Water Testing

French River Stewardship Council Sampling

The FRSC has tested phosporous loading and water clarity (Secchi disc) in locations from Lake Nipissing to Georgian Bay.

See http://www.frenchriverstewardship.ca/projects/water-quality-projects/water-sampling/ 

How To Test Tap Water

Testing your cottage tap water is very easy. It is recommended that you do it in the spring and throughout the summer.The North Bay Parry Sound Health Unit will test your tap water for free.
Pick up Drinking Test bottles from their office. It is recommended that you pick up enough to last you a season (unless you drive through North Bay on a regular basis).
Unfortunately they do not mail Drinking Water Test bottles. Follow the instructions and then drop it off at the North Bay Parry Sound Health Unit or the Sudbury Health Unit. Do not bring in a sample on Fridays due to the delay in transportation on weekends,
The North Bay Parry Sound Health Unit has offices in both North Bay and Parry Sound.
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (M-F)
Parry Sound
70 Joseph Street, Unit 302
Parry Sound, ON P2A 2G5
Phone: 705-746-5801
Fax: 705-746-2711
Toll Free: 1-800-563-2808
North Bay
Main Office
681 Commercial Street
North Bay, ON P1B 4E7
Phone: 705-474-1400
Fax: 705-474-8252

Sudbury District Health Unit
1300 Paris Street
Sudbury, ON   P3E 3A3
Telephone: 705.522.9200
Fax: 705.522.5182

Historical Water Quality Report For The Upper French River

In 2004 the UFRCA received funding from the TD Friends of the Environment towards our water quality program. Part of the proposal included hiring an environmental consultant to analyze and summarize our historical water testing results.

The UFRCA has been conducting water testing twice a year (spring and fall) in four locations since 1993. While this does not provide a great deal of extensive data or information, it has provided enough information and stats to trend.

The UFRCA hired Fri Ecological Services of North Bay to provide a summary report of our historical water results. Please see the attached PDF copy of the report for your review.
2005 Historical Water Quality Report
Posted: 7/20/2005

Test Sites

In 2005, the UFRCA would like to test throughout the entire cottage season. The test will be completed at the beginning of each month, from May to October. Now that the UFRCA is able to conduct on-site testing, we would like to expand the number of test sites from 4 to 15.
The suggested sites for 2005 include:
  • In front of Keystone Lodge
  • Sandy Island (2 locations)
  • Canoe Pass
  • Gibraltar
  • Near the mouth of Lake Nipissing
  • Proximity to old dump on main channel (to test for contamination)
  • Satchel’s Bay
  • Hardy Bay
  • Main channel Narrows
  • Back channel (2 locations)
  • In front of Dokis Indian Reserve
If you have any other locations you would like to suggest, please contact the UFRCA at the
e-mail address below.

A PDF copy of a map of the Upper French River will be provided in 2005 so you can see on a map the exact testing locations.
Posted: 10/14/2004

Test Parameters

Starting in 2005, the UFRCA water program will involve testing for the following:
  • E. coli
  • Coliform
  • Water temperature
  • Dissolved Oxygen
  • Phosphorus
  • water clarity observations
The UFRCA will be testing for E. coli, Coliform, Water temperature and dissolved oxygen using the Colilert Lab Kit and the Dissolved Oxygen Metre. The Phosphorous and water clarity observations will be done at the same time, but they will be part of the Ontario Lakes Program.

The tests will be conducted once a month, from May to October and posted on the website as soon as the results are available.
Posted: 10/14/2004

What Did The UFRCA Test For Historically?

Until the end of 2004, the UFRCA conducted two tests a year; one in the spring and another in the fall. Four test sites were chosen every year. The Ministry of Environment and Near North Laboratories recommended testing at these times of the year since this is when the water turns over.
The UFRCA historically tested for:
  • E. coli
  • Total Phosphate
  • Dissolved Oxygen
  • Chlorophyll A
  • Nitrate and Nitrite
 E. coli Escherichia coli are a species of bacteria found in the gut of human beings and all warm blooded organisms. Most strains of E. coli are harmless. A few are pathogenic and can cause serious disease. E. coli is very easy and inexpensive to test for, and for this reason testing of E. coli is performed to determine the possible presence of other contaminants that could be entering the water from sewage or septic system sources.

Total Phosphate Phosphates are required nutrients for life. Not enough, there is no life. Too much, and water weeds and algae will over-populate the water. When excess plant material dies, the decomposition process consumes oxygen that is needed to support other aquatic life.

Dissolved Oxygen The amount of oxygen dissolved in the water indicates the water’s ability to support life. Note that as the temperature rises, water can hold less dissolved gases. Thus, cold water has more dissolved oxygen than warm water. A ‘cold water fishery’ describes lakes and streams with high oxygen that will support fish such as lake trout. Lake Nipissing is a ‘warm water fishery’.

Chlorophyll A is essentially a measure of algae growth in the water column. As more nutrients are added to the system (i.e. phosphorus from fertilizers and inadequate septic systems) the greater amount of productivity and algae. In general, if phosphorous loadings increase there is usually a corresponding increase in Chlorophyll A.

Nitrites and Nitrates are nutrient compounds that affect the trophic status of a water body, but to a lesser extent than phosphorus. The Provincial Water Quality Objectives for this parameter is less than 10mg/l. All of the results fall well within this level.

New Water Testing Equipment Purchased 2004

In 2004 the UFRCA received a grant of $3200 from the TD Friends of the Environment. The grant was used to purchase:
  1. Colilert Water testing lab kit, including:
  2. Lab incubator
  3. UV lamp
  4. Sample bottles
  5. Reagent (used to test water)
The presence/absence Colilert test will allow the UFRCA to test on-site for coliform and E. coli. This test is now used more than all other methods for coliform and E. coli testing combined in US, Canadian and Japanese drinking water markets.
  1. Dissolve Oxygen Meter
The Dissolved Oxygen Meter will be able to measure on-site the water temperature as well as dissolved oxygen. The amount of oxygen and temperature is a very important test when determining the health of the waterway.
  1. Water Test Report
One of the problems with our historical water test results is that a lot of our members have never seen the results, and there is no analysis to understand, in simple terms, what they mean and how they impact our cottage living. Therefore, as part of this proposal, the UFRCA hired FRI Ecological Services to produce a report that would analyze the previous 9 years of water testing and let our members know what they mean. This report provides a strong understanding of water quality on the Upper French River over the past decade, as well as provides a strong foundation for our new water-testing program.

The benefit of both the Colilert lab kit and the Dissolved Oxygen Meter is that they will be able to be used year over year but the UFRCA. As a result, we will have a long-term sustainable water-testing program for our members.
Posted: 10/14/2004
Additional water testing equipment the UFRCA would like to buy.
Now that the UFRCA has obtained the necessary equipment to implement a new water-testing program in 2005, there is additional equipment that we would like to purchase to continue to enhance our program. They include:
  • Quanti-tray sealer and trays.
This would allow the UFRCA to conduct additional quantification testing for E. coli and coliform to another level
  • GPS locator
This would allow the UFRCA to accurately identify the test sites throughout the Upper French River so that we can ensure that consistent results and trends.

The cost of these two pieces of equipment total $4000. The UFRCA will be looking for additional funding opportunities as well as donations from our members to help purchase the additional equipment.
Posted: 10/14/2004