Water Quality of Community Ponds

Samplers' boat
The Environmental Services staff monitors 23 of the 40 plus ponds throughout Broomfield. These ponds are easily accessible (e.g., The Trails Pond), used for sport fishing (i.e., Tom Frost Reservoir, Josh's Pond), and/or highly visible (e.g., Community Park Pond adjacent to the Mamie Doud Eisenhower Public library).

Field observations and measurements



When Broomfield staff visit a community pond, Samplerobservations are made of wildlife, waterfowl, trash, natural debris, algal blooms, and anything else that may affect the water or aesthetic quality of the pond. Based on these observations, other departments in Broomfield may be asked to help resolve issues such as trash, a broken aerator, or a harmful algal bloom.


In addition to observations, the following field measurements are recorded:

Measurement Purpose
Secchi disk depth The secchi disk is a black and white disk that is used to measure the transparency of water.
This depth measurement is used to estimate the depth of light penetration through the water.
Temperature Cold water holds more dissolved oxygen.
Dissolved oxygen Necessary for survival by fish and zooplanton
pH pH outside certain ranges (depending on species) can become a stressor for aquatic and amphibian organisms
Conductivity Helps to identify main source of water or indicate possible illegal dumping

Laboratory Analyses



Typical tests performed on pond samples are:
  • Total dissolved solids
  • Total suspended solids
  • Ammonia
  • Total phosphorus
  • Bacteria counts (Total coliforms, E. coli)
  • Alkalinity
  • Total hardness
  • Calcium hardness
  • Chlorophyll a
  • Phytoplankton (i.e., algae, cyanobacteria, etc.) identification and enumeration
Analyst

These results provide a valuable tool to evaluate changes in water quality over several years. Changes could be due to illegal dumping of pollutants, overuse of fertilizers, sediment buildup in inlets or the pond, or severe weather events.

Impact of field and laboratory parameters on water quality



Listed below are websites that provide more information about the importance of each of these field measurements and laboratory determinations on water quality:

Boulder Area Sustainability Information Network
Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
Water on the Web