Attention Oak Lake Residents
As you may be aware a very large discharge of pig manure has been entering Oak Lake since 2018. The discharge was the result of a spill at a Gallivan Road hog farm located just north-east of Oak Lake. As a result, both the natural environment and public’s health has been affected. Worse still, a system of sub-surface and surface drainage systems regularly deliver farm runoff into Oak Lake.
Oak Lake Water Quality Assessment - July 30, 2019
Brent Parsons and Kris Hadley (Hutchinson Environmental Sciences Ltd.) In collaboration with the City of Quinte West, Lower Trent Conservation, Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks, Hastings Prince Edward Public Health Unit.
Hutchison Environmental Report - July 23, 2019
To view the entire report in full, click the link below.
The Hutchinson Report - January 30, 2019
Based on the initial report prepared by Hutchinson Environmental Sciences (HES) - Water Quality Assessment of Oak Lake – released January 30, 2019.
Initial Scientific Findings of Oak Lake suggest that:
1. Oak Lake is meso-eutrophic for phosphorus. This means the lake has moderately increased levels of phosphorus (as defined by the Provincial Water Quality Objectives). Phosphorus is a critical nutrient for plant growth and the analysis by HES indicates it is a limiting nutrient in this lake. This means any increases in phosphorus will directly increase plant growth (e.g. weeds and algae). Increases in plant growth from eutrophication is cause for concern as increased plant growth leads to increased bacterial decomposition of plant matter and lowers dissolved oxygen in the lake for fish and invertebrates. HES states it is trying to identify the sources of phosphorus as they can come from agricultural fertilizer runoff and septic systems.
2. Oak Lake has internal loading of phosphorus. HES also found internal loading of phosphorus which means phosphorus is being stored in the lake sediment and can be released back into the lake water. This is concerning as it means even if phosphorus inputs to the lake are reduced, it could take some time for the phosphorus levels in the lake water to drop as the sediment itself can release phosphorus into the lake.
3. Oak Lake is hypoxic (i.e oxygen levels too low for life) in the bottom of the lake at the end of the summer and had some depressed oxygen levels throughout the lake at that time. While dissolved oxygen naturally fluctuates throughout the year, it should remain above hypoxic levels even at the lowest points of the year. These dissolved oxygen levels are harmful to the fish and invertebrates in the lake and are likely caused by the phosphorus levels mentioned above.
4. Oak Lake has elevated ammonia (as defined by the Provincial Water Quality Objectives) in part of the lake. Elevated ammonia can be toxic to aquatic life and can come from the same environmental sources as phosphorus listed above (agricultural fertilizer and septic systems). Elevated ammonia can also increase eutrophication.
To view the full report on lake health conducted by Hutchinson Environmental Services click the link below.
History of Manure into Oak Lake
Complaints about agricultural runoff entering Oak Lake have been public knowledge historically. As seen in these historical photographs, pollutants have been entering Oak Lake for decades. The Oak Lake Regeneration Plan while strong in recommendations, was weak in regulation. Acting on behalf of full-and-part time citizens of Oak Lake, and the surrounding watershed, this Plan was created under the authorship of Quinte West and Lower Trent Conservation Authority. Unfortunately, the guidelines stipulated under this Plan, have not been enforced which has resulted in deteriorating water quality, with subsequent human health conditions.
Pig Manure Spillage
In late 2017 and/or early 2018, there was a very large pig manure spillage at the hog farm of Mr. Greg Barr located at 71 Gallivan Road, Stirling, ON. The river of this manure spill had to pass through property owned by Doug Detlor, before entering Oak Lake. Reasons for the lake contamination are because there are several pathways for runoff to reach the lake water, including both a box culvert that permits surface area pollutants to flow into the lake, as well as, traditional and primitive underground farming tile conduits that link directly enter Oak Lake.
Oak Lake Residents
Water quality, drinking water, local public beach, citizens health, flora and fauna life, property valuation, business and residential investment. Personally, as a recent investor on Oak lake, we’re now looking at the possibility of a reduction in that investment, because of the negligent agricultural practices over the last number of years. Let’s follow the plan that was outlined in 2002… more than fifteen years ago!
Oak Lake is a Kettle Lake and is an aquifer supplier for numerous residential areas on top of the hill, as well as, the surrounding watershed. Despite the common belief of limited water movement within the lake, it is being fed by at least seven undersurface springs which creates tremendous water movement, much like the jets in a hot tub. Undoubtedly, one are of Oak Lake contamination affects all areas of Oak Lake. This is evidenced by the green algae growth within the lake that has occurred over the past number of years.
Pig Manure Effects
Phosphates - take oxygen molecules from water which makes it impossible for the proper oxygenation of water. This is referred to as eutrophication. In addition, this causes algae bloom which can be in turn, toxic to humans.
Zoonotic - The primary zoonotic pathogens associated with swine manure include bacteria, viruses and parasites. Zoonotic are parasites that can be transmitted from animals to people (i.e. cryptosporidium or giardia).