Limestone Treatment of Whetstone Brook, Massachusetts. I. Treatment Methodology and Water-Chemistry Changes during Treatment


  • Kenneth R. Simmons,

    1. Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, Field Headquarters, Westboro, Massachusetts 01581, U.S.A.
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  • Paul G. Cieslewicz

    1. Massachusetts Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Forestry and Wildlife Management, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003, U.S.A.
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    • 3

      Current address: Missouri Department of Conservation, 2302 County Park Drive, Cape Girardeau, MO 63701, U.S.A.


Whetstone Brook is a trout stream located in north-central Massachusetts that is degraded by acid precipitation. The stream was treated with 56 tonnes of powdered limestone by a prototype, water-powered doser as part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Acid Precipitation Mitigation Program. The goal of liming Whetstone Brook was to raise the pH to 6.5 and acid neutralizing capacity (ANC) to at least 50 μeq/1 in a 3.2-km reach. This goal was achieved despite the fact that during the 31 months of treatment stream flow was 37% higher than during the pretreatment period. During the treatment period, pH averaged 6.54 and ANC averaged 69.75. During the pretreatment period average pH was 5.97 and average ANC was 20.26. In the control section of Whetstone Brook, both pH and ANC were lower during the treatment period than during the pretreatment period. During treatment, monomeric aluminum, a form toxic to fish, declined in the treated section and increased in the control section. Total calcium, sediment calcium, and pore-water calcium increased in the treated section during treatment but declined in the control section. The other base anions and cations, nutrients, and physical parameters were not significantly affected by liming.