Lake water to be studied

Lake in Columbia County’s Woodbridge community to be reviewed
Dr. Donna Wear, a professor of biology at Augusta State University, looks at a sample after showing The Chronicle some of the results of local water sampling Aug. 14 at ASU’s biology lab.

A study will be launched this week to help identify the source of elevated bacteria levels in a lake in Columbia County's Woodbridge community.

"We will finalize our sampling strategy and then begin work to try to determine the source of the contamination," said Augusta State University biology professor Donna Wear, whose students will evaluate the 33-acre lake and the streams that feed it.

The lake's elevated levels of fecal coliform bacteria came to light as part of a project last month by The Augusta Chronicle in which water samples from 50 locations were analyzed for a story on water quality and bacteriological monitoring.

The lake was built in 1973 and might be affected by any of several factors, said Joe Wheeler, the homeowners association's dam and lake vice president. The association enlisted Wear's help.

In addition to having a large population of geese, whose droppings can contribute to high bacterial levels, the lake is also fed by a creek that drains a segment of Evans that has subdivisions and older homes with septic tanks.

A Columbia County sewer line also runs beneath the lake, but county officials have ruled out any leaks.

Students will analyze water samples from several parts of the lake and could have some conclusions in a few weeks, Wear said.

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