Total Phosphorus

Phosphorus is a nutrient that is present in high quantities in fertilizers, pesticides and organic wastes. Agricultural runoff is the main source of Phosphorus in the environment. It causes problems in aquatic environments by stimulating the intense growth of algae and triggers the process of eutrophication. This lowers the dissolved oxygen content in water, creating an uninhabitable environment. The State criteria for Total Phosphorus in a healthy aquatic environment is 0.025 mg/L. The geometric mean for all Enchanted Lakes sites exceeded this figure, the two highest locations being sites 2 and 5 with a mean of 0.53 mg/L. Site 2 is a marsh area with high quantities of decaying organic material, possibly contributing to this figure. Site 5 receives influent from many small streams, and it is possible that the collective Phosphorus content results in occasional high levels. The contributing streams all flow through residential areas and are subject to lawn runoff.