A Gre­­­­­en Monster in your Water Feature?

By Patrick Simmsgeiger, Founder of DWI


Is there a green nasty monster lurking in what used to be your lovely water feature?  That monster in your water feature need not be such a pain.  Any Golf Course Superintendent can tell you just how quickly the green monster can grow and become your biggest nightmare.  Specialized maintenance needed to prevent this monster seems may not seem necessary until you are overwhelmed with an unsightly green mess or the terrible stench that can be a result of neglect or poorly managed water health.  Let’s face it; you don’t want your clients avoiding a feature attraction because it has become a lurking nasty monster.

Who is this lurking green smelly monster?  Typically it is algae and aquatic weeds.  Something as simple as your grass cutting methods may have innocently created that monster in your pond or water feature.  All your efforts to keep your greenery and turf beautiful have a ripple effect inside your water feature.  Those chemicals and fertilizers are feeding those green monsters algae and aquatic growth.  Tree trimmings and leaves may seem to be an unsightly annoyance to be easily skimmed off the top of your water feature, however once there – they have already given that monster a wonderful snack.

How can you eliminate this monster in your pond or water feature?  This is where it can seem complicated.  An aquatic problem can’t be fixed by making one change or by using some instant fix-all solution.  Over-watering, runoff, grass clippings and positioning of trees will simply guarantee the monster will rear its ugly head once again without ongoing proper care for prevention.  Using the wrong chemicals can either kill everything which is rarely a good idea, or using the wrong product can be a waste of time and money.  That is when you need an aquatic expert to help you restore balance and maintain your feature attraction, protecting your investment and preventing that monster from haunting your establishment again.

Time to get Technical

Biological contamination of all types of water features is cyclical, meaning it is a recurring event or simply put—will happen again without proper care.  Biological contamination is the natural reaction to all those grass clippings, leaves, fertilizers and runoff which breathes life into algae and aquatic weeds becoming that smelly green monster.

Since this is a force that must be dealt with on different levels, our main focus is to create and then maintain a balance.  It can be tempting to depend upon a single solution but be aware that this tactic can simply cause another problem, and then another.

A customized approach is best to use; one that focuses on prevention and slows down the occurrence of biological contamination and the many other issues that may be present.  Stagnant water creates health issues as it is a breeding ground for mosquitoes that in turn breeds concern about the West Nile Virus.  By manipulating the pH (acidity and alkalinity) we make sure additives block contaminants and our next line of defense is in circulation and filtration.  Design also plays a huge part in overall success.  A water feature’s depth, shape and surrounding plant life has an important impact on how easily that green monster can rear its ugly head and how we fight it.

Use the Correct Weapon for the Problem

Circulation and Filtration are often the weak point in a solution.  Keeping the filter systems clean and in working order is important.  A big issue with filtration, circulation and aerators is the fact that ideally they should be on all the time but because of energy conservation that often does not occur.  We typically suggest they run at least twelve hours each day.  Even an excellent aerator properly placed has its limitations.  Almost every problem is affected by proper circulation, filtration and aeration.

Here are a few common issues that all water features typically face:

Clarity:

This problem can be caused by many things.  Silt-small particles floating in the water, some forms of algae, dead organic matter, clay mud or dirt to name a few.

Solution:

Flocculent/Clarifiers latch onto floating or suspended contaminants like magnets, then group them together making them collectively heavier and then they fall to the bottom where aerators,  filters and circulation step into action.  Good bacteria can be purchased that will enhance water quality, clarity and digest some of the bottom sludge.

Algae:

Nutrients and conditions which are always present create the world which algae blossoms within any water feature.  They are unavoidable but they can be controlled. It is important to note that often there is life which we want to encourage such as fish and some plant life.  Proper concern about products which will simply kill everything—typically undesirable—should be avoided in favor of a safer product for the environment.

Solution: 

Again circulation, filtration and aeration are concerns, and then application of the proper product to control/eradicate algae is the next step.  Enzymes can also be used to boost algae control but only after making sure that there is no compatibility issues.

Foam:

Unsightly foam is usually caused by soaps and dead organic matter.

Solution:

Defoamers are very effective and application depends upon the amount of foam. Chlorine reduces the effectiveness of defoamers.

Color:

Yes, everyone wants that fabulous water feature to be beautiful—and proper dyes can help create that image.

