Water Quality Monitoring

Monitoring the Waters of Smith Mountain Lake Since 1987

SMLA monitors our lake water so you don’t have to. Our scientific analyses identify where there is a problem, what is the problem, and the source of that problem. SMLA stewardship efforts resulted in little change in aging over the past 10 years based on key metrics.

Starting this summer SMLA will begin our 35th year of monitoring the quality of the water within the main lake in SML and also where the rivers and streams enter the lake. We have approximately 60 SMLA member volunteers monitoring 84 sites around the lake during the summer. Six times per summer these SMLA volunteers have given freely an hour of their time and boat to go out taking standard measurements and samples that are tabulated, analyzed, reported, and compared to historic trends. Data is collected on clarity, bacteria, total nitrogen, blue-green algae and diatoms, all of which contribute to the Tropic State Index combined (TSI-c), which is the overall best measure of water quality. Ferrum College Professors, staff and student interns conduct additional monitoring and perform all of the analysis of the water and biological samples in their exceptional environmental sciences laboratory on their beautiful campus located in Ferrum, Virginia. The resulting data is reported to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, Virginia Department of Health, the volunteers, SMLA members and the public. If there is an issue with the quality of the water SMLA promptly alerts our members, the public and respective agencies.

To be a Water Quality Monitor contact Tom Hardy at thardy8@verizon.net or call the SMLA office at (540) 719-0690. It is easy, fun and rewarding to know that as a monitor you are good stewards of this beautiful. You will need a boat, ice chest for water and the samples, sunscreen and sunglasses. Ferrum College provides the monitoring equipment and training for the volunteers. No prior experience is required to be a monitor. There will be a kickoff meeting in May; please call or e-mail for details. While boating and monitoring the water please wear your life jackets. It is your life you are protecting as well as any others on your boat. Your Safety comes first.

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