Lake water to be studied

Lake in Columbia County’s Woodbridge community to be reviewed

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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.

Corey Perrine/Staff
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.

"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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johnston.cliff 09/08/10 - 06:15 am
Wow! A lake previously

Wow! A lake previously thought to be safe is found to be a poop pit? I wonder if kids have been swimming there? Gross.

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 09/08/10 - 08:08 am
You have made an assertion

You have made an assertion without any corroboration. Of course you were helped by some unfortunate terminology in the article. Nowhere do you find any claim that the lake was "previously thought to be safe." Nowhere do you find any claim that the lake is unsafe. Rob should not have used the term "elevated" when talking about fecal coliform bacteria. Sure, the EPA has chosen an arbitrary number, 200 per 100 ml, for general purposes. But that's a number to be applied to averages over the entire year. It is expected and perfectly natural for bacteria counts to be higher in the summer than they are in the winter. This story is much ado about nothing.

Riverman1 09/08/10 - 08:41 am
I suspect it's from the Merle

I suspect it's from the Merle Norman Cosmetics Studio nearby where they scrape off the stuff.

ReleehwEoj 09/09/10 - 09:01 am
Woodbridge lake has never

Woodbridge lake has never been considered safe for swimming nor is it considered a "poop pit". Rob's samples were a single event during hot weather. Dr. Wear (and her students) are trying to determine if that sample is consistent with a pattern of high levels or just an isolated incident. The goal is to assess the water quality of the lake and if real problems do exist, determine their source and find a solution.

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