Lake Orta

Last DEIMS-SDR update: 26.10.2023

Contact: Roberta Piscia
Operating organization: CNR – Water Research Institute (IRSA)
Funding agency:


Lake Orta is a deep subalpine lake, located in Northern Italy, at a mean altitude of 290 m a.s.l. Its perimeter is 33,8 km, surface area 18,14 km2, volume 1,29 km3. Lake Orta has a maximum depth of 143 m and a mean depth of 71 m. Lake Orta is well known for being polluted by industrial discharges (copper sulphate and ammonia) since the late 1920: as a consequence, the pH of the lake water dropped down till 4 and the food web was almost completely destroyed, except for some few, strongly adapted species. The pollution stopped around mid 1980s and a liming intervention was carried out in 1989-1990, to neutralize the acidic waters of the lake. The recovery was very fast, new species started to colonise the lake just after the liming. The lake, however, is still at risk, due to the large amount of heavy metals stored in the sediments.

Satellite map of Lake Orta

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