Is there water testing on Lake Matinenda?

Is There Water Testing on Lake Matinenda?
by Robin Z. Schellekens

Following the Annual General Meeting on July 28, 2012, both Tom Scott and I went to the Algoma Public Health Department (APH) website to see if any water testing results were available for Lake Matinenda. As neither Tom nor I were successful, I followed up with a call to the Blind River Office.

Their spokesman shared the stated:

  • Lake Matinenda is not tested as it does not qualify as a “public beach”.
  • There are ten designated public beaches that are tested in this area.
  • There is not enough man power to test every lake, thus unless there is a reported problem at a specific location, or the municipality hires the department to do a whole lake test, Matinenda will not be tested.
  • Resources, recommendations, requirements (including formulas for determining sizes and so forth for Gray Water disposal and even Out houses) as well as applications for the creation, improvement or replacement of septic or gray water systems are also available on their website.

I also spoke with a Environmental Officer at the Ministry of Environment (MOE). He stated:

  • The MOE does not test surface
    water and only initiates water testing if a credible complaint is filed.
  • If you believe there is a problem such as elevated algae growth or new species of plants or fish on the lake, you should make a report to MOE.
  • If you believe there may be a
    problem with run off from a specific property or company on any body of water, you may make an anonymous report to the MOE through the 24 Hour Spill Action Line (1.800.268-6060) which addresses any type of possible water pollution concerns in addition to actual chemical spills. You may also write to the Ministry through the “Contact Us” section of their website.

All of this would seem to suggest, that at the least, the Association MUST continue to participation in the Ministry of Environment’s Lake Partner Program, as it is the only on-going longitudinal water analysis available to us.

Briefly, the Lake Partner Program is “a province wide, volunteer-based, water quality monitoring program. Volunteers collect total phosphorus samples and make monthly water clarity observations on their lakes. This information will allow the early detection of changes in the nutrient status and/or the water
clarity of the lake due to the impacts of shoreline development, climate change and other stresses.” An in depth description the program and procedures is available and the data specific to Lake Matinenda appears on page 138 of the

There are also additional resources to help you understand both the data and additional issues.

Thanks to the intense dedication of Dick Brennan, there is available data on-line for Lake Matinenda going all the way back to 2003. However, after more than a decade of volunteer efforts, Dick has notified the Board that he intends to give up this role.

Although this kind of testing produces very limited results, it is currently all we have, so I would strongly urge that we find someone to take on this role for the future. We will need one or more volunteers, preferably with some science experience, to take over this role. The Association has traditionally cover the cost of the fuel and postage needed in gathering samples.