Lake Nockamixon Water Quality by Gina Frederick

The water quality and ecology of Lake Nockamixon has undergone extensive study over the past 25 years. While efforts to improve water quality have been considerable, research indicates that the lake maintains high nutrient concentrations and is classified as either eutrophic or hypereutorpic. Much of the research has been initiated because of the presence and overabundance of algae within the lake. In an effort to reduce nutrient loads and sediment pollution into Lake Nockamixon, interventions have lead to substantial improvements within the watershed. In areas where farming was dominant, BMPs were implemented to reduce non-point source pollution. The dominant point-source pollutant within the watershed, the Quakertown Wastewater Treatment Plant, made improvements to its facility, which resulted in a very large reduction of phosphorus loading to the lake (Princeton Hydro & Boucher & James, 2005).

Despite efforts to reduce nutrient loads, algal blooms persisted in the lake, which resulted in the listing of Lake Nockamixon as an impaired water body by the State of Pennsylvania in 1996. Because the Quakertown Wastewater Treatment Plant had already upgraded its facility, the required Total Maximum Daily Load analysis (TMDL) focused on reducing non-point source phosphorus loading. The analysis identified load reductions that would be required to move the Lake Nockamixon system from a eutrophic status to an improved status of   mesotrophic (Princeton Hydro & Boucher & James, 2005).

Officials of the Bucks County Conservation District continue to address water quality through BMPs enforced throughout the Tohickon Creek watershed.

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