Testing Water Quality
This month Erica and I (owners of Sgt Poopers) joined up with Gary Spence and Tom Heath of For the Love of the Lake in the name of water quality management. For the Love of the Lake is a volunteer organization dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of White Rock Lake Park as an urban oasis.
Managing water quality is an important aspect of their mission so key members learned how to conduct water tests in 2005. Every month, volunteers test at seven locations upstream and downstream from White Rock. Reports are sent to the City of Dallas and onward to the Texas Stream Team.
As a leading cause of water pollution, dog waste is a major threat to water quality. Dog waste contains nothing beneficial to plants or the environment – it is sheer biohazard, i.e., billions of bacteria, germs, pathogens, viruses and parasites. Rain and sprinkler systems wash dog waste from yards into storm drains that empty directly into our creeks, rivers and lakes.
In our area of Texas, some 1.2 million dogs deposit 900,000 pounds of waste daily in on the land. Only a fraction is actually picked up and disposed of properly. The vast majority winds up in the creeks, lakes polluting the very source of drinking water.
Testing water quality is a complex procedure involving some seven separate tests, including water turbidity, acidity, conductivity, oxygen content, temperature and more. Each test is performed twice to ensure precise results.
We tested just north of the intersection of Skillman and Abrams where White Rock Creek is joined by Village Creek – two of nine tributaries that feed the lake. White Rock Creek stretches some 30 miles through North Dallas, Richardson, Plano and into Frisco. Water flowing over White Rock’s spillway travels another eight miles south before it joins the Elm Fork of the Trinity River.
On the day we tested, it was just beginning to rain. We had to work quickly before the rain altered our test results. Testing water quality is where the consequences of environmental impropriety really become real. “The” water becomes “our” water.
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