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COLAP Standard Operating Procedure M-1 Rev.

01 Page 1 of 19

COLAP
Massachusetts
Congress of
Lake and Pond
Associations, Inc.

STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE FOR


AQUA – CHECK TM MODEL A51601
WATER ANALYZER METER
(TEMPERATURE, DISSOLVED OXYGEN,
CONDUCTIVITY AND pH MEASUREMENT)

REV. O1
COLAP Standard Operating Procedure M-1 Rev. 01 Page 2 of 19

TABLE OF CONTENTS

SECTION TITLE PAGE NO.

RECORD OF REVISIONS 3

1.0 GENERAL SAMPLING PROTOCOL 4

2.0 AQUA CHECK TM WATER ANALYZER FAMILIARITY 6

3.0 WATER ANALYZER OPERATION 7

4.0 WATER ANALYZER STORAGE 9

5.0 INSTRUMENT CALIBRATION 9

6.0 REFERENCES 9

TABLE TITLE PAGE NO.

1 AQUA-CHECKTM METER CHARACTERISTICS 10

FIGURE TITLE PAGE NO.

A A TYPICALLY THERMALLY STRATIFIED LAKE IN 15


MIDSUMMER

APPENDIX TITLE PAGE NO.

I DISSOLVED OXYGEN PARAMETER DISCUSSION 11

II TEMPERATURE PARAMETER DISCUSSION 14

III pH PARAMETER DISCUSSION 16

IV CONDUCTIVITY PARAMETER DISCUSSION 17

V COLAP WATER QUALITY SAMPLING FORM 18


COLAP Standard Operating Procedure M-1 Rev. 01 Page 3 of 19

Record of Revisions

Revision 01 (3/2/02): Combined illustrations in Section 3

3.4 Deleted, not applicable to equipment

3.6 – 3.11 Revised to account for atmospheric pressure

3.6 – 3.14 Paragraphs Renumbered

Pages 3 – 19 Renumbered

Appendix V Added corrected atmospheric pressure


COLAP Standard Operating Procedure M-1 Rev. 01 Page 4 of 19

1.0 GENERAL SAMPLING PROTOCOL

1.1 Confirm the sampling schedule. However, there is flexibility in the time and date of the
sampling, especially in consideration of weather conditions.

1.2 A sign on the boat advising that sampling is in progress is recommended. Volunteers’
common sense and good judgment dictate when it is appropriate to sample. Under no
circumstances should volunteers be on the water during rain or electrical storms, high
winds (whitecaps) or other unsafe conditions.

1.3 Before leaving shore, volunteers must make sure that they have all the needed safety and
sampling equipment and supplies on board the boat. Confirm that the following
equipment and supplies are on board:

All safety equipment required by State and local boating laws is on board. Boating safety
is a subject that volunteers need to take seriously because they will be moving around the
boat, leaning over the edge and working with various pieces of equipment.

Each volunteer must have ready access to an approved personal flotation device (PFD).
Volunteers should educate themselves about safe boating laws and the rules of the road.

Boat anchor. Two anchors are helpful on windy days, one off the bow and the other off
the stern.

Secchi disk with a measured line and clips

Clipboard and pencils/pens

Map of the lake(s) with sampling sites and landmarks marked

Current sampling protocol copy

Sampling forms

1.4 Position boat at the designated sample site.


COLAP Standard Operating Procedure M-1 Rev. 01 Page 5 of 19

1.5 Once the site is located, turn the motor off and anchor the boat from the bow (and
preferably from the stern, also). Repositioning the anchor once it is dropped should be
discouraged, especially in shallow lakes, because it can stir up sediments from the lake
bottom. Increasing sediment turbidity may alter data results. After anchoring, allow the
boat to stabilize. All samples and readings are to be taken from towards the bow of the
boat to minimize effects from the motor fumes/discharges.

1.6 Complete the observations portion of the sampling form.

1.7 Volunteers should record their observations about the lake and weather conditions on the
sampling form. Note that the previous week’s (7 days) precipitation is to be recorded
using the codes (i.e.; 0 = none, etc.).

1.8 In addition, they should record any unusual conditions that may affect the sampling
results. Reporting visual conditions such as water color and appearance will aid in
interpreting data results. For example, if the sampling trip was conducted after a storm,
the water may temporarily be more brownish and turbid than usual.

