Water Quality Restoration

Frog In WaterWe at The Lake Doctors can address and rectify a large variety of water quality issues. In fact, a large part of what we do as a company involves dealing with issues of water quality which can make large impacts on the quality of your lake or pond. Below we are going to briefly discuss a few common water quality issues and what can be done to solve those issues. Please note that many of the items mentioned on this page are also found under separate tabs under “Our Services”. In order to solve lake and pond problems that might be related to water quality, The Lake Doctors can schedule a free aquatic survey to visit your lake or pond a perform a thorough inspection to determine the general condition of the body of water including weeds and algae present, water color, water depth, presence of debris, presence of muck layers, water flow, fish and wildlife present, oxygen levels, any possible source of pollution or nutrient inflows, any structural deficiencies, any noticeable smells and, possibly, a basic water chemistry analysis. Depending upon the situation, more accurate testing of water chemistry and bacteria levels can be contracted through an EPA certified lab. If so, a separate proposal can be presented that details the exact testing suggested. Once the inspection and any related testing is completed, The Lake Doctors, will be able to determine what the issues are and suggest solutions which are ecologically sound, environmentally sensitive and economical. Below are some of the most common water quality issues and possible solutions:

  1. Turbid or cloudy water/poor clarity. This situation can be caused by many factors that require different solutions. If the turbidity/cloudiness of the water is caused by mud or dirt particles, The Lake Doctors can perform further lab testing and suggest a treatment with a material called alum or a polymer flocculent. This process will cause the mud or dirt particles to clump together and sink to the bottom, often within 24 hours. We can make applications to small private ponds or large lakes. The issue is most common on new construction sites where muddy water enters the body of water, causing the cloudiness. This process is called water clarification of is addressed under another tab. Another cause of poor clarity is the presence of a type of algae known as planktonic algae. Microscopic algae cells can, under the right environmental conditions, multiply to concentrations of millions of cells per quart of water, imparting a green color to the water, possible smells, and release of toxic by-products. There are several possible solution to this. Often, an application of an algaecide can kill the algae resulting in a rapid improvement in water clarity. Sometimes, alum, mentioned above, can be used to coagulate the algae cells causing them to sink to the bottom and die. As a side benefit, alum also has the characteristic of reducing phosphorous, which often results is less algae growth due to improved water quality. Also, a very common procedure is the periodic application of several types of beneficial bacteria, designed to reduce nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous, which then tends to inhibit the dense planktonic algae blooms.
  2. High levels of nutrients. This is determined by testing the water. Nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous can enter lakes and ponds through a variety of means, causing overgrowth of weeds and filamentous and planktonic algae. Common sources of these high nutrients can be lawn fertilizer, street runoff, decomposing weeds and septic tank seepage to name a few. Although algaecide and herbicide application can control these pests, it does not reduce the nutrient load in the lake or pond. However, other methods can such as beneficial bacterial applications, aeration systems (both surface aerators and bottom-based aeration systems can be installed), applications of nutrient-reducing materials such as aluminum sulfate (alum). Another common method of reducing nutrients is the planting of beneficial aquatic plants known as aquascaping or mitigation. The roots of the plants absorb excess nutrients and the plants provide food and cover for fish and wildlife. Some plants with pretty flowers also provide an aesthetic enhancement as well. Nutrient reduction can also be accomplished in part by removal of aquatic plants and algae. These plants contain nutrients and when removed physically, the nutrients are removed from the water body.
  3. Smell and odor issues. These problems can be the result of toxic gases escaping from the bottom of the pond, certain types of algae, certain undesired water components such as iron, decomposing organic material and other causes. Again, the solution is often a good aeration system which can circulate the water to reduce stagnation and increase oxygen, oxidize and reduce bottom muck, oxidize smelly and staining iron compounds eliminate stratification within the water column and, in general, give new life to lakes and ponds. Beneficial bacteria applications are also often quite effective.
  4. Low oxygen and stagnation issues. Often caused by shallow high-nutrient water conditions, the best solutions seem to be some type of aeration system, either surface based (for more shallow waterways) or bottom mounted diffuser systems (good for medium to deep depths)
  5. Poor color. Can be cause by mud or dirt particles, planktonic algae, dissolved tannins (from leaves and branches giving the water a “tea” color or other issues. Applications of algaecides, alum or bacteria can help solves these problems. Shoreline restoration can also help. By improving the shoreline, the washing in of excess dirt and mud from the banks can be reduced, thus reducing poor color and turbidity issues.

Often, many problems with lakes and ponds can be prevented or at least reduced in severity or frequency. Relatively small easy changes in management practices around a lake or pond (known as BMP, best management practices) can increase the quality of the water and the pond. A couple examples would be eliminating fertilizer applications around the shoreline, making sure grass clippings, etc. and not allowed to enter the water, making sure nothing toxic or high nutrient goes into street drains, which often drain directly into adjacent lakes and pond. Please feel free to request a free copy of our brochure called “Best Management Practices for Community, Private and Commercial Lakes and Ponds.”

Many of the topics above are discussed in more detail under the tab “Our Services.”

We are proud to be able to offer such a variety of professional lake and pond services to help you with any and all issues you may have or, better yet, would like to prevent. Please contact The Lake Doctors today to request your free aquatic survey of your lake, pond or waterway. We can provide the best prescription for your waterway! And remember, “A lake is a reflection of its management!”

Contact our staff to learn more about our water quality restoration. We serve clients in Florida, Ohio, and South Carolina.