World Water Monitoring Day 2020

Today we celebrate World Water Monitoring Day! Did you know that Ottawa Riverkeeper does its own in house water quality testing?

Today we celebrate World Water Monitoring Day! Did you know that Ottawa Riverkeeper does its own in house water quality testing? We collect data from beaches and other sites along the river, and publish those results on Swim Guide. In fact, thanks to intern Caitlin Hayes and volunteers Dan Wilcock, Daniel Goodwin, and Sandra Milton, this year we collected 856 water quality samples at 24 locations throughout the Ottawa River watershed!

One of the sites we sampled was Constance Bay Beach which, based on usage data from Swim Guide, was the most popular beach in the watershed this summer. In addition, we monitored Parc des Cèdres and Parc Moussette in Gatineau, filling in the gaps in the City of Gatineau’s twice weekly testing to give the public more up to date information on water quality.

Are you curious about how we do these water quality tests? Recreational water quality testing relies on calculating the amount of E.coli in a water sample. E.coli, along with other coliform bacteria, are “indicator” bacteria used to assess the potential public health risk following exposure to water. At Ottawa Riverkeeper we use the Colilert test, which you can learn more about in the video below!

We’d also like to congratulate Swim Guide on reaching 1.5 million users this year! If you haven’t downloaded the app or checked the website yet, it is the best place to find local water quality data for your favourite beaches. We’re glad to be an affiliate and have the platform to easily share our data with our community and the broader public.

Accurate water quality data is an important part of staying safe while swimming at the beach or going out on the river. For more tips on staying safe while swimming, consult our blog on Water Safety.

2 responses to “World Water Monitoring Day 2020”

  1. Hi. Does Ottawa River Keeper do any other testing of the water ? And if so, what tests are done and where are testing supplies purchased?

    • Matthew Brocklehurst says:

      Hello Mike, thanks for the question! Ottawa Riverkeeper does do other forms of water testing. On top of the recreational water testing discussed here, which we have done for several years using various methodologies, we have also done testing on microplastics in the Ottawa River through our Riverwatch Network, working together with Carleton University. More recently we have launched a program to monitor the chloride levels in local streams in order to track the impact that road salt has on our waterways. That investigation is part of our Watershed Health Assessment and Monitoring Initiative, which seeks to track fourteen indicators of watershed health over time. We will be launching additional monitoring projects as part of that initiative in the future.

      If you want further details on the equipment we use for these various projects, please reach out to our Biologist, Katy Alambo, who can answer your questions and provide you with more accurate information.