Summertime is here, and that means hot temperatures and an increased risk for a harmful algae bloom in your HOA, golf course, or residential pond. Over the past few decades, they have been occurring on an increasingly regular basis.
This is due in part to climate change and the increased use of organic fertilizers that settle on the bottom of ponds and provide an abundant source of nutrients that allow these blooms to occur.
We’re going to look at HAB’s and the things you can do to help protect yourself, your loved ones, and the general public from this potentially lethal nuisance algae.
What is a Harmful Algae Bloom?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has stated that harmful algae blooms occur in all 50 states and consist of blue-green algae, cyanobacteria, and red tides. They contain toxins that are highly dangerous to humans, pets, and wildlife.
In people, the toxins that are contained within a HAB can cause a wide variety of health issues such as:
- Kidney and liver damage
- Skin rashes
- Nervous system issues
- Respiratory damage
They often occur during the warm summer months when there is ample sunlight to help fuel their outbreak. The rich organic muck that resides on the bottom of your pond or lake can also provide nutrients that can help sustain and grow the bloom.
Is it a HAB or Not?
It’s best to exercise caution around a suspected outbreak. If it has a yellow-greenish color to it or it smells offensive, it could very well be a HAB. The problem with HAB’s is that they are often hard to differentiate from a normal, non-lethal, nuisance algae outbreak.
If you see blooms that have clumped dots, parallel streaks, or have the appearance of a bucket of paint that’s been spilled in the water, there’s a good chance it could be a HAB. It can look like split pea soup or have a blue or white tint to the color.
The only real way to tell if the algae bloom contains deadly or harmful toxins is to take a sample and have a laboratory analyze it. Many local laboratories will come out and test your water to see if the outbreak is harmful.
How to Prevent a Harmful Algae Bloom?
Fortunately, there are a few things that you can do to help prevent an outbreak of harmful algae:
Perform a Water Quality Test – By far, this is the best way to learn if your pond or lake contains the elements necessary for a harmful algae outbreak. While there are plenty of DIY test kits on the market, the best way to know for sure is to send a water sample out to a professional laboratory.
The report will tell you the pH and nutrient levels along with other parameters such as dissolved oxygen and nitrate levels. You can use this information to create a chart that can help predict when conditions are just right for a HAB to occur.
- Add Aeration – Adding a mechanical aeration system can help stir up the water and discourage an outbreak. There are several products on the market, including submersed aerators and floating fountains.
- Prevent Organic Waste – Organic waste that enters into the water will eventually make its way down to the bottom, where it will sit there indefinitely. You can help slow this process by preventing leaves, grass, and other organic materials from getting swept into the water and causing a nutrient imbalance.
- Remove the Muck – The rich organic muck that resides at the bottom of your pond or lake can help decrease the quality of your water and increase the chances of an outbreak. It resides in an area where beneficial bacteria cannot break it down—so it just sits there and grows in size, year after year.
While you can add “beneficial bacteria treatments” to your water, it’s often a crapshoot as to whether or not they will work. The best way to remove the organic muck at the bottom of your pond or lake is to have it dredged.
A professional pond dredging company, such as American Underwater Services, can help restore the health of your lake or pond. As an added bonus, the muck removed from the bottom can be re-used as rich organic fertilizer for the grass, trees, or flowers.
Nation-Wide Pond Dredging Services
We hope this guide has provided you with some important information on how to prevent a harmful algae outbreak. At American Underwater Services, we’ve helped countless HOA, golf course, and residential homeowners dredge their ponds over the decades.
At American Underwater Services, we love ponds. They’re beautiful, relaxing, and add immense value to any area they’re located in. Contact us today to learn more about our pond, lake, and river dredging services.
Our professional and expert dredgers can travel anywhere in the country to help improve the health and remove one of the key components of a harmful algae outbreak.
Give us a call at (817) 377-8512 or fill out this form to learn more about the dredging and pond maintenance services that we offer.