Solution:

Dyes act like sun block, which decrease the amount of light which would helps algae to grow. Used properly these dyes are not a threat to fish, waterfowl, other living organisms or humans.  While dyes are not necessary, they can assist you in making your water feature a beautiful attraction.

Call a Professional

An aquatic professional’s specialty is to maintain the delicate balance between natural aquatic organisms and your valuable water features.  All bodies of water, ponds or other water features, should be an attraction enjoyed by your clientele.  nature demands the daily skill of a knowledgeable professional to maintain lakes, ponds, and streams by attempting to preserve and maintain that delicate balance.   Let us assist you in accomplishing that goal.  Don’t wait for that green smelly monster to arrive, but if you do–Call a professional!

Posted on April 16, 2014 and filed under Algae Control, Water Feature.

Algae: Love it or Leave it

By Patrick Simmsgeiger, Founderof DWI


They have existed for nearly four billion years. Vulnerable structures, both man-made and natural have succumbed to their effects. With names such as mustard, red, moss, fungi, green and mold, they take no prisoners. With noxious resolve they stain and rot any wood and clog any screen, filter or pipeline in their path. Welcome to the wonderful world of algae, these simple, microscopic plants. Most noticeable in water, they are also present in the air and on land, and require the same nurturing as any plants do for chlorophyll production.

When not ravaging lakes, streams and the like, their primary function is to maintain the natural balance of life cycles. As humans complicate the cycle by constructing recreational or aesthetic water barriers, these single-celled organisms consider it an open invitation to linger and multiply.

With well over 30,000 varieties, algae have been discovered thriving in the most severe environments. They are comfortable in mountain glaciers, hot springs, and even in waters whose high salinity content obstructs other plant life from prospering. Algae tends to concentrate in shallowest areas and outward into deeper water, even aspiring to attach themselves to a well-ventilated damp well.

Algae seem to have a dual pupose. Although they are engaged in the responsibility of giving life they create quite a stink in the process. But long after humanity vanishes, algae will continue to plunder, as they have since the beginning of time.

Algae is everywhere. Without it, our waters would not sustain life, nor would we benefit from its countless qualities and beauty. But what happens when an ecosystem is stuck with imbalance? We’ve all seen it. Algae can turn your pristine reflection pond into a stagnant bowl of pea soup, or plug your irrigation lake and pumping equipment with slimy strands. Even minor growth around your shoreline can cause loss of water flow and trap debris. So, do you love it or leave it?

The answer is don’t love it and don’t leave it. Rather appreciate it and control it, by educating yourself and following these guidelines:

1. Consult with an experienced aquatic pest control advisor.

2. Establish a seasonal history. It’s likely that your body of water has repeated algae growth season after season.

3. Learn to anticipate its growth. This is where the history comes in handy. Early treatment will save you time and money.

4. Practice tried and true methods for algae control. Avoid the biological potions that are being solicited. It is unlikely that they will provide any significant improvement.

You may be telling your self, “Yes, I’ve experienced some or perhaps all of the problems listed above but no one is complaining and its not hurting anything, Right?” Wrong! Every body of water, both man-made and natural, has a life span. Eventually all that algae you’re allowing to proliferate and then die off at the season’s end are forming sludge. Left untreated, a few feet of water can easily sustain growth of several tons of algae a season. Sooner than later, your water volume will decrease substantially, necessitating dredging long before its time.

Algae Control

How do you treat an ugly algae problem? For best results, a highly refined copper chelate is the best, try our F-30 Algae Control. It’s environmentally friendly and is cost effective. Copper has been given a bad rap lately, and for good reason. For years, application of copper sulfate have been used to control algae but copper sulfate in a non-chelated form will produce copper carbonates and other toxic precipitates that will accumulate on the pond or lake bottom, causing disposal nightmares and stifling aquatic life.

Don’t be afraid to be aggressive when tackling your problem. Follow all the manufacturer’s directions for application, and if you are unsure of dosage rates, or would like some application advice pick up the phone and call the manufacturers technical support. They will be happy to give you a few tips.

Posted on April 16, 2014 and filed under Algae Control.

