UBC EOAS students wade in to Lost Lagoon’s water woes

June 23, 2023

Read the UBC Science article by Geoff Gilliard: UBC students wade into Lost Lagoon’s water woes.

After carp die-offs in Vancouver’s Lost Lagoon the past two summers, UBC EOAS students went out to test the human-made lake’s murky waters.

A team from UBC’s Community Projects in Environmental Science, Logan Hwang, Samantha Kortekaas, Yinzhi Li and Annabel Tse, were recruited to assess Lost Lagoon’s water quality by Dacyn Holinda, the Stanley Park Ecology Society’s (SPES) conservation projects manager and Dr. Tara Ivanochko, UBC EOAS professor and co-instructor of UBC’s Community Projects in Environmental Science.

Left to right: UBC students Yinzhi Li, Annabel Tse, Dacyn Holinda, Logan Hwang and Samantha Kortekaas.

The students provided the project scoping, fieldwork, research and analysis. Samples from the biofiltration ponds and the lagoon would be tested for metal and hydrocarbons based on B.C. Ministry of Environment Water Quality Guidelines. Their results showed high concentrations of aluminum, tin and chromium in the water samples, suggesting that the ponds don’t appear to be filtering these three metals effectively, and that the sediments may be saturated with these metals due to lack of maintenance. Concentrations of phosphorus — which causes eutrophication and phytoplankton blooms — exceeded the guidelines at all sites. The good news is that the levels of copper, zinc and cadmium were within safe limits and that hydrocarbons (gas and oil) and 6PPD-quinone (from tire particles) were also found to be below levels deemed to be harmful.

The students recommend taking measurements of pollutant concentrations in the sediments of the ponds, and that dredging sediments more frequently would decrease toxicity in Lost Lagoon. They also suggested that after dredging, more tests on metals and nutrients should be conducted in December 2023 and February 2024.

“The results from this project are a great start,” Holinda says. “From here, we can start to narrow in on the sources of contamination, with the ultimate goal of finding solutions which the Park Board can implement to improve the health of the lagoon and surrounding area.”

Read the UBC Science article by Geoff Gilliard: UBC students wade into Lost Lagoon’s water woes | Focus
Watch the video from UBC Science: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tekgZpxmp6M
Read the full report: Water Quality Analysis of Lost Lagoon and Associated Biofiltration Ponds at Stanley Park.