The Importance of Regular Water Quality Testing and Nutrient Remediation Solutions
Your waterbody is home to native plants, beneficial bacteria, fish and other wildlife, but is the ecosystem thriving? Sampling the water to closely examine the condition of a lake or pond’s chemical, physical and biological characteristics can be extremely revealing. Whether an aquatic resource functions as a stormwater management pond, a recreational lake, irrigation source, drinking water reservoir or trophy fishery, understanding water quality—and how to safely manipulate it—is one of the most important ways to effectively achieve the long-term goals for the property.
Similar to a fingerprint or a snowflake, no two waterbodies are exactly alike, even if they are located right next to each other. This is because many different factors contribute to water quality, including pH, alkalinity, conductivity, nutrient levels, temperature, dissolved oxygen and more. Over time, these water quality parameters can help lake and pond managers create an in-depth profile of a waterbody, which may be used to more accurately predict the onset of fish kills, algae blooms and other undesirable situations.
Often, water quality problems are rooted in nutrient pollution. If excess levels are identified through water quality testing, nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus can be reduced to more desirable levels using sustainable nutrient remediation products like Phoslock, Alum and Biochar:
Phoslock is a patented product that contains a unique lanthanum modified clay with a high affinity to bind with free reactive phosphorus. This means that when Phoslock is applied to the water column by a licensed professional, it pulls phosphorus to the bottom sediments where the nutrient can no longer transfer energy up the food chain to support the growth of algae or nuisance plants. The impacted nutrients are removed from the water column permanently.
Alum (aluminum sulfate) is also extremely effective at binding with free radical nutrients and sinking them to the bottom of the waterbody so they can no longer fuel nuisance growth. Alum is generally used on turbid water and is an excellent solution for large lakes that suffer from nutrient pollution. Alum can also be leveraged as a proactive management tool. By applying low doses annually, communities and property owners can prevent the onset of poor water quality conditions resulting from excess nutrients while reducing long-term expenses.
A new product called Biochar is changing the way we limit the impact of excess nutrients in smaller ponds and stormwater facilities that experience high water flow. Biochar is a highly adsorbent material very similar to activated charcoal. Contained in a large sock-like bag, this porous material allows water to flow through while pulling nutrients from the water. Once the bag is full, it is pulled from the water which physically removes the pollutants from the water column. The nutrients captured within Biochar can then be disposed of or applied directly to gardens and flower beds to supplement fertilizer.
These nutrient remediation approaches provide long-lasting results, but they are not a permanent solution. Additional tools and techniques can be utilized to curb the influx of new nutrients that may enter the water column through natural means, like plant decomposition, as well as through pollution and urban development. Beneficial vegetative buffers, erosion control strategies, hydro-raking, mechanical harvesting, and nanobubble treatments can all be used to help maintain balanced water quality conditions. Contact your freshwater management professional to get started designing a custom nutrient management plan for your waterbody.
WHO WE ARE
SOLitude Lake Management is a nationwide environmental firm committed to providing sustainable solutions that improve water quality, enhance beauty and preserve natural resources.
SOLitude’s team of aquatic scientists specializes in the development and execution of customized lake, stormwater pond, wetland and fisheries management programs. Services include water quality testing and restoration, algae and aquatic weed control, installation and maintenance of fountains and aeration systems, shoreline erosion control, muck and sediment removal and invasive species management. SOLitude partners with homeowners associations, golf courses, private landowners, businesses and municipalities. SOLitude Lake Management is part of Rentokil, a leading business services company, operating across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.