Water Quality Control

Peter Engels

We test the water in Echo Lake for Clarity, Phosphorous Content, and Algae content.  We go out about once a week, during June, July and August.  Testing is done at two locations, which we find using GPS.  At location 1, clarity is measured using a standard Secchi Disk, lowered to a depth where it begins to disappear.  From this depth, we obtain water samples, which we process using the standard protocol used in all Vermont lakes.  These samples are picked up by the State, which then does a chemical analysis to measure Phosphorous and Chlorophyll content.  Since suspended Chlorophyll is generated by Algae in the water, and Phosphorous is a primary chemical needed for plant growth, these two measurements, along with observed water clarity, are, in effect, a measurement of the health of our lake.

The data from each year is published the next Spring.  The results from last Summer should be available on line about now, and in published form by late May.  All the data from past years, for all lakes in Vermont that are part of this program, can be found on line at:


Echo Lake’s water quality is consistently number two in Vermont.  The only lake that is better is Maidstone, although other lakes like Seymour are very close.  Clarity varies during the year; it is best right at ice-out, and deteriorates during the summer.