Water Quality Testing Atlas

Alex water sampling

Langley is connected to the Pacific Ocean through more than 1500km of watercourses.  Poor water quality that originates in Langley can have detrimental impacts on sea life.  In particular, fecal matter from poorly maintained septic systems, discarded pet waste and livestock are impacting the safety of the shell fish harvest in the Strait of Georgia.

Biological testing of water samples to look for fecal coliforms is an excellent indicator of fecal matter and microorganisms in creek water.  The more famous fecal coliform is E. coli and it is one of the parameters we test for.  Fecal coliforms indicates that the water could also contain pathogens (such as some bacteria, viruses, and parasites) that can make livestock, wildlife and us very sick if present.  Wildlife needs water to survive and livestock that have access to streams for drinking water can all become very ill when drinking water contaminated with manure, septic system discharges or pet waste.  Our drinking water is at risk when contaminated water is able to enter our groundwater supply.  




E. coli levels

<77 CFU/100mL

77 to <200 CFU/100mL

>200 CFU/100mL

  • 0 CFU/100mL (not detected) threshold for coliforms in drinking water
  • 77 CFU/100mL threshold for E. coli in water used to irrigate crops that are eaten raw
  • 200 CFU/100mL threshold for E. coli for general livestock use (unconfined).  Confined animals require water treatment if E. coli is >10  CFU/100mL


Microbial Indicators Water Quality Guidelines – British Columbia

Nooksack River Transboundary Technical Collaboration Group 2020-2021 Annual Report – collaboration between BC and Whatcom County (WA, USA)

Nooksack River Transboundary Report – August 2018 to September 2019 Data Summary  – BC  

Recreational Water Quality Guidelines – BC

Surface Water Monitoring for Fecal Coliform Bacteria  – Monitoring work being done in Washington (Nooksack River and Boundary Bay where the Little Campbell River enters the Pacific Ocean)