One of the missions of the Lake Matinenda Cottage Association, by charter, is to preserve the natural beauty and the environment of Lake Matinenda. To that end the Association participates annually in Ontario’s “Lake Partners” water quality monitoring program (water clarity and phosphates analysis), and from time to time conducts sampling and analysis of lake water for Coliform bacteria.
This report is also available in PDF form: 2008 Water Quality Report.
LAKE MATINENDA WATER QUALITY SURVEY 2008
One of the missions of the Lake Matinenda Cottage Association, by charter, is to preserve the natural beauty and the environment of Lake Matinenda. To that end the Association participates annually in Ontario’s “Lake Partners” water quality monitoring program (water clarity and phosphates analysis), and from time to time conducts sampling and analysis of lake water for Coliform bacteria. This report describes the results of lake water sampling and coliform analysis conducted in September of 2008.
Coliform bacteria are organisms that are present in the environment and in the feces of all warm-blooded animals including humans. Coliform bacteria will not likely cause illness. However, their presence in the water indicates that disease-causing organisms (pathogens) could also be in the water. Most pathogens that can contaminate water sources come from the feces of humans or animals. Testing water samples for all possible pathogens would be complex, time-consuming, and very expensive. It is relatively easy and inexpensive to test for coliform bacteria, and so it is this test data that is used to survey water quality for both drinking water and recreational water samples. There are three different groups of coliform bacteria; each has a different level of risk.
Total coliform, fecal coliform, and E. coli are all indicators of water quality. The total coliform group is a large collection of different kinds of bacteria. Fecal coliforms are types of total coliform that mostly exist in feces. E. coli is a sub-group of fecal coliform. (A note about E. coli: E. coli outbreaks receive much media coverage. Most outbreaks have been caused by a specific strain of E. coli bacteria known as E. coliO157:H7. When a water sample is reported as “E. coli present” it does not mean that this dangerous strain is present and in fact, it is probably not present. However, it does indicate recent fecal contamination. Boiling or treating contaminated drinking water with a disinfectant destroys all forms of E. coli, including O157:H7)
Water samples sent to a lab for this study were tested for total coliform. If total coliform was present, the sample was also tested for E. coli.
Water samples were taken at five separate locations on Lake Matinenda on September 10, 2008 between 10:00 and 13:00 hours. Sampling locations were selected based on population density, and designated as McDonald’s Bay (east side), MacDonald’s Bay (west side), Lower Lake (south end, west shore), Sullivan’s Bay (mid-bay, east shore), Teacher’s Bay (mid-bay, east shore), and Baker’s Bay (mouth of Little Moon Creek). Sample volume was approximately 500ml and was obtained at a depth of one meter below the surface. Total water depth at the sampling point was recorded and is reported in Table 1. Samples were stored and shipped chilled and analyzed by TESTMARK Laboratories Ltd. within 48 hours of sampling using a Membrane Filtration technique and standardized testing protocol. Total coliform andE. coli are reported as bacteria count per 100 milliliters volume (CFU/100ml). Duplicate samples were run where required by protocol.
2008 LABORATORY TEST RESULTS Table 1:
|Sample #||Location||Water Depth (M)||Total Coliform||E. coli|
|BB-1||Bakers Bay (Little Moon Creek)||3.0||6||2|
|MB-1||lower lake (south end, west shore)||2.3||4||ND*|
|MB-2||MacDonald’s Bay (west arm, north shore)||2.0||25||5|
|MB-3||MacDonald’s Bay (east arm, north shore)||2.3||6||1|
|SB-1||Sullivan’s Bay (mid-bay, east shore)||2.0||4||ND*|
|TB-1||Teachers Bay (mid-bay, east shore)||2.3||3||ND*|
|ND* = below detection limit|
Sampling and analysis completed for this report is meant to provide a general sense of the health and quality of Lake Matinenda waters, particularly in the more developed sections of the lake.
The idea of sampling at an undeveloped location of the lake, and at the end of Baker’s Bay in particular was proposed at the 2007 Annual Meeting by Mr. Don Udell. The level of total coliform bacteria and E. coli found near the mouth of Little Moon Creek in Baker’s Bay was a bit surprising, and gives us a better appreciation of the impact that wildlife activity can have on all lake water samples.
Clearly the data from samples taken on the east arm of MacDonald’s Bay, along the west shore of the lower lake, in Sullivan’s Bay, and in Teachers Bay, all populated shoreline, are one indication of good stewardship of the water resource. Higher bacteria values obtained in the western arm of McDonalds may or may not be reason for concern.
Elevated total coliform counts (as well as E. coli) can be the result of either or both “nonpoint source” pollution (from polluted run off), or point source (pollution such as inadequate septic system) discharge. The Algoma Health Unit is responsible for identifying and remedying such pollution for the District including Lake Matinenda. AHU sampling protocol is typically more extensive, conducted closer to shore (< 1.0M), and is more targeted than the sampling protocol used in this study.
Feces of warm-blooded wildlife can produce measurable E. coli counts in water samples taken in remote areas with insignificant human activity.
Most of the samples taken near the developed shores of Lake Matinenda were lower in Coliform bacteria that the Bakers Bay sample. This is a very positive signal of proper management.
All samples contained measurable Coliform bacteria, and at some level fecal bacteria. Therefore treating drinking water (boiling, disinfecting, microfiltration, UV sterilization) is necessary if the water source for consumption is surface water.
November 7, 2008
Dick Brennan, Jerry Behnke