Thursday, 26 July 2012

Water Quality

We have just received the latest test results on the quality of the lake water for swimming.  In addition to testing the drinking water every two weeks (which we must do by law) we also test the lake water occasionally. (which we are not required to do) We use SGS Canada Inc., an independent laboratory, to do all our water testing.

Bacteria level is measured in colony-forming units (cfu) per 100 mL. The E.Coli limit at which a swimming ban/notice is posted varies by jurisdiction. In Ontario, it is 100 cfu.  In Alberta, B.C., & Quebec, it is 200 cfu.  In our latest test, the E.Coli in the lake at Bare Oaks was 005 which is clearly well below any limits. We also test for Coliform and that result was 018 which is also well below the limit. The samples were taken on July 23rd which is after more than a month of full-capacity weekends, a lack of rainfall, an unusually low water level, and a water temperature above average – all factors which should aggravate the bacteria levels.

While we test the lake water a few times per year, we don't usually report it because it has always been below the limits and, as you can see above, the explanation is quite technical.

We are reporting it this time because we received an anonymous communication a couple of weeks ago, from a concerned member, with a test result that showed E.Coli in the lake. The key is that the test was for drinking water. It didn't measure the level of bacteria. It simply indicated its existence. The presence of E.Coli in a natural pond or lake is perfectly normal and part of a natural ecosystem. Based on the limits set by the government, it is perfectly safe for swimming. But we certainly advise against drinking it!

If anyone wants to see the original laboratory test result, please contact the office and we'll be happy to email you a copy.