Development within watersheds has increased greatly in recent years and many lakes have been subjected to an ever-increasing load of nutrients and sediments, resulting in decreased lake water quality, thereby interfering with lake restoration efforts. Increased nutrient loadings are most commonly due to excessive use of fertilizers, malfunctioning septic systems, poor erosion control and improper waste disposal within the watershed. As development continues to increase, the amount of total hard–surfaced area also increases and the volume and velocity of the water moving through the watershed into surface waters is increased. This run-off erodes soils and transports organic materials and nutrients from surface soils. Inorganic materials, in the form of sand, silt, and clay are also transported to receiving waters, resulting in decreased lake water quality and depth.
The US EPA classifies nutrient pollution as one of America’s most widespread, costly and challenging environmental problems, and is caused by excess nitrogen and phosphorus in the air and water. As nutrients continue to accumulate, excessive aquatic weed and harmful algae growth starts taking over faster than the ecosystem can handle. Excessive weed growth reduces navigation by boats, limits activities such as water skiing, creates stagnant zones, and reduces natural oxygen transfer due to lack of wave action and circulation. Increases in algae can worsen water quality and aquatic habitats, and decrease the oxygen that fish and other aquatic life need to survive. Large algal blooms can significantly reduce oxygen in the water, leading to increases in bacteria, odors and fish kills. Some blue green algae blooms produce elevated toxins and bacterial growth that in turn can make pets, kids and even adults very sick if they come into contact with polluted water or eat tainted shellfish or fish.
As these plants die either through herbicide applications or season-ending die-off, they drop to the bottom of the lake where they decay and add to the organic sediment or muck layer on the bottom. Muck accumulates year after year, increasing available nutrients, reducing the depth of water which increases sunlight penetration, and the cycle continues until the lake favors plant life more than aquatic life
Excessive weeds and algae, lack of dissolved oxygen, odors, fish kills, increased coliform bacteria and Naegleria fowleri are all symptoms of the problem. The cause of these problems is nutrient overloading or eutrophication. The USGS provides this definition of eutrophication “The process by which a body of water acquires a high concentration of nutrients, especially phosphates and nitrates. These typically promote excessive growth of algae. As the algae die and decompose, high levels of organic matter and the decomposing organisms deplete the water of available oxygen, causing the death of other organisms, such as fish. Eutrophication is a natural, slow-aging process for a water body, but human activity greatly speeds up the process. – Art, 1993”
The keystones of our lake restoration solution are our inversion systems which produce laminar non-turbulent flow in the water and increase oxygen levels throughout the entire water column. Numerous studies have shown that high stable oxygen levels reduce nutrients and minerals in the water column and can keep phosphorus locked into the organic sediments. Here is a simple comparison of a eutrophic lake to a lake with our inversion system operating in it.
Our inversion systems are designed using variously sized compressors (based on the application and size – see Custom Design and Build), along with self-sinking airline and micro-porous ceramic diffusers that supply a steady stream of microbubbles from the bottom to the surface of the water. This non-turbulent flow is capable of moving and circulating large quantities of water and quickly oxygenates a lake.
Back to Top