Limiting Nutrients in Your Lake
Excessive amounts of nutrients, particularly phosphorus, are carried into a water body with runoff from fertilized lawns, golf courses, urban or agricultural areas and from poorly maintained septic systems. Water quality impacts associated with excessive nutrients in a lake include:
- Frequent blooms of undesirable algae* (potentially toxic, giving water poor taste and odour)
- Excessive growth of aquatic plants leading to a loss of open water
- Decrease in water clarity
- Lower levels of dissolved oxygen, which may lead to fish kills and affect fish diversity
- Increased levels of coliform and E. coli bacterial present
- Possible increase in the presence of carcinogens, such as chloroform, resulting from increased organic matter reacting with disinfectants such as chlorine
*Note that nutrients are only one of the variables that influence algal blooms. Blooms are also impacted by increased temperatures and water column stability.
The above information was contained in “A Shoreline Owner’s Guide to Healthy Waterfronts” produced by FOCA. For further information please contact FOCA at firstname.lastname@example.org or their website at www.foca.on.ca.
The Following are Ways in Which You Can Contribute to Keeping our Lake Healthy
- Maintain the natural shoreline – plant trees and native plants on your land to help filter out the phosphorus that’s going into the lake
- Redirect rainwater that comes off your buildings, try to filter it through gravel, gardens or grass
- Prevent erosion on the shore by building rock walls or planting trees
- Use phosphate free detergents and soaps
- Don’t bathe or wash hair in the lake
- Don’t fertilize grass or gardens
- Check your septic system. Make sure it is working properly. Signs that indicate it may need to be pumped are: slow draining toilets, showers and sinks. You may need work done on your septic system if you notice any of these things: it smells, there are wet areas around your bed, patches of grass on your leeching field. If you have a holding tank make sure to get it checked yearly and get it pumped regularly, check around the seals for leakage
- Operate your boat below 10 km/hr whenever you are within 30m of the shore, which is really important as heavy waves erode the shoreline and also churn up the water creating more oxygen for the plants to use, making them decay faster and so putting more phosphorus in the water
- Clean up after your animals
- Geese are one of the biggest polluters, so try to shoo them off your property. To deter geese that like the short grass, plant flowers close to shore and place furniture in front of the grass
Also see our Water Quality & Environment links page.