Saturday, January 24, 2009

2008 OWLA water testing results from Dick Coalson

Each summer for over 15 years,, OWLA has been conducting water sampling around the Owasco Watershed. The data is used by various agencies to monitor overall water quality in Owasco Lake, as well as to spot possible issues in our watershed.

This program would not be possible without our volunteers and the support of the City of Auburn to test the samples each week. I want to personally Thank Dick Coalson for providing his time and leadership to keep this program active in recent years. Dick has provided this summary and we hope to post the actual data to the OWLA web site in the near future. If you would like further information on this years data or the program contact us at

Stay warm! (Spring is just around the corner................)
- Lakeman



During 2008 water samples were collected from 28 sites by 20 volunteers around the lake from June 18th through August 27th. The sampling volunteers were assisted by James Soucy, an AmeriCorps volunteer, who picked up the samples around the lake each week as well as took the samples for the four City of Auburn sites. James transported the samples to the laboratory at the Auburn Sewage Treatment Plant and also did the actual testing of the samples for coliform and turbidity under Andy Roche’s supervision. The sampling volunteers also measured air and water temperatures and noted wind direction and relative strength. They recorded the sky condition, algae citings, and also reported any unusual observations during the week. All of the information was entered in a computer spreadsheet for later analysis. Rainfall data was provided by Anthony DeCaro from the Auburn Weather Monitoring Station at the Water Filter Plant on Swift Street. The daily data was converted into weekly totals and entered into the database after the sampling season was done.


The overall conclusion reached from an analysis of the data is that the bacterial water quality of Owasco Lake remains good. The summer of 2008 was another wet year which may be the reason that the fecal Coliform numbers are lower generally than previous years. The weed growth also was not as vigorous this year with the exception of the curly-leafed pond weed that peaked in the late spring displaying areas near the shore that looked brown in color. The Eurasian milfoil was not as prevalent this year as in past years. Algae were noted in a number of areas this year with the blue-green and brown predominating. Generally, if algae were seen at a particular site in June, they were present for the rest of the samplings. Water temperatures seemed to track the rainfall data with a 1 week shift frequently displayed. Even with all the rain recorded this year, the water temperature reached 28 degrees Centigrade on July 16th. Three sites reported that temperature on July 16th. The high temperatures seem to be at odds with the amount of rainfall but it was suggested that the rains came in short, heavy bursts
generally followed by clear, sunny periods.

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