Eric Reutebuch said the AWW has data on file for Logan Martin water quality for each month since 1993 and commended LMLPA volunteers for having “a premier water monitoring program.”
The LMLPA has 35 members who are certified water monitors, 29 of whom actively collect water chemistry data for monthly reports. Reutebuch called them the first defense in keeping water standards at acceptable levels on the lake.
It was a group volunteer that shared data with the city of Pell City last year that resulted in closing the swimming area at Lakeside Park as a precautionary measure. Water testing after a heavy rain revealed E. Coli levels were about 20 times the level considered safe for swimmers.
The data demonstrated the need for action regarding water quality at the park. City officials got help from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in removing 140 Canada geese from the park, and also the destruction of a beaver dam. Stagnant water from the dam and droppings from the geese could both have contributed to the potential health hazard at the park. Testing this year showed the water to be at acceptable levels, and the swimming area remained open through the entire season.
Water monitors measure a number of factors in the lake, including pH, temperature, alkalinity, hardness, dissolved oxygen, turbidity and clarity. Monthly monitoring data establish a reliable baseline that helps determine when and where changes are taking place. As in the Lakeside Park situation, that information is vital to recognizing when changes in water quality occur, and help bring about action toward remedies in a timely manner.
LMLPA volunteers are also involved in other projects. Each spring they organize a lake cleanup weekend, and they’re partnering with Pell City on a boardwalk project over a wetland area at Lakeside Park.
Alabama Water Watch is itself a non-profit, volunteer-based organization devoted to training and supplying volunteers around the state to generate data, and to making that data available to the public. The goal is to have volunteers monitoring every body of water in the state.
Having independently collected data available is vitally important in the effort to keep state waterways at acceptable levels. The consistent use of EPA-approved materials and techniques for measuring water quality provide reliable data for comparison.
Volunteers with both groups are making valuable contributions in those efforts.