1.9 This turbidity will probably lower the Secchi disk reading and elevate the total phosphorus
concentration. Without the information concerning the rainstorm, an analyst might
conclude that other factors could have caused a decrease in water quality.

1.10 Samples, testing and readings shall be determined by each individual lake association
depending on their individual situations/desires (e.g.; some lakes may be nitrogen limited
instead of phosphorus and will sample for nitrogen, lake associations may wish to evaluate
surface and bottom samples, etc.). Refer to the appropriate procedures for specific
protocols.

1.11 Sampling forms shall be reviewed for completeness and accuracy by the observer at the
end of the session. If there is disagreement over the propriety of the results of any
procedure, the observer shall duplicate the procedure and so note the duplication on the
sampling form. Each sampling session shall also be critiqued by the observer on the
sampling form upon session completion. The observer shall initial or co-sign the sampling
form.
COLAP Standard Operating Procedure M-1 Rev. 01 Page 6 of 19

2.0 AQUA CHECK TM WATER ANALYZER FAMILIARITY1

2.1 The Aqua CheckTM Model A51601 WATER ANALYZER is a compact, rechargeable,
battery-operated, field instrument which simultaneously measures the dissolved oxygen
level, pH, conductivity, and temperature of water and aqueous solutions.

2.2 The user can elect to display either uncompensated values or values which have been
compensated for external effects. In the compensated mode, the conductivity and pH
values will be compensated for temperature and the dissolved oxygen reading for
temperature, salinity, and atmospheric pressure.

2.3 All of these parameters, except atmospheric pressure, are measured with a single compact
probe which is equipped with a 50 or 100’ cable length. This allows remote
measurements to be taken without the need to draw a sample.

2.4 The WATER ANALYZER also contains a built-in measurement log to manually store
readings. This allows up to 199 sets of measurements to be saved in the field for later
review.

2.5 The battery in the WATER ANALYZER will provide about 6 hours of continuous
operation. A low-battery signal will appear when approximately 1 hour of use is left. (The
meter has an Auto-shut Off Safety feature which disconnects the power before the battery
voltage drops below a level dangerous to the memory.) Recharge time for the battery is
about 5.5 hours. The WATER ANALYZER contains a back-up battery and will retain the
stored calibration information and the measurement log for at least 30 days without
external power.
COLAP Standard Operating Procedure M-1 Rev. 01 Page 7 of 19

2.6 The WATER ANALYZER uses a sealed lead-acid gelled electrolyte battery. Unlike a
NiCad battery, these batteries can be recharged before they have been fully discharged.
Incomplete charge and discharge cycles will have little effect on battery life or capacity.
The battery is also protected from overcharge by an internal battery maintenance circuit
which allows the unit to be left connected to the AC adapter/charger whether the meter is
in use or not. The battery requires recharging at least once every 3-4 months during
extended periods of non-use.

2.7 The WATER ANALYZER meter has been designed to be fairly rugged and weather
resistant. It is not, however, waterproof.

NEVER DROP THE WATER ANALYZER METER INTO WATER


OR ALLOW IT TO BECOME OVERLY WET IN THE RAIN

3.0 WATER ANALYZER OPERATION1

3.1 First, connect the probe cable to the meter, aligning the key on the cable plug with the
corresponding notch on the meter jack and press together.

DO NOT FORCE!

3.2 Rotate the locking collar 1/3 turn clockwise to lock the plug and the jack together.

3.3 To turn the WATER ANALYZER on, press the ON/OFF key. The meter should beep
and display the message "WATER ANALYZER Version 7.1.0" for about 3 seconds, then
will display the current sensor readings. All four parameters and their units of
measurement will be displayed simultaneously.

3.4 (Deleted)

3.5 The oxygen sensor will need to standardize in a saturated atmosphere prior to use. To
standardize the sensor, place the probe in a plastic bag with a wet sponge or cloth. The
bag should be secured so that a saturated air environment develops. After the probe has
been enclosed in an air tight plastic bag with a damp (not dripping) sponge or cloth for at
least 20 minutes, press the [MODE] key, then the [↑] key to get to the Setup Instrument
mode.

