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Water Quality: Management, Sanitation and Investigation

Limnological Fundamentals


Eutrophication is a term used to describe the aging of a lake. This aging process results from the accumulation of nutrients, sediments, silt, and organic matter in the lake from the surrounding watershed.

Eutrophication can be accelerated when human activity occurs in the watershed. If proper controls are not in place, pollutants from agricultural, urban, and residential developments can easily be carried into lakes and their tributaries.

Symptoms of human-induced (or cultural) eutrophication are:

These conditions are usually considered symptomatic of cultural eutrophication.

Although related, each condition nevertheless has a unique set of parameters that characterize its attributes. It is important to remember that sampling for one condition will not necessarily yield information about another. If, for example, a lake has an aquatic plant problem, a monitoring program that focuses on algae will not provide the necessary answers to solve that problem.

The reader should be aware that there are several other lake conditions that could be a potential focus for a management, monotoring and restoration program. Four notable candidates are:

Each of these conditions has the potential to severely affect the water quality and recreational use of a lake or reservoir.