Balancing with Blue with the Greens

By Patrick Simmsgeiger, Founder of DWI


Golf course superintendents typically excel at grounds management and upkeep, and rightly so. The game is played on the greens. Other important aesthetics of the grounds and strategic features of the game, however -”the blues”- present greater upkeep challenges. These are the ponds, lakes, fountain, and myriad water features that beautify every golf course. Preventing and treating common water problems can help keep your entire course running smoothly. Take steps to prevent water feature problems with ongoing maintenance is key- better to prevent problems from occurring. Knowing the steps to take to address problems when maintenance has been neglected or when problems occur also is critical. Prompt action can help nip problems in the bud before they become a drain on a course’s resources.

Preventative maintenance to keep water features functioning properly includes:

  • Cleaning filters and filter media.
  • Keeping filters functioning. This requires activating the pump- minimally 12 hours a day, ideally 24 hours a day. This helps the filter function and prevents water from stagnating.
  • Using a properly placed aerator to keep water circulating and oxygenated.

Despite a course superintendent’s best maintenance efforts, activities such as excess watering of fertilized turf, depositing grass clippings into bodies of water, and using reclaimed water can affect the integrity of water features. These activities and others can contribute to unpleasant odors emanating from water features, unsightly appearance, algae growth, and surface to foam.

When these occur, there’s no quick fix. Rather, balance must be restored between the green and the blue. The elements that comprise balance include sufficient water circulation and aeration, and adequate nutrient levels, and solid, organic, and chemical content.

When water is out of balance, common problems and their solutions are as follows:

Water clarity- This occurs due to particles in the water. If aeration and circulation are functioning properly, apply a clarifier. Life a magnet, this product will latch onto contaminant particles and deposit them at the bottom of the water feature.

Water color- Some dyes are safer for water, water fowl, and other living organisms. An added benefit of some dyes is that they block sun from reaching algae and aquatic plants, impeding their growth.

Algae growth- this occurs because ubiquitous nutrients foster algae development. Some products are overzealous and destroy more than is necessary, harming the environment and killing fish. Other safer products use a form of copper sulfate to manage algae without causing undue harm. Once algae is under control, apply a biological product preventively to keep excess sludge at bay. As always, ensure the basics- optimum aeration and filtration. Non-control of these basics can lead to many common problems.

Surface foam- This is caused by dead organic material and soaps. Apply a defoamer product. Chlorine reduces the effectiveness of defoamers, so apply accordingly.

Some course superintendents may be knowledgeable enough about blue matters- water maintenance- to rectify these are more serious problems themselves. Others use the services of skilled water management professionals, both for problems and ongoing maintenance.

In today’s challenging economic environment, it is more important than ever to keep courses functioning meticulously, to keep water flowing smoothly and to prevent your course from going into the rough.

Posted on April 16, 2014 and filed under Algae Control.

Cure the Summertime Greens

By Patrick Simmsgeiger, Founder of DWI


Summer’s upon us, bringing with it a powerful “one-two” punch of soaring temperatures and skyrocketing energy rates. Many fall prey to what seems like an obvious cost-saving solution: turning off waterfall pumps, compressors, and other energy-guzzling water feature systems during peak energy consumption hours.

But this quick-and-dirty fix puts the emphasis on “dirty”. Those peak hours can mean disaster for your water unless proper measures are taken. Ample sunshine, warmer water, and decreased oxygen levels are perfect conditions for rapid algae growth. Algae clouding the surface blocks sunlight, which throws the whole ecosystem out of balance. Beneficial plants and bacteria die out, while aquatic weeds and harmful organisms thrive. In no time at all, a lake or pond can go from clean and clear to green and gross.

Re-establishing that balance takes a mix of methods, but maintaining proper oxygenation levels is a good place to start. We call this aeration. As long as there’s enough oxygen in the water for the bacteria that help keep algae in check, further water treatment is that much easier. Between waterfalls, floating fountains and compressors, you have plenty of options for your aeration needs. For instance, floating fountains look great, but aren’t nearly as efficient as compressors. The best way to find the solution for your unique situations is through testing by a licensed professional.

That’s just what they did at a luxury housing development in Rancho Mirage. The club’s two lakes, measuring 25 acres in all, had relied on a series of unreliable, inefficient compressors for over 20 years that just weren’t doing the trick. Those compressors ate up fully one-third of the development’s considerable energy bill and were just too expensive to keep running all day. Plus, they constantly broke down, requiring expensive refurbishments at around $1,200 a pop. A new unit purchased for $2,300 in 2007 already needed replacing- out of warranty- in 2008. Adding insult to injury: Algae ran rampant over the lakes. Not a pleasant sight for the residents of the club’s 238 lake front homes.

