While the words “Water Clarity Testing” describes exactly what the testing does,there is actually a lot of science behind the words. The visual “clarity” of a lakehas a lot to do with indicating the overall health of a lake. And overall healthmeans the ability of a lake to sustain microorganism growth which in turnsupports complex food chains in a lake. It also means a lot more. For humans,the cloudiness of the water; the taste of the water; the smell of the water; thefeel of the bottom of the lake on the feet; the number of weeds in the lake; andthe presence of any slime or algae blooms are all very important factors thataffect not only the enjoyment of the lake but the real estate values of cottagesand homes on the lake.Loon Lake is very lucky to have had a series of stewards who have monitored thelake over the years. And we are very lucky to have the resources of the OntarioMinistry of the Environment [OMOE], with it's “Lake Partner Program” to help us.There is a wealth of information kept about the lake water conditions over theyears. And this data is periodically inspected to watch for trend changes. TheOntario Ministry of Natural Resources [OMNR] also has records about Loon Lakefrom which we have periodically referenced data. If changes are detected, anyone of the OMOE, the OMNR, or in fact the federal Department of Fisheries andOceans [DFO] can quickly be contacted for assistance or advice.The “Water Quality Testing” project consists of two activities.
The first “Water Quality Testing” activity is the gathering of water samples.
In the fall of each year, the OMOE sends out a kit that contains a collection bottle,a funnel with a microorganism filter, a pouring beaker, and test tubes. Thisequipment is used to collect samples of lake water. Early in the following spring, just after “ice-out” and certainly well before the Victoria Day weekend, twosamples of water are collected from the deepest part of Loon Lake that is mostremote from any streams that flow into the lake.The samples of water are used to test for phosphate levels in the lake.Phosphates are very important for they are nutrients that can cause rapid anddense growth of algae and weeds. Many Southern Ontario lakes and rivers havesuffered from nutrient overdosing from fertilizers used in farming activities.Phosphate can occur in a lake from either natural sources or from humanactivities. From a natural perspective, heavy consistent periods of rain can causean increase in groundwater flow that it turn will introduce excess phosphates intoa lake. From a human perspective, use of lawn fertilizers, non friendly soaps anddetergents, or septic system problems can increase phosphate concentrations in alake.