Welcome to the RMWQAA Website! 

Water Quality Staff Keep a Close Eye on Standley Lake

11 Feb 2018 6:58 PM | Natalie Love (Administrator)

Algae is the enemy and these two warriors have the tools and the talent to help the city tackle it. Laboratory Analysts Eric Scott and Trea Nance head out on Standley Lake about every two weeks to take measurements, check equipment, and investigate the water quality of Standley Lake and the creeks that flow into it.


Standley Lake, the primary source of drinking water for the city, holds about 14 billion gallons of water, or a year’s supply of drinking water for the city.  With water constantly flowing in and out of the lake, the water quality needs to be checked almost constantly. Water quality data is transmitted via the anchored testing station, but Scott and Nance also head out on a pontoon boat and check the water themselves.


"The testing station in the middle of the lake is constantly monitoring water quality levels,” said Scott. “However, we head out to get backup measurements and gather water samples for ourselves and other government entities.”


Their primary tool for evaluating the lake water is an EXO2 Sonde. It has sensors that measure the cloudiness of the water (turbidity), salt and inorganic material content (conductivity), gaseous oxygen (dissolved oxygen) and algae content (chlorophyll). One Sonde is stationed at the anchored testing station and Scott brings another to check water quality measurements at certain depth intervals in the lake.


“Algae is important in lakes because it adds oxygen to the water, however, too much algae creates an ‘algae bloom’ which we need to manage via our water treatment systems before it gets into the drinking water,” said Scott.


The other tool they bring along on their trips is a Van Dorn water sampler.  The Van Dorn is a water bottle designed for sampling open water at a specific depth.


“I drop the Van Dorn into the lake and lower it to our chosen depth,” said Nance. “When it’s where I want samples, I let go of the drop weight and it snaps shut, thus gathering water at say 20 meters.”


The water is brought up and then portioned out into several sampling bottles for evaluation and dissemination to other cities who take drinking water from the lake, such as the city of Thornton.





Another part of their jaunts into the lake is to check the Sonde and battery at the anchored station. They change out and recharge the battery every trip. They clean muck off the Sonde’s sensors…and clean off any bird poop or the remains of animals consumed by an eagle or owl left on the station.


After getting back to the office, Scott and Nance work with water quality staff at Semper Water Treatment facility evaluating the data received from the Sonde and the Van Dorn.  Scott then sends out email to staff and interested parties detailing the results.


Another fun part of the email that Scott sends out are photos he has taken out on the lake.  From panoramic scenic shots to up-close photos of geese and ducks, Scott has a photographer’s eye for capturing life out on Standley Lake.

Westminster residents have some of the safest and best tasting water in the region and we have Scott, Nance and all the staff at Westminster’s Department of Public Works and Utilities.


Jonathan Thornton is the Communications and Outreach Coordinator at the City of Westminster

© Rocky Mountain Water Quality Analysts Association
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software