DISSOLVED OXYGEN IS THE ONLY CALIBRATION THAT MAY BE


ACCOMPLISHED BY PERSONS OTHER THAN
TRAINED EQUIPMENT CUSTODIANS

3.6 Press the [↓] or [↑] key until the “Calibrate Oxygen” prompt is displayed. Press
[ENTER] to select the “Automatic Oxygen Calibration”. The top line will display a
prompt for the atmospheric pressure. This, along with the temperature, is used to
determine the solubility of oxygen in water.
COLAP Standard Operating Procedure M-1 Rev. 01 Page 8 of 19

3.7 Use the [↓] and [↑] keys to adjust the displayed value to the test site atmospheric
pressure. A barometer may be used in the field or pressure may be adjusted for altitude
from media weather reports at the time of sampling.

Note: The barometric pressure as reported by radio and television stations is not the correct
atmospheric pressure to use. For standardization, the values have been corrected to sea
level. To convert from the reported value to the actual atmospheric pressure, you must
know your altitude above sea level. The local airport should be able to provide this
information if you cannot determine it from a topographical map.

3.8 Once your altitude is known, the following table may be used to convert from barometric
to atmospheric pressure (interpolate for your exact altitude):

Altitude Correction Factor


-500 m 1.061
sea level 1.000
500 m 0.942
1000 m 0.887
1500 m 0.835
2000 m 0.785

3.6 Multiply the correction factor corresponding to the altitude by the standardized barometer
reading to get the actual atmospheric pressure.

3.7 Once the correct pressure has been entered, press either the [ENTER] or [STORE] key to
save the value and move to the Air Sat Ox Cal step.

3.8 After the ADC (Analog-Digital Conversion) reading stabilizes (relatively constant for four
counts – the actual value is unimportant), press [STORE] to calibrate for 100% dissolved
oxygen. Continue to press the [↑] or [ENTER] (which skips steps) key to return to the
parameter display.

THE pH BOOT MUST BE REMOVED BEFORE TAKING MEASUREMENTS

3.12 Before a measurement can be made, the boot must be removed from the pH sensor. The
boot is a small blue polyethylene capsule which covers the pH sensor. The pH sensor is an
amber, epoxy, 7/16"x 2-3/4" (DXL) electrode. The sensor should be kept wet at all times.
A boot is provided for this purpose. The recommended solution for storage is 10% KC1
in pH 4 buffer. Remove the boot by gently sliding it off of the pH sensor body. Hold the
pH sensor body so that it is not pulled out of the probe as the boot is removed. When
storing the probe after taking a measurement, be sure to replace the boot. It should be
filled with the boot solution. If none is available, the pH 4 buffer may be used. The pH
electrode must not be allowed to dry out. The boot must be removed prior to use or both
the conductivity and pH readings will be in error.
COLAP Standard Operating Procedure M-1 Rev. 01 Page 9 of 19

3.13 The probe wire is graduated in one meter increments. Lower the probe one meter at a
time and press the “STORE” button to record the readings. If you are not going to utilize
the logging feature, or for the sake of caution, record the readings manually on the
sampling forms. Repeat the procedure until 0.4 meters above the lake depth. Be careful
when taking the bottom-most reading so as not to disturb the bottom sediment. If the
sediment is disturbed and the readings are inconsistent, note as such on the sampling form.
The observer shall select an arbitrary depth once per sampling session and take duplicate
readings and record them on the sampling form.

3.14 If the probes become covered with sediment, carefully rinse the sediment off with lake
water before continuing measurements. Refer to the manufacturer’s manual should
further cleaning be required.

AFTER TAKING READINGS, TURN THE METER OFF, REWIND THE PROBE
WIRE, DISCONNECT THE METER , REPLACE THE pH BOOT AND PLACE THE
PROBE IN A PLASTIC BAG WITH A DAMP SPONGE OR CLOTH AND SECURE
THE BAG TO MAINTAIN A HUMID ENVIRONMENT

4.0 WATER ANALYZER STORAGE1

4.1 For short term storage (overnight or over a weekend), the probe may also be immersed in
deionized water (with the pH boot on).

4.2 The pH electrode must not be stored dry. If the electrode is allowed to dry, it will be
rendered useless and the sensor will have to be replaced or returned to the factory for
repair.

STORING THE PH ELECTRODE IN DEIONIZED WATER (OR ANY SOLUTION


LACKING SUFFICIENT KC1) WILL CAUSE THE ELECTRODE TO DRIFT AND
REQUIRE INCREASINGLY FREQUENT CALIBRATION
DO NOT STORE THE pH ELECTRODE IN DISTILLED WATER.

DO NOT STORE THE pH ELECTRODE DRY.

