Enhance Water Quality with Alum

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Balance Excess Nutrient Levels with Alum Applications

In healthy lakes and ponds, nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus are necessary for the growth of micro-organisms that form the base of the food chain and support the entire aquatic ecosystem, including beneficial plant and algae growth. However, urban development, land clearing, pollution, and mass agriculture can expedite this natural process by introducing foreign nutrients into our freshwater resources.

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Signs of Excess Nutrient Levels

When a waterbody is plagued by excess levels of phosphorus and nitrogen, it may exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Poor water clarity
  • Nuisance vegetation or algal blooms
  • Development of Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs)
  • Foul odors
  • Low oxygen levels
  • Loss of depth due to muck build-up
  • Fish kills

These water quality issues not only harm the aquatic ecosystem but can affect the surrounding community and the functionality of your waterbody. Drinking water reservoirs or large recreational lakes with high nutrient levels often face the potential for cyanobacteria or blue-green algae development. Toxic algal growth in these types of waterbodies can lead to unsafe drinking water and lake closures due to the health threats of toxic algal blooms.

Through a process called nutrient remediation, products like alum can bind with excess nutrients and improve water quality.

Restore Your Water Quality with Alum

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Alum Treatments Are Highly Effective

Alum (Aluminum sulfate) treatments are particularly effective at binding with nutrients in highly turbid waterbodies, including expansive community ponds, recreational lakes, industrial facilities, and drinking water reservoirs.

When introduced to the water using specialized equipment and application technology, alum forms a floc that binds with excess nutrients, like phosphorus, and suspended particles within the water column. As the floc settles to the bottom of the waterbody, it forms a cover over the nutrient-rich sediment. This process inactivates the phosphorus both in the water column and the sediment, thus improving water quality. Lakes, ponds, and reservoirs with balanced water quality are less likely to experience water quality issues like potentially toxic algae or nuisance aquatic weed growth. In addition to removing excess phosphorus, alum helps improve water clarity and enhances the overall health of an aquatic ecosystem.

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How Alum Is Applied

SOLitude’s state-of-the-art application vessel is custom-designed to apply alum safely and efficiently. The 30ft long barge is powered by twin outboard engines and equipped with a fathometer and GPS–based speedometer, in-line pressure gauges, and flowmeters that measure product delivery rates. Our vessel is also equipped with three tanks with a combined capacity of 3,000 gallons.

The vessel is also equipped with a calibrated pumping system with a submersed nozzle that discharges alum into the water. Applications are most effective when alum is dispensed several feet below the surface of the water so wind and surface currents cannot disturb the settling process.

The Benefits of Alum Applications

Drinking water reservoirs often rely on alum treatments to improve water quality before it enters the treatment facility. Healthier source water helps limit the likelihood of blue-green algae or cyanobacteria from developing. While these toxins can be removed through the reservoir’s treatment facility, this is an expensive process and often leads to odor and taste issues in the drinking water. With alum applications, drinking water reservoirs have healthier water going into the treatment plant which means cleaner, safer water for the local community.

Alum applications are also effective in wastewater holding ponds to reduce turbidity and legacy phosphorus which helps facilities avoid fees from environmental regulatory agencies.

Large recreational lakes and stormwater ponds can also benefit from alum applications to help improve habitat for aquatic life and overall functionality. With balanced water quality, lakes and ponds are less likely to experience water quality issues, which can impede recreational activities or diminish the functionality of aquatic ecosystems.

Achieve Optimal Results with Integrated Management

To get the most out of alum applications, aquatic resource professionals recommend pairing the solution with other sustainable tools like aeration to help oxygenate your lake or pond and beneficial vegetative buffers to help filter excess nutrients from entering the waterbody. It is always recommended to conduct regular water quality tests to monitor nutrient levels and stay ahead of any potential water quality issues. 

Developing a holistic management plan will help maintain healthy levels of nutrients and enhance the overall health of your aquatic ecosystem so it can be enjoyed and appreciated year-round.

Restore Water Quality with Alum

Contact your lake and pond management expert to discuss how alum applications can help enhance your lake, pond, reservoir, or holding pond’s water quality. Click the button below to complete our contact us form or call 866-768-4218.

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