Water quality testing a daily task in Collier County

Collier County is testing 54 water sites every month to make sure your water is safe, and you can be part of the solution.

What is in our water? WINK News wanted to help answer that question, so we went out with Collier County Pollution Control on Thursday to gather samples.

“We want to be in the center of the waterway. You don’t want to be off to the edge. It is not representative of what we are looking for,” said Geoff Rosenaw, an environmental specialist with the county.

“We collect at a constant depth of .3 so it keeps it consistent across the board.”

Environmental specialists start by gearing up, putting on gloves and following protocols to make sure they don’t contaminate anything.

They analyze water clarity, oxygen, salt and several other elements.

“These are just general readings that let the lab know how to treat that sample or if they need to handle it in a specific way,” Rosenaw said.

Rhonda Watkins with CCPC said they test 54 sites a month, with multiple locations tested daily.

“Depends on where but some trends are getting better, and some trends are getting worse,” she said.

This time of year, because of little rain, they see algae blooms, Watkins said.

“These sites drain into Wiggins Pass, and we do have some issues in that area which is a daily load including bacteria and nutrient impairments.”

Right now, 21 watershed areas in Collier County are impaired, which is where you – the public – come in.

“We can’t regulate how much phosphate and nutrients go into our canals; the only thing we can do is prevent it from getting to our canals,” Watkins said.

CCPC has an interactive website where you can check the water quality near your home. All you have to do is put in your address.

“If it’s impaired as far as they need to be concerned, yes, that could create algae blooms, and we have seen what those lead to,” Watkins said.

When you know what the issue is, it’s easier to make changes, like limiting fertilizer use or not using it all, clearing yard debris, and controlling what comes out of your sprinklers.

Reporter:Taylor Smith
Writer:Jackie Winchester
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