Miller Lake Community Group
Phosphate Levels - 2010

Thanks to Gerry Fisher and George Chester, we have some new data on water quality in Miller Lake.

FOCA offers a free lake-partnership program that determines phosphorous levels in water samples. Phosphates influence algae growth. Algal blooms can seriously harm a lake by depleting oxygen levels for fish and other inhabitants of that environment. In addition, algae will affect the aesthetics of the lake and/or cause taste and odour problems in the water.

The testing involves collecting several deep-water samples as well as a Secchi disk, which determines murkiness.

The 2009 results are posted on the FOCA web site:

Total Phosphorous - Mid Lake, deep spot 05-Jul-09: Sample 1: 8.3ug/L , Sample 2: 9.0ug/L
Clarity(Secchi depth): Mid Lake, deep spot : 2009 3.0 m.

As far as I can determine, "ug" is the equivalent of microgram - "mcg".

So, what do these results mean?

Lakes with less than 10.0 mcg/L phosphorous are considered unproductive lakes, i.e. algae will not flourish in this environment. Lakes with 10 - 20 mcg/L phosphorus are show a broad range of characteristics and can be clear and unproductive at the bottom end of the scale or susceptible to moderate algal blooms at concentrations near 20 µg/L.If your lake is over 30 mcg/L of phosphorous, you got serious trouble.

Miller Lake is doing well. According to George, phosphate levels in 2009 were slightly lower than previous results from 2002 - 2005.

Unfortunately, FOCA only tests phosphorous levels. Perhaps the association should consider some more thorough testing in future, checking for heavy metals, dioxins, agricultural chemicals, etc. Might be worth a discussion.

In the meantime, our thanks to George and Gerry for undertaking this task. The data is encouraging and we should all continue our efforts to keep phosphates out of our lake and our environment.