The Importance of Properly-Sized Lake and Pond Aeration
One of the great tools in a lake or pond manager’s tool box is the use of floating and subsurface aeration systems in a waterbody. Aeration is the mixing of water in a lake or pond to increase exposure to the atmosphere and decrease harmful gases like hydrogen sulfide within the aquatic ecosystem. A healthy waterbody that is well aerated will have suitable oxygen levels from the bottom to the surface.
Now, you may be wondering: why is it important to increase the oxygen levels in my pond? The benefits of an oxygenated lake or pond are tremendous. Oxygenation can help limit nuisance vegetation and algae by facilitating the conversion of pond nutrients to forms that do not sustain algae growth. Improved oxygenation and water circulation can also help reduce the accumulation of sediment at the bottom of the waterbody, which is one of the most common signs of an aging pond. Organisms that thrive in low or zero oxygen (anoxic) conditions promote poor waterbody health. A lake or pond that has no aeration will likely have anoxic conditions at depths greater than 8 feet deep in the summer months. In this zone, anaerobic bacteria can produce ammonia and hydrogen sulfide, which can be toxic to other organisms and produce foul odors. Anoxic conditions can also change the chemistry of a lake or pond. For example, pond nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus promote nuisance algae growth and can become excessive when low oxygen conditions exist in the aquatic environment.
While aeration is critical for lakes and ponds, it’s important to consider the unique needs of your particular waterbody when choosing an aeration system. Shallow waterbodies are most suitable for surface aeration fountains, which spray water into the air. When the water falls back down to the lake or pond surface, submerged gases escape and beneficial oxygenation occurs. Floating fountains are most beneficial for lakes and ponds with depths no greater than six feet, but other systems, like a subsurface pond diffuser, may be used to target deeper water. Subsurface aeration uses diffused air to push water from the bottom of the waterbody to the surface, where it can be exposed to the atmosphere. The water on the surface then gets displaced and driven down to the bottom of the lake or pond, creating circulation and mixing from top to bottom. This mixing creates a more uniform and oxygenated body of water.
However, if the aeration system is not specifically-sized for your pond, water will not be properly circulated to oxygenate the lake or pond. Inadequately-sized aeration systems could, instead, push unhealthy water into healthy areas and making the whole waterbody worse. A lake and pond management professional will take in to account the shape, various depths and overall volume of the lake or pond to determine a customized aeration plan. It’s also not uncommon for a professional to utilize depth-sensing technology, like bathymetry, to create a three-dimensional model of the waterbody. In addition to serving as a reference point for the appropriate sizing and placement for submersed and floating aeration systems, bathymetric and sedimentation data can be utilized to develop solutions for aquatic algae and vegetation issues, develop nutrient remediation plans, and effectively install fish cover.
Lake and pond management strategies like aeration and bathymetry can go a long way in improving the health and beauty of a waterbody, but a comprehensive management plan that also includes regular water quality testing, nutrient remediation and beneficial vegetative buffer management is the most effective way to ensure the longevity of your lake or pond. Contact your lake management professional to create a long-term, personalized plan for your waterbody.
The Benefits of Aeration
SOLitude Lake Management is committed to providing full service lake and pond management solutions that improve water quality, preserve natural resources, and reduce our environmental footprint. Our services include lake, pond, wetland and fisheries management programs, algae and aquatic weed control, mechanical harvesting, hydro-raking, installation and maintenance of fountains and aeration systems, water quality testing and restoration, bathymetry, lake vegetation studies, biological assessments, habitat assessments, invasive species management and nuisance wildlife management. Services, consulting and aquatic products are available to clients nationwide, including homeowners associations, multi-family and apartment communities, golf courses, commercial developments, ranches, private landowners, reservoirs, recreational and public lakes, municipalities, parks, and state and federal agencies. Learn more about SOLitude Lake Management and purchase products at www.solitudelakemanagement.com.