Lab is in building to your left as you enter the parking lot. Enter through door marked "Lab".


Detailed Directions SUEZ Wastewater Treatment Plant at Devens

  • From Walker Road turn onto dirt road at “National Wildlife Refuge” sign, #85 is on the mailbox. Ignore the sign that says “No Trespassing.”
  • Follow dirt road through open meadow area and into woods.
  • Follow road as it bears LEFT (through yellow gate) and you'll go straight up hill (on asphalt now) to the farthest brick building- around back to the door leading to the laboratory.

NRWA 2018 Water Monitoring Dates

Water Monitoring takes place on the 3rd Saturday of every month from April through October. Volunteers deliver samples to either the Devens or Pepperell wastewater treatment facilities between 8:00 and 9:30 a.m. for testing by NRWA staff and volunteers. For directions to the labs.

Monitors are advised to listen to weather forecasts and be aware of stream conditions during heavy precipitation. Localized flooding can occur suddenly and make monitoring unsafe. Never go near streams that are in flood, where conditions seem unsafe, or if you have any concerns. Safety is the first priority!

NRWA staff will also be tracking conditions. We will cancel monitoring if we learn that weather or streams conditions are unsafe in any part of the watershed. So monitoring might be canceled even if your stream looks safe. Be sure to check before heading out! If you have questions, please call Martha or Kath’s cell phones. Also, remember to check your email late Friday afternoon before a monitoring day if you are questioning the weather or conditions. Depending on forecasts, we may not send email notification of a cancellation until mid-day on Friday. When in doubt, don’t go out!


April 21
May 19
June 16
July 21
August 18
September 15
October 20


NRWA volunteer monitors a loosestrife plot

Managing Invasive Purple Loosestrife

Purple loosestrife is an invasive plant that infests and threatens to destroy native ecosystems in our local wetlands. Loosestrife crowds out native vegetation, interferes with the natural food chain, and speeds up the progression of wetland conversion to field, ending wetland’s function as an area of water filtration and absorption during times of high precipitation. Researchers studied a select species of beetles from Europe to demonstrate their effectiveness as biocontrol agents, a natural enemy to loosestrife. In the early 1990’s, the United States began to successfully use these beetles (Galerucella sp.) to control purple loosestrife infestations.

Invasive purple loosestrifeSince 2008, NRWA has been working on a pilot bio-control project to manage loosestrife in our watershed wetlands. Galerucella beetles, which feed almost exclusively on loosestrife, were raised and released at 12 initial sites. NRWA and our trained volunteers have been monitoring the sites twice a year to evaluate the success of the beetles in controlling or reducing the loosestrife infestations. In many plots, the cover of loosestrife has been diminished. Monitoring has also shown that the beetles successfully winter over and migrate beyond the original release sites to other loosestrife infestations. The 12 initial beetle release sites are located in Ashburnham, Ayer, Groton, Leominster, Lunenburg and Pepperell. The first three years of this project were funded by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Through grants from the Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts and the Groton Garden Club, in the summer of 2011, NRWA and volunteers scouted several new sites for possible releases of beetles in the spring of 2012. NRWA has identified purple loosestrife infestation sites in Clinton, Groton, Harvard, Pepperell, and Shirley; and, following presentations by NRWA about the project, Conservation Commissions in those communities have given permission for beetle releases at the identified sites.

The NRWA is looking for volunteers to help with our loosestrife control project. Tasks include potting loosestrife plants to use in rearing beetles (May), “beetle farming”, helping with beetle releases, monitoring release sites and tracking monitoring report data (June through September). To volunteer, or for more information on the purple loosestrife project, please contact Kathryn Nelson, NRWA Water Monitoring Coordinator, at (978) 448-0299, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..