New probe to provide improved data
for water quality society

Handing out cash does come with some opportunity as FortisBC’s Judith Horvath learned earlier this week. She was in town to turn over $3,000 in Community Investment Program funding to the Osoyoos Lake Water Quality Society to help the local society continue to enhance the health of the community. Showing Judit around the OLWQS boat are Dave Smith, Iain Fraser and Julie Umberger.

The Osoyoos Lake Water Quality Society is going high-tech in its enduring quest to watch out for its namesake body of water.

The society is purchasing a Hydrolab4, a multi-parameter probe that will allow it to better collect data from the lake, including temperature, dissolved oxygen, specific conductance and pH at varying depths.

“It has a computer built in, which is so cool,” said society president Birgit Arnstein. “The computer actually knows at what depth it is. This thing tells us where it is (in the water).”

The stick-like probe can also test for turbidity, Chlorophyll a, Blue-Green Algae, ammonium, nitrates and chloride.

“We don’t literally use all that data; we send the data to the Ministry of Environment and some of the  data goes to the Okanagan Nation Alliance.”

Society volunteers spent last weekend learning about the probe with a hands-on demonstration from an environmental services professional.

The society is purchasing this state-of-the-art device — which retails for about $12,000 — with funds raised from generous grants and donations from FortisBC, the Town of Osoyoos, the Dorcas Ladies of the United Church and other local fundraising activities.

The society expects to be using the probe later this summer.

Volunteers spend between four and six hours a week on the water conducting tests at numerous locations around the lake.

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