Every Wednesday we do our water sampling in the Homme Dam watershed. We do stream sampling at three different locations in Walsh County, each leading to the Red River. Our lake sampling is done at Homme Dam just west of Park River, here we do samples at the deepest point in the lake and often monitor our algae blooms for any potential health risks. Additioanlly, for both stream and lake sampling we test similar parameters and monitor our Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) levels. Every sample gets sent to Bismarck, North Dakota to the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality (NDDEQ) for further analysis.
When we do our stream sampling we test for three different qualities. We look at Nutrients Complete, Total Suspended Solids (TSS) and E. Coli counts. Nutrients Complete and TSS consist of non-harmful water components and we've never had alarming levels of E. Coli counts.
Our stream sampling takes place from the first thaw in the spring until October 31 or the water freezes over. All of our bottles must be overnight shipped to Bismarck to ensure accurate results.
During lake sampling we test for many more qualities compared to stream sampling. We also test for Nutrients Complete and TSS, but we also do a Chlorophyll count, temperature, clarity, and dissolved oxygen readings. We are only required to do lake sampling twice a month, from thaw to freeze.
We also do Harmful Algae Bloom (HABs) testing to monitor microcystin levels. In other words, we test continuously test algae levels and announce updates on water quality. Please monitor our social media to know when it is safe to swim! Advisory signs are also posted at the swim beach and south boat ramp. If you notice unusual algae levels, textures, or smells, please report it to the NDDEQ. The link is posted below.