4.3 The laminated meter guide sheet attached to the meter case is for field reference only and
does not substitute for study and full understanding of this Standard Operating Procedure.

5.0 INSTRUMENT CALIBRATION1

INSTRUMENTS ARE ONLY TO BE CALIBRATED, CLEANED, DISASSEMBLED OR


OTHERWISE MAINTAINED BY PROPERLY TRAINED PERSONNEL

6.0 REFERENCES

1. OI Analytical Aqua-CheckTM Water Analyzer Operator’s Manual, Rev. 02 – Sept. 1999

Volunteer Lake Monitoring: A Methods Manual, EPA 440/4-91-002, December, 1991


COLAP Standard Operating Procedure M-1 Rev. 01 Page 10 of 19

TABLE NO. 1

AQUA- CHECKTM WATER ANALYZER METER CHARACTERISTICS

PARAMETER METHOD UNITS SENSITIVITY PRECISION ACCURACY CALIBRATION

Temperature1 Multimeter Deg. C 0.1 Deg. +/- 1.8 +/- 1.8 Glass Thermometer

pH Multimeter Std. units 0.01 +/- .02 +/- .02 3 Pt. Std. Solutions

D. O.2 Multimeter % 0.1 % +/- 0.5% +/- 2% 100% Sat. Air

Conductivity3 Multimeter µS/mS 1% +/- 2% +/- 3% Standard Solutions

Sensitivity is determined by the increments measurable including interpolation, precision is the ability to reproduce measurements (dependent on human
factors), accuracy is the degree of agreement between the result and the true value (determined by the equipment and the procedure utilized).

1. Meter can read either Deg. C or F, if in Deg. F, accuracy and precision are 1.0

2. Meter has 4 modes; ppm, mg/l or % Sat., meter sensitivity is 1 decimal point, accuracy is 2% within 5 o C of calibration temp, 5% otherwise
Meter has 4 ranges; 0-99.9µS (min. signal is 10µS), 0-999µS, 0-99.9mS and 0-999mS, meter sensitivity is 1 decimal point
COLAP Standard Operating Procedure M-1 Rev. 01 Page 11 of 19

APPENDIX I

DISSOLVED OXYGEN PARAMETER DISCUSSION2


The amount of oxygen in the water is an important indicator of overall lake health. In fact, much
information can be learned about a lake by examining just this parameter.

Oxygen plays a crucial role in determining the type of organisms that can live in a lake. Some
species, such as trout, need consistently high oxygen concentrations to survive. Other aquatic
species are more tolerant of low or fluctuating concentrations of oxygen.

Oxygen is supplied naturally to a lake by:

• the diffusion of atmospheric oxygen into the water; and


• the production of oxygen through photosynthesis by aquatic plants and algae.

Oxygen is easily dissolved in water. In fact, it is so soluble that water can contain a greater
percentage of oxygen than the atmosphere. Because of this phenomenon, oxygen naturally moves
(diffuses) from the air into the water. Agitation of the water surface by winds and waves
enhances this diffusion process.

Vertical mixing of the water, aided by winds, distributes the oxygen within the lake. In this
manner, it becomes available to the lake's community of oxygen-breathing organisms.

Water temperature affects the capacity of water to retain dissolved oxygen. Cold water can hold
more oxygen than warm water. Therefore, a lake will typically have a higher concentration of
dissolved oxygen during the winter than the summer.

There are a number of factors that determine the amount of oxygen found in a lake including:

• climate;
• water temperature and thermal stratification of the water column;
• wind and waves that create movement on the surface and aid diffusion from the atmosphere;
• the amount of algae and aquatic plants (oxygen is added to the water as a by-product of
photosynthesis);
• the amount of respiring life forms including algae, aquatic plants, fish, bacteria, fungi, and
protozoans (respiration removes oxygen from the water and produces carbon dioxide);
• the rate at which organic matter reaches the lake bottom and is decomposed by respiring
microorganisms (influenced by growth and death rates of life forms in the lake and the input
of organic material from incoming streams and surface runoff);
• the oxygen content of incoming ground water and surface streams; and
• the shape and depth of the lake basin.
COLAP Standard Operating Procedure M-1 Rev. 01 Page 12 of 19

Oxygen is essential for aquatic life. Without oxygen, a lake would be an aquatic desert devoid of
fish, plants, and insects. For this reason, many experts consider dissolved oxygen to be the most
important parameter used to characterize lake water quality.

