Join the Lake Partner Program
You can join the Ontario Lake Partner Program by telephone, e-mail or visiting the websites provided below. Consider getting in touch with your Cottage Association to determine if they are already participating in the LPP.
Dorset Environmental Science Centre’s website:
Upon registering, they will mail you a kit that contains the materials necessary to conduct water clarity measurements and take water samples. The Lake Partner kit includes materials and instructions to assemble a Secchi disk. Volunteers need to supply a rope and something to serve as a weight. The kit also contains a sampling bottle, a filter, and phosphorus sample tubes. The tubes are filled according to the instructions provided and returned, postage paid, to Dorset, Ontario for analysis (conducted free of charge).
If you become a Lake Partner volunteer the number of phosphorus samples that you take each year will depend on whether your lake is on the Canadian Shield. Volunteers located on the Canadian Shield take one water sample in the spring and Secchi disc water clarity measurements at least once every two weeks throughout the summer.
Blue Green Algae
What can you do to prevent these blooms from affecting your water-body? Primarily, we need to reduce the amount of phosphorus entering our embayments, lakes, and rivers by:
- Restoring shoreline vegetation (see picture below).
- Limiting the use of chemical fertilizers, compost and manure on lawns.
- Using phosphate-free soaps and cleaning products.
- Complete self-evaluations of your property and lifestyle practices to identify ways to improve your local water quality:
- Ensuring your septic system functions properly (see below).
Wastewater and Septic System
Overtaxing a septic system can not only reduce its lifespan, but also contribute to the nutrient enrichment of groundwater and the lake (nutrients feed plants like algae). For a fully operating septic system, it is important to minimize water use in order to keep solid sludge settled on the bottom of the tank. Excessive water flowing into the septic tank, from overuse of toilets, laundry, dishwasher, showers, baths, and lawn watering can cause the sludge to be disturbed and allow the solids to pass out of the tank and into your distribution box. These solids can clog your distribution box, your drain-field pipes and even your drain-field. Avoid excess water use; using too much water is the single biggest reason for system malfunction.
Chapter 5 of GBBR’s Life on the Bay guide has further tips on how to maintain your septic and wastewater systems in good condition. For example, information on setback distances (shoreline and well) and septic pump-out frequency can be found in this document. It also contains a self-assessment checklist to determine current conditions and practices, which identify potential areas for improvement. It is available online here: