Sometimes referred to more simply as “assimilation“, assimilative capacity is the capacity of a natural water body to receive waste water, toxins, or polluted runoff without harmful effects and damage to aquatic life and humans who consume or use its water.

Lake Winnipesaukee Assimilative Capacity Analysis for Lake Waukewan and three main Winnipesaukee bays.

The chart above shows the current phosphorus concentrations in blue, the amount of phosphorus each water body can take on before being impaired in white, and a 10% buffer on those numbers as lakes and bays don;t necessarily go impaired right at 7-8 parts per billion phosphorus.  This information can be found in the Winnipesaukee Gateway.

When water bodies have a remaining assimilative capacity, they are usually considered to be high quality waters as they can handle more nutrients and pollutants before a water quality decline is observed.