Document Type


Study Date



The Colby Environmental Assessment Team (CEAT) investigated the water quality of China Lake, located in China and Vassalboro Maine, from June through December 2005. The group analyzed physical, chemical, and biological water quality parameters from samples taken on China Lake and from tributaries flowing into the lake. An analysis of land use patterns, especially the impact of residential, commercial, municipal, and institutional development in this watershed, enabled CEAT to study their impact on water quality trends. Data collected by CEAT in 2005 were compared to historic data from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (MDEP) to gain a historical perspective of lake water quality. The phosphorus model created from these data enabled CEAT to identify the sources of phosphorus that most threaten the current and future water quality of China Lake. CEAT confirmed that the accumulation of phosphorus resulting from surface runoff, shoreline erosion, and internal nutrient loading negatively affects water quality of China Lake. Once the phosphorus concentration passes a threshold of 12 to 15 parts per billion (ppb), a lake may undergo algal blooms that decrease the aesthetic, recreational, ecological, and economic value of the lake and adjacent shoreline properties. Water quality improves with reductions of external phosphorus loading and sediment release of phosphorus caused by anoxic water conditions.


Publication Date: February 2006

Date of Study: June through December 2005

Included in

Biochemistry Commons



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