During photosynthesis, algae and aquatic plants use solar energy to combine carbon dioxide and
water, producing carbohydrates from the nutrients in the water, releasing oxygen to the
atmosphere. During respiration, complex molecules are broken down, oxygen is provided to the
plant cells and carbon dioxide and water are released. Respiration occurs all the time, but
photosynthesis occurs only in the presence of light. Consequently, a lake that has a large
population of algae or plants can experience a great fluctuation in dissolved oxygen concentration
during a 24-hour period.

During a sunny day, photosynthesis occurs and can supersaturate the water with oxygen. At
night, plants no longer produce oxygen; however, they continue to consume oxygen for
respiration. In some lakes after dark, dissolved oxygen can be depleted by the plants at a rate
faster than it can be diffused into the lake from the atmosphere. In extreme cases, the oxygen in
the water can become depleted. This lack of oxygen will cause fish and other aquatic organisms
to suffocate.

Extreme fluctuations of dissolved oxygen concentrations place great stress on the oxygen-
breathing creatures in the lake. Only tolerant species can survive in this type of environment.
Unfortunately, tolerant species are usually the least desirable for recreational purposes. Carp are
an example of a tolerant fish. Trout, on the other hand, are highly intolerant of fluctuating oxygen
levels.

In addition to the impact on living organisms, the lack of oxygen in a lake also has profound
effects on water chemistry and eutrophication (over enrichment). Eutrophication is the aging of a
lake whereby silt and organic matter are accumulated, nutrients are acquired and the increased
biological productivity causes the water to become murky with phytoplankton while decaying
organic matter depletes the oxygen. To explain this situation, one must understand the
temperature cycle, how it affects water density, and the phenomena of lake overturn and thermal
stratification . (See Temperature discussion).

Bacteria, fungi, and other organisms living on the lake bottom break down organic matter that
originates from the watershed and the lake itself. Algae, aquatic plants, and animals all provide
food for these decomposers when they excrete, shed, and die. Like higher forms of life, most
decomposers need oxygen to live and perform their important function.

The mixing action of spring and fall overturn distributes oxygen through out the water column.
During summer thermal stratification, however, the lower layer is cut off from the atmosphere.
There is also usually too little light to support photosynthesis by algae or aquatic plants.
Therefore, with no supply source, what oxygen there is in the lower layer can be progressively
depleted by an active population of decomposers.
COLAP Standard Operating Procedure M-1 Rev. 01 Page 13 of 19

When the dissolved oxygen concentration is severely reduced, the bottom organisms that depend
on oxygen either become dormant, move, or die. Fish and other swimming organisms cannot live
in the lower layer. As a result, trout and other game fish that require deep, cold water and high
oxygen levels may be eliminated from the lake altogether.

Oxygen depletion in the lower layer occurs "from the lake bottom up." This is because most
decomposers live in or on the lake sediments. Through respiration, they will steadily consume
oxygen. When oxygen is reduced to less than one part per million on the lake bottom, several
chemical reactions occur within the sediments. Notably, the essential plant nutrient, phosphorus,
is released from its association with sediment-bound iron and moves freely into the overlying
waters.

If wind energy breaks down a lake's stratification, this phosphorus may be transported into the
upper layer where it can be used by algae and aquatic plants. This internal pulse of phosphorus
(often termed internal loading) can thus accelerate algal and aquatic plant problems associated
with cultural (human caused) eutrophication.

Iron and manganese are also released from the sediments during anoxic (no oxygen) periods.
These elements can cause taste and odor problems for those who draw water from the lower layer
for drinking or domestic purposes.

Fortunately, many of the negative effects of anoxic conditions are eliminated during overturn. As
the waters of the lake are mixed and re-oxygenated, many of the constituents released from the
sediments chemically change and precipitate back on to the lake bottom. Others are reduced in
concentration by their dilution into the waters of the entire lake.

However, overturns also bring nutrients back up to the surface where they become available to
the algae. Therefore, it is not unusual to see algal blooms associated with overturns.

Dissolved oxygen conditions are best characterized by measuring the:

• dissolved oxygen profile (measurements from the surface to bottom at set intervals); and
• temperature profile (at the same intervals).

