Everyone can contribute, with their life habits, to a good water quality. This is even more important since lake Massawippi is a drinking water reservoir for several municipalities. Even if water is treated and purified before being distributed, it is important to protect water quality. Simple gestures can contribute to achieve this.
Eliminate the use of pesticides and fertilizers on properties.
When rain water falls and works its way through the lands, it drains an important quantity of pesticides and fertilizers used for gardening or landscaping into the lake. These products contain nutrients, including phosphorus and nitrogen, and many chemical products that are toxic for the aquatic ecosystems. Fertilizers, even the ones called “organic”, will have the same effect on the lake as on the garden: they accelerate the growth of algae, aquatic plants and cyanobacteria. The use of fertilizers and pesticides is prohibited in the shoreline areas, meaning ten meters and less from the water body. For more information, you can get in touch with your municipality.
Adopt phosphate free household and cleaning products.
Just like phosphorus present in fertilizers, the phosphates in household products and found in wastewater are sent back into the environment, where they contribute to algae, aquatic plant and cyanobacteria growth. We can now buy cleaning and laundry soaps and all kinds of phosphate free household products in drugstores, supermarkets and natural groceries stores. They are often recognizable by their “phosphate free” label.
Do empty your septic tank and make sure that it works effectively.
Wastewaters contain phosphorus and nitrogen. When no sewer system serves a house, onsite wastewater management systems can purify these waters before releasing them out into the environment. The treatment’s efficiency depends on the system’s conformity and good working order. To prevent any problems, septic tanks must be emptied in accordance with regulations: every second year for a permanent residence and every four years for a seasonal residence. Also, many clues can help detect if a system is not working efficiently: bad odours, moist soil close to the system, dense and green vegetation… For any questions, information or advice, you can contact your municipality. For more information, you can visit the Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et des Parcs web site at : http://www.mddep.gouv.qc.ca/eau/eaux-usees/
Put in place necessary measures to control soil erosion before starting any construction projects.
Exposed soil is particularly sensitive to erosion caused by water runoff. Soil particles, full of organic substances and phosphorus, are carried by the water and end up in lakes and other watercourses, which contribute to sedimentation and stream bed silting. Lake fry are asphyxiated, aquatic plant, algae and cyanobacteria growth is accelerated and swimming is not as fun. When construction is started, several simple and cheap methods can protect exposed soil or hold back sediments within the site, including sediment barriers, seeding and sensitive zone covering. Appropriate use and rigorous maintenance guaranty these method’s efficiency. For any questions, information or advice, you can contact your municipality.
Stop grass maintenance along the lakes and watercourses and let nature take back its place again.
By stopping grass cutting on the shoreline, nature will slowly take back its place. In less than a year, wild flowers will brighten up your land. After two or three years, bushes will grow and your shore will have found a natural aspect. The shoreline will be able to fully play its role and filter sediments and nutrients carried by water runoff. If the aesthetic aspect of uncut grass is bothering you, you can stop the maintenance of one meter of shoreline each year. The visual aspect will be less important and nature will deploy its magnificence, one step at the time.
Use boats in a way that limits the shoreline erosion due to backwash.
Motor boat waves have an important erosion force. The backwash created contributes greatly to shore erosion. Sediments present in the water cause soil silting and discharge phosphorus, which have a direct impact on algae, aquatic plant and cyanobacteria proliferation. It is important to respect marine signage and to reduce boat speeds when getting closer to the shore.
Avoid cleaning yourself or washing the dishes in the water bodies, since soaps contain phosphate which encourages cyanobacteria proliferation.
Camping and outdoor life are really pleasant when we are on vacation! But be careful, most maintenance products and soaps contain phosphates. When these products are directly rejected into the environment, they contribute to increased phosphate loads in water bodies. This has an effect on the aquatic fauna and accelerates aquatic plant, algae and cyanobacteria growth. It is important to wash the dishes, clean yourself and dispose of wastewaters in a planned appropriate area.
Handle pleasure boat wastewaters in a responsible way
All wastewaters contain phosphorus. When they are directly rejected into the environment, they increase the nutrient availability in the water surfaces and contribute to algae, aquatic plant and cyanobacteria growth. It is then crucial to dispose of wastewaters in areas planned for this activity.