Surface Water-Lakes: Part 2

William_WordsworthA lake carries you into recesses of feeling otherwise impenetrable.  ~William Wordsworth


Like last week’s post highlighting Thoreau’s enjoyment of lakes, Wordsworth also recognized the beauty and the deeply personal inspiration a lake can provide. The beauty of any lake affects different people in different ways, much like a lake can be polluted or destroyed in many different ways. Clean Water Act of 1972 recognized the utility of US surface waters and was enacted to protect our waters, including lakes, from pollutants and harmful discharges. The US demand for clean, safe drinking water is well over 100 billion gallons per day; this would be a difficult (if not impossible) demand to meet unless the source water is protected from indiscriminate contamination. In addition to artificial contaminants, there are also biological factors that can destroy a lake’s ecosystem and usefulness as a water source, such as algal bloom.


The water treatment process after collecting water from the source (whether from a lake, river, aqueduct, or the ocean) will generally involve: coagulation-flocculation

  1. Coagulation and Flocculation, which works to combine suspended solids in the water to either settle out or filter out of the water
  2. Sedimentation, which allows the floc or suspended solids to settle, making it easier to remove from water
  3. Filtration, which filters out suspended particles not settled out during the sedimentation process
  4. Disinfection, which kills bacteria and other disease-causing organisms present in the water after filtration


usgs.freshwaterThe treatment process is clearly less arduous when the source water is reasonably protected. Not only does the Clean Water Act protect the integrity of our waters, but it also preserves the majesty and inspiration of our waters.


A lake is the landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature.  It is earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.  ~Henry David Thoreau