Trout Lake Water Quality Sampling 2015-2016

The 2015-2016 Trout Lake Water Quality Sampling Project emerged from the Source Water Protection Planning Project that Ecology North undertook in partnership with the Sambaa K’e Dene Band (SKDB) and Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) in 2014.

Following the completion of the plan in 2015, there were several calls for additional water quality sampling near abandoned well and waste sites in the watershed. As such, this project was developed as a first step towards implementing these calls for action. The purpose of the sampling project was to gain a better understanding of how abandoned well and waste sites may be impacting water quality in the Sambaa K’e watershed.


The majority of sampling was done by SKDB members during the summer and fall of 2015. In total, nine samples were taken from five different sites identified as source water priorities by Sambaa K’e community members. Parameters test included pH, total BTEX (hydrocarbons), conductivity, major ions, total trade metals and total mercury. All of the results were compared to the Canadian Water Quality Guidelines for the Protection of Aquatic Life, which are developed by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME).

Overall, the 2015 sampling results were positive. At all sites, arsenic, molybdenum, nickel, lead, selenium and zinc were below the CCME Guidelines for the Protection of Aquatic Life. No hydrocarbons (oil and gas chemicals) were detected at these sites. There were some exceedances in cadmium, copper, iron, total mercury and silver, these sites were flagged for continued monitoring through future work.

Results Meeting

In early January 2016 Ecology North hosted a results meeting and open house in Sambaa K’e, nearly one fifth of the community attended this meeting. These results were well received and fostered substantial interest among community members for additional training and continued water sampling in the community. The insights gathered from this meeting and the sampling results collected during the project are being used to inform the development of a more formal source water protection implementation plan for Sambaa K’e. The plan will provide a more detailed list of actions, timelines and targets for source water protection activities, including our Hazardous Waste Clean Up Project.

Click below to open the sampling result summary:

2015 Water Quality Sampling Result Summary