Water Composition and Water Quality of Sylvan Lake


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This slideshow presents three decades of water quality history in pictures. It shows the concentrations of the dissolved and suspended inorganic ions and some organics that are sampled and analyzed in laboratories using standard protocols.

Concentrations range over six orders of magnitude, from the key nutrients nitrogen and phosphorus that are measured and reported as Total Nitrogen and Total Phosphorus at about 1 part per million (ppm) and less, up to the hard water indicators of carbonate, bicarbonate, calcium and magnesium at concentrations in the 10 to 100 ppm range.

Also included are the Secchi disk data that provide a record of lake water clarity, and the concentration of the important catalyst Chlorophyll-a in green plants that converts carbon dioxide to oxygen. Both sets of data help to classify and confirm the low mesotrophic state of Sylvan Lake. Increasing water conductivity and rising chloride ion concentrations show that the lake is becoming more concentrated and runoff is adding contaminants.

For a downloadable binder of these water quality graphics, Click Here.

Thanks to the Alberta Lake Management Society and Alberta Environment for their expert sampling and analysis of Sylvan Lake over more than three decades.