These temperature and dissolved oxygen profiles help define the thermal layers and identify any
oxygen deficit within the water column.
COLAP Standard Operating Procedure M-1 Rev. 01 Page 14 of 19

APPENDIX II

TEMPERATURE PARAMETER DISCUSSION2

Most U.S. lakes with a depth of 20 feet or more stratify into two temperature-defined layers
during the summer season. The water in the upper layer (epilimnion) is warm, well lit, and
circulates easily in response to wind action. The deep layer (hypolimnion) is dark, cold, more
dense, and stagnant.

These two layers are separated by a transition zone (metalimnion) where temperatures change
rapidly with depth. The metalimnion functions as a barrier between the epilimnion and the
hypolimnion. See Figure.

The magnitude of the temperature difference between the two layers defines how resistant
(relative thermal resistance) they are to mixing. A large temperature difference means that the
layers are stable and that it would take a great deal of wind or thermal energy to break down the
stratification and mix the layers.

In the fall, lowered air temperatures eventually cool the waters in the upper layer to a point where
they become the same temperature (and density) as the lower layer. At this time, the resistance to
mixing is removed and the entire lake freely circulates in response to wind action. This action is
known as fall overturn.

Layers again form during the winter. However, it is the upper zone that is slightly colder than the
deeper layer. In the spring, increasing air temperatures warm the upper layer to a point that it
becomes the same temperature as the bottom zone. Wind action then mixes the entire lake and
spring overturn occurs.
COLAP Standard Operating Procedure M-1 Rev. 01 Page 15 of 19

FIGURE A
COLAP Standard Operating Procedure M-1 Rev. 01 Page 16 of 19

APPENDIX III

pH PARAMETER DISCUSSION2
Acidity is a measure of the concentration of hydrogen ions on a pH scale of 0 to 14. The lower
the pH, the higher the concentration of hydrogen ions. Substances with a pH of 7 are neutral. A
reading less than 7 means the substance is acidic. If the pH is greater than 7, it is basic (alkaline).
Because the pH scale is logarithmic, each whole number increase or decrease on the 0 to 14 scale
represents a 10-fold change in acidity.

All rainfall is naturally somewhat acidic. Pure water in equilibrium with atmospheric carbon
dioxide forms a weak solution of carbonic acid with a pH of about 5.6. As a result, acid rain is
usually defined to be precipitation with a pH less than 5.6. It is not unusual for rainfall in the
northeastern United States to have a pH between 4.0 and 5.0. There is little question that such
pH values are associated with emissions formed during the combustion of fossil fuels. Since some
sulfur oxides are actually particles that can settle out of the atmosphere without precipitation, the
popular expression “acid rain” is more correctly described as acid deposition.

Acidity may also enter lakes from drainage that passes through naturally acidic organic soils.
These soils may become more acid through land use practices such as logging and mining.

Aquatic organisms are very sensitive to pH. Most are severely stressed if pH drops below 5.5 and
very few are able to survive when pH falls below 5.0. Moreover, as pH drops, certain toxic
minerals such as aluminum, lead, and mercury, which are normally insoluble and, hence, relatively
harmless, enter solution and can be lethal to fish and other organisms. Acidic lakes tend to be
clear because they contain little or no algae.

It is important to note, however, that adding acid to a solution may have little or no effect on pH,
depending on whether or not the solution has buffers. Buffers are substances capable of
neutralizing added hydrogen ions. The available buffering of an aquatic ecosystem is a function
not only of the chemical characteristics of the lake itself, but also of nearby soils through which
water percolates as it travels from land to the lake. Thus, information on the pH of precipitation
alone, without taking into account the chemical characteristics of the receiving body of water and
surrounding soils, is a poor indicator of the potential effect of acid rain on an aquatic ecosystem.

Most lakes are buffered by bicarbonate which is effective as a buffer for pH values above 6.3, and
there is very little change in pH as acid is added. As the pH drops below this point, the
bicarbonate buffering is rapidly depleted and lakes having a pH in the range of 5.0 to 6.0 are very
sensitive to small changes in acid. Below pH 5.0, lakes are unbuffered and chronically acid. As
long as there is a source to replace the bicarbonate to replace that which is removed by
acidification, the buffering ability will be extensive.2
COLAP Standard Operating Procedure M-1 Rev. 01 Page 17 of 19

APPENDIX IV

CONDUCTIVITY PARAMETER DISCUSSION2

Conductivity is a parameter that gives an index to the amount of solids that are dissolved in a
sample of water.

