Water Testing


FOLQ performs chemical water testing of Lake Quannapowitt, which it has done for more than twenty-five years in cooperation with students from Wakefield High School and volunteers from the community.

FOLQ works with various state and local government entities to analyze the Lake’s condition. At the state level, FOLQ continue its association with the Water Watch Partnership located at the University of Massachusetts (Amherst), which is responsible for coordinating volunteer monitoring programs for rivers and lakes statewide. The Partnership monitors FOLQ’s activities, provides advanced lab analysis, , and provides educational materials and instructional programs.

At the local level FOLQ works with Wakefield’s Department of Public Works in conjunction with the federally mandated storm water runoff program. Many storm drains empty directly into the Lake, carrying pollutants and nutrients from the surrounding watershed area. The long-term goal of the federal program is to reduce these unwanted materials from entering Wakefield’s rivers, lakes and wetland areas.

A continued goal for FOLQ is the completion of a database of all its testing results for the purpose of establishing a base line of information to guide future plans to improve the Lake’s condition.

Testing takes place 5 Saturdays a year, beginning in April and continuing through the warm months. The water is collected at the dock of the Quannapowitt Yacht Club and is taken back to Wakefield High School for testing for pH, alkalinity, dissolved oxygen, chlorophyll, phosphate, nitrate, chloride and dissolved solids. New junior and adult members are invited to volunteer any Saturday that testing is scheduled and will be provided the supplies and training needed in the collection and analysis of samples. Those interested in volunteering should contact FOLQ by emailing mail@folq.org.

Testing Results

Secchi disk mYacht Club Dock0.80.630.751.80.621.050.50.460.600.680.480.50No Sample0.53
pHYacht Club Dock6.576.666.186.837.977.47.116.937.736.73No Sample8.87.226.85
AlkalinityYacht Club Dock24.1523.13.928.7527.1510.23124.128.9530.5No Sample33.652533.6
Dissolved Oxygen mg/LYacht Club Dock8.69.6310.838. Sample7.68
Phosphate ug/LOutletND60503040501011001501586060705180
Phosphate ug/LBerm40120701851901303631200117200180No Sample80
Phosphate ug/LYacht Club DockND444660436070
Nitrate mg/LOutlet0.140.1ND0.12ND0.050.070.0300.04ND 0ND0.02
Nitrate mg/LBermNDND0.05NDNDND0.110.0200.08ND 0No Sample0
Nitrate mg/LYacht Club Dock0. ND
Chloride mg/LOutlet179172364176182136189190148188193191206208
Chloride mg/LBerm2102911772232812733012730204515191No Sample150
Chloride mg/LYacht Club Dock181179191187187197211
Chlorophyll a ug/LYacht Club Dock14272832827524625651970No Sample49
Dissolved Solids g/LYacht Club Dock-0.1-0.09-0.130.22-0.120.410.410.380.40.3670.1270.21No Sample0.247

Trophic State

Trophic Staten/a62.1364.2851.7838.8762.5363.9570.0469.9968.168.169.3673.74NA87.91
Trophic State Level Key
Oligotrophic (0 to 4)
An oligotrophic lake is a lake with low primary productivity, as a result of low nutrient content. These lakes have low algal production, and consequently, often have very clear waters, with high drinking-water quality. The bottom waters of such lakes typically have ample oxygen; thus, such lakes often support many fish species.
Mesotrophic (4 to 12)
Mesotrophic lakes are lakes with an intermediate level of productivity. These lakes are commonly clear water lakes and ponds with beds of submerged aquatic plants and medium levels of nutrients
Eutrophic (12 to 50)
A eutrophic body of water, commonly a lake or pond, has high biological productivity. Due to excessive nutrients, especially nitrogen and phosphorus, these water bodies are able to support an abundance of aquatic plants. Usually, the water body will be dominated either by aquatic plants or algae. When aquatic plants dominate, the water tends to be clear. When algae dominate, the water tends to be darker. The algae engage in photosynthesis which supplies oxygen to the fish and biota which inhabit these waters. Occasionally, an excessive algal bloom will occur and can ultimately result in fish death, due to respiration by algae and bottom-living bacteria. The process of eutrophication can occur naturally and by human impact on the environment.
Hypereutrophic (50 to 2000)
Hypereutrophic lakes are very nutrient-rich lakes characterized by frequent and severe nuisance algal blooms and low transparency. Hypereutrophic lakes have a visibility depth of less than 3 feet, they have greater than 40 micrograms/litre total chlorophyll and greater than 100 micrograms/litre phosphorus.