Conservation & Fisheries Department - Water Quality Monitoring
Water Quality Monitoring PDF Print E-mail

 Water quality in its more classical and legal sense, is the term associated with the beneficial uses of water by the public. For example, one goal of the public may be to have waters suitable for fishing or bathing or swimming and so forth. This, then, would be a reference to the quality or standard of water expected for these specific uses. The very widely used but incorrect designation of water quality is by chemical characteristics only. There is a relationship between chemical characteristics and the quality of water but the two are not necessarily synonymous. The chemical characteristics associated with the body of water only affect the quality of water when the concentrations become too high and for a sustained period which results in the pollution of that body of water and further, impairment of its beneficial uses.

How do we assess when concentrations have become too high?

Water SamplerWater quality guidelines are generally used as environmental markers. They are viewed as the safe levels of substances appropriate for a given water use, including drinking, recreation, agriculture etc. They are developed in order that water quality data can be properly evaluated and appropriate recommendations made.

 

Which of the established water quality guidelines does the Conservation and Fisheries Department use in its water quality assessment?

The Department follows the guidelines or standards established by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The following substances are generally assessed:

·Coliforms
·Dissolved Oxygen
·Nitrate
·Nitrite
·Nutrients (phosphorous) and algae
·Particulate matter (suspended solids and turbidity)
·pH
·Temperature

Water Quality SamplingThese are the quantifiable guidelines used by the technicians at the Department. However, often, in their efforts to assist the department to preserve and protect their water resource and its uses, the public uses the more general and common sense approach of water “clarity”. The general perception is that a body of water wherein clear visibility extends, for example, only to 1m is considered more polluted than one of the same depth but the visibility extends to 8m. Highly coloured waters and those containing large concentrations of algal growth are considered as having decreased water quality. Their beneficial uses may then be impaired as a result and this could lead to reduced economic viability of those waters.

How can we best preserve and protect our water resource to retain its quality for its various uses?

Here are some general practices that governments and people alike should follow to preserve and protect water quality.

· Avoid construction of moorings in channels where there is not a significant current or natural flow to ensure adequate and regular flushing.

· Design marinas to retain as much existing natural aquatic and marginal vegetation as possible.

· Provide sewage pump-out stations and treatment facility, or another approved disposal facility.

· Discharge sanitary wastes, black water and gray-water, to the municipal sewer, having it trucked out or pumped to a septic system.

· Avoid installation of septic systems in areas where the soil conditions are not suitable for such an extended operation.

· Avoid pouring harsh and very strong cleaners down the drain where they will interfere with the actions of the bacteria in the septic tank.

· Legislate regular septic system inspection.

· Construct docks so as to maintain a free flow of water currents beneath them to prevent erosion and sedimentation along the shore.

· Position marina floats with currents or prevailing winds to prevent trapping surface debris and oily residue.

 


 

 
 

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