Conductivity is the electrolytic capability of the water. It is the ease at which an electric current
can pass through water and is correlated to the concentration of ions (positive and negative) that
are dissolved in the water. Pure water (de-ionized) is a poor conductor of electricity. Dissolved
inorganic solids such as chloride, nitrates, phosphates, sulfates, etc. are negative ions (anions) and
greatly increase the conductivity of water. Similarly, the presence of positive ions (cations) such
as sodium, calcium, magnesium, iron, and aluminum raises the conductivity of water. Non-ionic
materials like oils, some organic substances, and suspended material in the water are not included
in a conductivity reading.

Since conductivity is a comprehensive measurement of many ionic dissolved solids, natural soil
characteristics and land use practices will be the main determining sources. Agricultural practices
which allow field run-off will carry ionic nutrients into adjacent surface waters. Municipal storm
drains carry heavy ionic loads, particularly salt during the winter, and are discharged directly into
rivers. Plant nutrients associated with cultural eutrophication are ionic, therefore contributing to
conductivity. Cultural eutrophication from phosphorus and nitrogen, turbidity problems affecting
temperature and dissolved oxygen, increased Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD), and a decrease
in diversity of aquatic organisms all correlate to high conductivity levels.
COLAP Standard Operating Procedure M-1 Rev. 01 Page 18 of 19

APPENDIX IV
COLAP Water Quality Sampling Form
Date: ______________ Time: __________ Location (town/lake/site): ___________________________________

Monitor’s Name (print): _______________________ Observer’s Name (print): __________________________

Previous week’s precipitation (codes: 0 = none, 1 = trace, 2 = light, 3 = moderate, 4 = heavy, 5 = very heavy):
Days prior to sampling: 1_____ 2_____ 3_____ 4_____ 5_____ 6_____ 7_____

Current Conditions: Sunny _____ Hazy _____ Pt. Cloudy _____ Cloudy _____ Overcast _____
Wind from: North _____ East _____ South _____ West _____ None _____
Wind: Calm _____ Light ____ Breezy _____ Strong _____
Air Temp.: <50oF _____ 50-60oF ____ 60-70oF _____ 70-80oF _____ 80-90oF _____ >90oF _____

Water Color: Clear _____ Green _____ Blue _____ Brown _____ Gray _____ Other __________________
Odor: None _____ Fishy _____ Musty ______ Septic like _____ Other _______________________

Observations (boat activity, waterfowl, algae, sediment, debris, other):


____________________________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________________________
Secchi disk depth: (Reading 1) _______m. (Reading 2) ______ m. Average ______ m. Lake depth _______ m.

Sample identifications (as applicable):

Phosphorous, surface: _______________________ Notes:_____________________________________

Phosphorous, depth (m): ______________________ Notes:____________________________________

Other (type, depth): _______________________ Notes:_____________________________________

Other (type, depth): _______________________ Notes:_____________________________________

Meter used: __________________________________ Corrected atmospheric pressure ________________

Depth Temp. pH D. O. Cond. Depth Temp. pH D. O. Cond.


(m.) (oC.) mg/l (µS) (m.) (oC.) mg/l (µS)

Monitor Signature: _________________________________


COLAP Standard Operating Procedure M-1 Rev. 01 Page 19 of 19

APPENDIX IV (CONT’D)
OBSERVER’S CHECKLIST/CRITIQUE

1. Schedule consulted for personnel assignments and parameters to be monitored _____


Personnel training up to date _____
2. Proper equipment on board;
A. Boating safety gear ____
B. Lake maps ______
C. Secchi ________
D. Meters ______
E. Sampling protocol copy _____
F. Sampling forms ______
G. Clipboard/pens/pencils _____
H. Cooler and ice/Koolits (if req’d) ______
I. Wisconsin Sampler/sample bottles (if req’d) _____
3. Boat properly positioned and anchored _____
4. Proper protocol observed _____
A. Equipment used properly ____ Comments_______________________________________
B. Proper sampling techniques ____ Comments _______________________________________
C. Sample forms correct and complete ____ Comments _______________________________________
D. Sample bottles properly labeled ____ Comments ______________________________________
5. Field duplicate readings taken (Secchi/meter) _____/_____
6. Equipment functioning properly _____
7. Procedures adequate _____
8. Samples properly transported to shore ______ Entered onto custody log ______
9. Equipment properly cleaned and stored afterwards _____
10. Session used for training ______ Trainer _________________________ Trainee ______________________
11. Other comments:

Observer’s signature: ____________________________________