Environmental Health Division
LAKE AND STREAM MONITORING
From 2001-2009 the Environmental Health Division conducted routine lake and stream monitoring to evaluate and assess the overall condition of these natural resources. The Environmental Health Division staff collected water samples to determine bacteriological (E. coli)levels, assess surface water quality, identify trends, and develop a local water quality database.
Sophisticated water quality monitoring field equipment was used to gather information. The Kalamazoo County Health & Community Services Department received funding from the Kalamazoo Community Foundation Sustainable Watershed Fund to purchase water quality monitoring equipment. The department purchased a Hydrolab® Quanta® multi-parameter water quality instrument. This instrument records temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, specific conductance, and turbidity.
Kalamazoo County is divided into two major watersheds (Surf Your Watershed). The Kalamazoo River Watershed is in the north half of the county and the St. Joseph River Watershed is in the south half of the county. Stream, creek, county drain, and lake sites in both of these watersheds have been monitored at various frequencies.
Lake and Stream Water Monitoring Results
The following reports are summaries of water quality measurements and samples collected at sites located within the sub-watersheds of Kalamazoo County. These reports are considered complete and made available as public information. In the event you need additional information about these results, please contact the Environmental Health Division.
Sub-Watersheds within the Kalamazoo River Watershed
Sub-Watersheds within the St. Joseph River Watershed
Understanding Lake and Stream Water Results
The Coliform Bacteria Interpretations (pdf) fact sheet is provided to help understand information about lake and stream water quality and to interpret lake and stream data. Please do not hesitate to contact the Environmental Health Division if you have any questions.
Bacteriological quality in surface waters can be determined through the presence and quantity of
E. coli, a bacterial organism found naturally in most surface water systems and in the intestinal tract of all warm-blooded animals. Securing and analyzing only one sample does not present a true and representative evaluation of surface water quality and does not comply with methods of the State of Michigan's Water Quality Standards used for evaluating surface water quality. However, testing a single surface water sample can present some general information about water quality and E. coli bacteria at the specific sampling location. The data may be used to assess surface water quality, identify any problematic trends, and initiate appropriate actions to minimize the public's exposure to contaminated surface water.
Under Michigan Water Quality Standards, there is no numeric standard for a single sample result. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) uses the following criteria for bathing (full body contact) recreational waters. The numbers presented here are for informational purposes only.
|Single Sample Maximum Allowable Densities|
|Designated bathing beach ||235 colonies per 100 ml water|
|Moderate use for bathing ||298 colonies per 100 ml water|
|Light use for bathing ||409 colonies per 100 ml water|
|Infrequent use for bathing ||575 colonies per 100 ml water|
Based on a statistically sufficient number of samples (generally not less than 5 samples equally spaced over a 30-day period), the geometric mean should not exceed 126 colonies per 100 ml water. This information is documented in the Ambient Water Quality Criteria for Bacteria-1986; reference number EPA440/5-84-002.
Surface Water Testing Service
The Environmental Health Division will provide surface water monitoring to interested parties (lake associations, land owners, environmental organizations, etc.). Surface water may include county drains, creeks, streams, rivers, storm water catch basins, ponds, or lakes. The service includes:
The Environmental Health Division follows specific guidelines when conducting surface water testing sampling. Refer to the Environmental Health Division fee schedule for current charges of surface water analysis and services.
Sampling by Riparian Land Owners
The Kalamazoo County Health & Community Services Department Laboratory will perform bacteriological analysis of surface water samples. Sample bottles can be obtained from the laboratory or the Environmental Health Division office. Follow water sample collection procedures on the back of the request form. Consult with the Surface Water Specialist if you have any additional questions.