Eventually, Lake Committee Chairman had had enough. He called in a licensed aquatic specialist to examine the club’s water care needs and prescribe a course of treatment. Out came the dozen old 100-volt compressors, and in went five new, efficient, high-quality 230-volt compressors. Even with the new equipment working ’round the clock, the club’s savings were substantial. The old system averaged $1.25 an hour per compressor. With the new compressors, that’s been cut to just $.20 for the entire system- inexpensive enough to keep them working ’round the clock. The license aquatic company installed the new compressors in July 2008; by the end of the year, they had paid for themselves. More importantly, the water quality improved dramatically within weeks.

“It looks better, it’s healthier, the fish are healthier,” says Chairman. “It’s what we should’ve done a long time ago.” He isn’t the only one with that opinion. According to testing by the Coachella Valley Water District, the club’s lakes are some of the cleanest and healthiest in the area. Clearly, the right mix of equipment, treatment, and maintenance under the guidance of a licensed professional can make all the difference in the world when it comes to your water.

Take it from the chairman: “We used to have a real bad algae problem. Now we don’t.”

Posted on April 16, 2014 and filed under Algae Control.

Does Green Mean Clean?

By Patrick Simmsgeiger, Founder of DWI


Lakes or ponds that exist within nature are maintained within their own ecosystem; however, most lakes that compliment condominium, apartment communities or golf courses are man-made and as a result require man to tend the maintenance.

There are many options for lake and pond maintenance; but, typically, they are divided in two categories, or approaches: Natural (or “green”) vs. Chemical. The natural Approach uses no man-made solutions and relies entirely on products from nature to maintain a lake or pond while the Chemical Approach uses Specialty Water Treatment Products to aid in maintenance.

So which is better? The truth is: neither! While both have their benefits, each lake or pond situation should be uniquely investigated to provide the best possible solution. Because the majority of lake or pond systems themselves are not natural, a balanced approach is often most favorable. A balanced approach means you can use either approach or even combine methods of maintenance, Natural with Chemical.

Sometimes when a water system is too large it’s not cost-effective, nor timely, to use an entirely Natural Approach. Further, overcompensating natural elements to restore an ecosystem, in a man-made lake, could actually provide negative results. In some situations, too much “green” can be a bad thing. Consider the following example:

 Water lilies can be introduced to a pond in order to increase visual appeal while providing natural oxygen; but, if the water lilies are left to take an entirely natural course of growth, they are likely to expand causing an overgrowth. The leaves shed and sink, creating a biomass at the bottom of your pond. A large biomass removes oxygen from the water and can become detrimental to your pond. In this and similar situations, leaving the ecosystem to take its course by nature, a strictly Natural Approach or too much “green” could actually be detrimental to your water feature.

Overgrowth of aquatic plants depletes oxygen from your pond or lake. When unwanted aquatic plants, algae, or weeds overgrow it becomes a situation that needs repair. Overgrowth in large water features is an instance in which a balanced approach is often the best method- most economical, time-effective, and practical- to yield successful results.

Combining approaches could be as simple has initiating a Natural Approach of manual harvesting (having a team of laborers come in and manually remove overgrowth) then introducing Specialty Water Treatment Products to eliminate the remaining unwanted material to restore the health of your water system.

When researching contractors to service your lakes or ponds, make sure they are aware of all approaches and they are licensed to provide you with all possible options or solutions for your lake or pond. Often the Natural Approach is suggested because alternative options cannot be provided without license.

“Green” does mean clean. Ask your contractor if they have a Qualified Applicator License (QAL). QAL provides permit from the contractor’s state and county to use chemically produced Specialty Water Treatment Products. Specialty Water Treatment Products are biodegradable and environmentally safe.

Posted on April 16, 2014 and filed under Algae Control.

