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Chloride levels rising, but far from toxic



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April 01, 2014 | 08:53 PM
According to the Geneva Lake Environmental Agency (GLEA), chloride levels in Geneva Lake have risen in the past four decades, but don't worry, fisherman, the rise won't affect your catch — at least not yet.

In a guide titled "Understanding Lake Data" published by the University of Wisconsin — Stevens Point, chloride is described as "a chemical common in septic systems, animal waste, potash fertilizer and drainage from road-salting chemicals."

Since the 1970s, GLEA Executive Director Ted Peters said that the chloride presence in Geneva Lake has risen from about 5 mg/L to 45mg/L.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency's standard (EPA) for drinking water quality allows no more than 250 mg/L.

Chloride buildup cannot be removed from the environment through any natural process, according to the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services' website, which means that though the increased chloride levels do not pose an immediate risk to Geneva Lake's aquatic life, if the cause of rising levels is not found and capped, levels would continue to rise over time, eventually becoming toxic.

Geneva Lake chloride levels are still far below the threshold of toxicity.

However, Peters warned that a steady increase overtime could indicate other pollution problems.

As stated in the UWSP article: "An increase in chloride from human or animal waste suggests that other nutrients are also entering the lake.

"Higher chloride concentrations from spring to fall may be the effect of lawn fertilizer runoff or septic systems during heavy use by summer residents.

"Higher values in spring after the snow melts may signify runoff from drainage basins or highways as a major source of chloride."

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