Muck & Sediment

Invasive mucky sediment paves the way for invasive weeds

Muck & Sediment

Muck & Sediment in lake

The Problem

Over time foul dark mucky organic sediments accumulate on the lake bottom. The organics made up of dead and decaying leaves, aquatic weeds, algae etc that sink to the bottom of the lake where they decompose.

Why is this a problem?

The obvious answer is that it is “yucky”. But there is a lot more to it than that.

Those black mucky sediments that are produced by the decomposition of organic material form a nutrient stockpile in the sediments.

That has several consequences

  1. Oxygen is depleted as these organics decompose. This deoxygenation creates an anaerobic condition in the water and sediment at the bottom of the lake.
  2. That means that fish can’t breathe down there so they can’t access food and nutrients in deeper water. So the environment in which they can thrive and survive is restricted. The organisms lower down the food chain that the fish feed on are similarly affected. So the whole food chain becomes starved and constrained. Fish don’t like to spawn in muck so their proliferation is even further restricted. This reduction in the productivity of the food chain reduces clearing of nutrients from the lake so the nutrient stockpile in the sediments continues to accumulate.
  3. In deoxygenated water nutrients more easily dissolve into the water to nourish the growth of weeds, algae and eventually cyanobacteria that form toxic HABs.
  4. The weeds and algae die off in winter, fall to the bottom and decompose to form organic nutrient-rich muck again. So annual nutrient recycling fuels this annual boom in weeds and algae.
  5. New organics are added from agricultural runoff, wastewater and septic discharges, and leaves every fall so the depth of nutrient rich organics increases year after year.

So decomposed sediment organics produce nutrients that nourish the growth of weeds and algae that then die off, fall to the bottom and decompose to form nutrients again. This nutrient recycling, when added to the annual additional organic loading due to leaves, agricultural and septic runoffs causes the depth of the nutrient stockpile in the sediments to increase every year. (Need a graphic)

How To Make It Worse

Once we understand that the real problem is the recycling of nutrients; decomposed sediment organics produce weeds and algae that then die off, fall to the bottom and decompose to form nutrients again, it becomes obvious that the best way to make things worse is to promote nutrient recycling.

There are a number of ways to do this:

» Herbicides

Herbicides quickly kill weeds so that the dead weeds fall to the bottom to decompose and perpetuate the nutrient recycling.

» Algaecides

Algaecides quickly kill algae so that the dead algae fall to the bottom to decompose and perpetuate the nutrient recycling.

» Chemical Treatments

Such as alum that clear the water and precipitate phosphorus down into the sediment to perpetuate  nutrient recycling.

» Conventional Aeration

Conventional Aeration raises dissolved oxygen levels in the upper layers of the water column, and because phosphorus precipitates out of the water at higher dissolved oxygen levels acts in much the same way as chemical precipitants by recycling phosphorus back into the sediment.

The difference is that chemical precipitation tends to retain phosphorus in the sediment a little longer, whereas in the absence of oxygen in anaerobic sediment phosphorus rapidly becomes dissolved in the water again.

How To Make It Better

Muck & Sediment in lake’s remediation program does the following:

  1. Oxygenates the water column and sediment with our RADOR aeration technology so that oxygen breathing organisms can proliferate and take up nutrients into the food chain.
  2. Promote the natural digestion of the organics in the sediments using our proprietary enzyme formulations to make them bioavailable for uptake into the food chain
  3. Deplete the nutrient stockpile in the sediment by clearing it through the Food Chain utilizing our proprietary nutrients to stimulate the foundation layers of the food chain such as zooplankton.

In this way, muck and sediment can be digested and eliminated and the water body can be restored to its original depth and health.

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