Early 4th of July Water Test is very good!

20 June 2018

Cris Henage and I collected our mid-summer water samples Monday June 18, 2018 between 8:50 and 9:20 am.  The results have returned to a very low level in what has been our normal range for the past several years:

#1                        Dock                        5  cfu
#2                        Cedar Fork Creek    6  cfu
#3                        Booker Creek          10 cfu

Caution level is individual reading above 400 cfu, or per-site average above 200 cfu. CFU  = colony forming units per 100ml.

Lake water temperature was 89F/31.5C, at all sites.  The lake water level was up slightly, at the next to the highest step at the spillway.  I had no rain in my rain gauge for 5-6 days preceding this test, the Eastwood Lake weather station reported 0.52 inches for the week ending June 16, 2018

This is our “Independence Day” water sample.  We took it a few days early for the reasons described in the posting with the previous results.  Since there were two of us, we were able to take some additional tests. I try to do this at least once each year.

Our sample sites are somewhat variable, except for the “dock” site which is beyond the swimming beach area.  Two years ago, the docks themselves moved about 15-20 yds. southwest (left) as you face them from the beach.  The “dock” sample site was between the two original dock locations.  For consistency, I have tried to keep that sample site close to the original location.  The old near dock location was close to deepest point in the lake, about 14’ to 14’6” when the lake is at its present full level.  The Cedar Fork Creek site is in the in-lake forebay where Cedar Fork Creek enters the lake, and the Booker Creek site is in the long arm of the lake, about halfway from the beach to the wooded shallows between the lake and the Booker Creek forebay, about even with a flagpole on the shore, 2/3 of the distance from the north shore to the south shore.  This aligns  with the original course of Booker Creek before there was a dam or lake.  There are several springs in the bottom of the lake at the west (left) side of the main bay. These springs contribute cool water that helps maintain the thermocline (layer of cool water) that is noticeable beginning 2-3 feet below the surface.

SECCI clarity readings have improved significantly since the last water sampling.  For the current test, SECCI readings  were

42” at the #1 DOCK site (total depth 10’6”)

36” at the #2 CEDAR FORK CREEK site (total depth 7’5”)

32” at the #3 BOOKER CREEK site (total depth not measured)

The routine SECCI report is taken from the dam, with results that track the #1 DOCK site.

The lake water is very warm.  It is important to remember to shower after swimming or wading because pores tend to be more open when the water is warm, and anything  on the surface (suntan oil, grass clippings, down) can become more of an irritant if it is not rinsed off.

While  we were sampling the lake water, OWASA was at the park, conducting “smoke tests” on the sanitary sewers.  This test is used to determine if stormwater can get into the sanitary sewer. If that happens, there is a chance of sewer overflows.  The storm drain system is supposed to be completely separate from the wastewater (sanitary sewer).  In this case, we are at no particular risk, because everything on the south side of the lake, beyond the first ridge, drains away from the lake, in the direction of EastGate shopping center.

Before about 2004, we had regular problems with the drainage upstream of the lake, but most of that was corrected by the time the Countryside “lift station” on Kenmore Road went on-line to pump wastewater from the northern part of our watershed over the ridge. We have had very infrequent sewage spills in our watershed.  We were notified promptly whenever that happened.. This has not occurred near enough to our watershed to have caused measurable contamination (other than one gasoline spill) in over a decade.  When it did, it cleared quickly, in 1-3 days, mostly outside of the swimming season.  There are two wastewater mains that go under the lake that serve a very localized area near the lake.  They were “sleeved” (lined) as a permanent fix in the 1980s.

Hurricane Fran produced a tremendous amount of rainfall in September 1996, making the lake look like a whitewater rapids.  This was well before any of our modern improvements.  At that time we were concerned about the safety of the water, and had no access to our water test facility (then in Burlington).  OWASA made their lab available to us for the duration of that event.  Our water quality remained consistently safe (bacteriologically),  even when there was no power and most roads were impassable.

Chuck Henage


06.20.18 by Chuck Henage @ 12:23 pm
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