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Boat checks water quality
Storm Water Services  launches a new boat to monitor the quality of water on Lake Norman, Lake Wylie and Mountain Island Lake.


Charlotte, North Carolina – Along with the pleasure boaters enjoying the lakes that border Mecklenburg County, there’s a new boat on the water this year. It’s not out there for fun, but protection of the lakes as a source of municipal drinking water and place for recreation. 

The new boat (which replaces a 12-year-old model) is a 20-foot Carolina Skiff with a 115-hp, four stroke engine. It costs $25,000 and was paid for with County storm water fees.  

Photo and Interview Opportunity:
- Monday, May 19
- 9 a.m.
- Riverbend Boat Landing at Highway 16 

Thirty sites on Lake Norman, Mountain Island Lake and Lake Wylie are monitored year round by Storm Water Services’ Water Quality staff to identify and eliminate sources of water pollution. Water sampling and other tests done from the boat determine:

·   Levels of contaminants in the water such as petroleum products, excess fertilizer and toxic metals

·   Levels of fecal coliform bacteria, often from sewage spills

·   pH

·   Temperature, electrical conductivity and dissolved oxygen levels, important for healthy aquatic life

·   How murky the water is

Most lake water pollution comes from rooftops and parking lots miles from the shoreline. Excess rainwater picks up pollutants as it flows across the land toward storm drains. Even though storm water runoff contains a variety of contaminants, it is not treated. Instead, runoff is piped directly into local creeks which flow into lakes. 

Monitoring lake water quality is important for health, economics, and recreation. Lake Norman and Mountain Island Lake are the sources of Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s drinking water. Polluted water is more expensive to treat. If dangerous levels of fecal coliform bacteria are found, Mecklenburg County will issue a “No Swimming Advisory” for that section of the lake. Protecting lake water quality is also important for boaters, fishermen, visitors, and people living nearby. Data collected during lake sampling help staff track water quality trends and pinpoint specific water quality problems. 

For more information about lake water monitoring, go to and click on “Lakes.”

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