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Water Quality Testing

Testing of the lake water for bacteria is done on a weekly basis during the summer. This is to ensure that the lake meets State requirements for bacteriologically safe recreational water.

At least once a year, the lake is tested for phosphates and nitrates.

In 1995 a Water Quality Committee, composed of Taunton Lake residents, was formed to help inform and educate residents of Taunton Lake and surrounding communities about water quality issues affecting our lakes. In 1997, the committee began a program of periodically testing the lake water for pH (acidity/alkalinity), and harmful phosphates and nitrates. This testing continued through 2001, except for 1998.

While the overall quality of our lake water is good, there has been a disturbing trend of rising pH levels over the past several years. This is gradually altering the natural characteristics of our lake.

Below are data and charts from the testing, which will help us monitor the quality of our lake water.

Raw Data 2002 2003 2004

Raw Data Charts
2001 pH Phosphates Nitrates
2000 pH Phosphates Nitrates
1999 pH Phosphates Nitrates
1997 pH Phosphates Nitrates
. Chart showing pH trend 1989-95 (from professional test reports)

What the tests are about

pH: The measure of acidity/alkalinity of water. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14. A reading of 7 is neutral (pure water has a pH of 7). Lower numbers are more acid, higher numbers are more alkaline. For a Pinelands lake, the desirable level is 5.5 (slightly acid).

Phosphates: Maximum desirable level is 0.1. Phosphates (compounds containing phosphorus) act as a plant nutrient (fertilizer), promoting growth of unwanted aquatic weeds and algae. The weeds and algae rob the water of oxygen, suffocating fish and other aquatic life. Phosphates enter the water in runoff from fertilized lawns and fields, paved areas, and seepage from septic tanks. Phosphates are the key nutrient causing 90% of the overabundance of weeds and algae in waters around the world. One pound of phosphorus can result in over 10,000 pounds of wet weeds and algae.

Nitrates: Like phosphates, nitrates (compounds containing nitrogen) are also a source of nutrients for unwanted aquatic weeds and algae, and enter the water in runoff from fertilized lawns and fields, paved areas, and seepage from septic tanks.