Treatments for the Control of Algae and Aquatic Weeds & Plants

By Patrick Simmsgeiger, Founder of DWI


In September of 2000 a call came from a local, Southern Orange County, CA water district regarding a ten-year-old, 450 surface acre lake that had seen a growth spurt in the water hyacinth in a lake called Dove Canyon. Water hyacinth is a beautiful, but rapid growing and troublesome aquatic plant. The aquatic plant has a pleasing appearance and adds to the aesthetics of a lake, stream, or pond because of the deep green color and appealing purple blooms. But, it is known to double in population in under twelve days. In addition to the obvious problems of preventing boat access, swimming and fishing, an overgrowth of water hyacinth doesn’t allow sunlight to penetrate the lakes surface to allow the growth of beneficial plants, it cuts off oxygen, which oftentimes will result in a fish kill, and adversely affects the lake’s aesthetics, fish habitats, biological balance, and odor.

The district requested consultation from the owner, who holds a qualified applicator’s license and is a certified lake manager through NALMS (North American Lake Mangement Society), of Diversified Waterscapes, Inc., a licensed pest control business, regarding treatments for, and maintenance of, the lake.

After first inspecting the lake, he then met with the County representative to discuss products, methods, and frequency of application to use to eliminate the problematic water hyacinth.

The lake had its challenges. There were huge areas of open water, small fingers, and areas so narrow a boat would never be able to navigate. They could use their boat and outboard motor to treat the larger portions of lake and the boat could still be used in the smaller sections but without the outboard. There were areas where a boat could not go at all, which meant a man would need to walk in with a backpack sprayer or treat from the top of the hillside with a high power hose using a large tank attached to the company truck or golf cart.

After careful evaluation, a solution was devised to treat the aquatic plant problem and work began in mid-December. Using one man in a small boat equipped with a custom made sprayer an algaecide was applied, formula F-30 Algae Control, along with a herbicide, Reward, to the water hyacinth.

There were no other options considered, as the company already knew the safest, most effective and rapid method to control this plant was to spray a tank mix of algaecide and and herbicide on the nuissance plant.

The herbicide and algaecide were the best and safest choices. They have years of proven effectiveness and had been repeatedly used whenever the company’s assistance was requested to control the growth of a problem plant. this combination was used because it is safe, known to improve the water quality and there are no adverse affects on aquatic life. At that time the hyacinth was not “out of control” but merely a nuisance due to the excessive growth. The treatment method and products used were successful but the customer declined the necessary follow-up additional as-needed treatment and twice monthly monitoring.

In May 2001 the company was again called and an estimate was requested for another spray treatment of the water hyacinth. Because five months had passed with no monitoring or maintenance treatments, it was necessary to go back to the lake to see if there were any changes in plant life or water conditions. The water hyacinth had returned to its former state. There were various portions of the lake that had experienced a re-growth of the nuisance plant. A course of spray treatments was suggested and accepted. With each aquatic environment this question of how often to treat is one that is always answered with a request to wait and see. EACH lake, pond, or stream is DIFFERENT. Once lake can experience a rapid growth of a weed or form of algae while another only a few feet away has beautiful clarity, no algae, or weeds and rarely requires attention. As with all things in nature, given the slightest chance, plants will grow again. Look at the weeds, or flowers, or trees, growing in the smallest of cracks in cement. Like earth’s plants, aquatlic plants will take whatever opportunity offered to grow again. You never want to introduce the quantity of water treatment products necessary to kill everything as the balance of the eco-system will be destroyed and the lake will have been killed.

After treating the water hyacinth was completed, the company called the water district two to three times, made site visits, and performed overhead observations. During this two year period the water district trained and certified some of their employees to treat and maintain control of the water hyacinth. It was unknown (they could not recall) what quantities, brands, or types of products they used during this period of time. The lake was surrounded by hillsides that were not dotted with million dollar homes where the main selling feature was the view. This view not only caputured the beauty of the surrounding hillsides and mountain areas, but also included, directly below, the lake. Being a lake and reservoir, the design and purpose is to catch rain and hillside runoff. However, the lake was now a catchall for residential runoff bringing in a load of nutrients from debris, tree droppings, car oils, soaps, etc. This runoff “feeds” the plants, unbalances the eco-systems and wreaks havoc with the clarity, appearance, odor, and plant growth in the lake, which had now become a source of numerous compaints.

In July 2003, the company received a call from the water district this time reqeusting a harvester (seperate contractor) for the water hyacinth. This call was what the company termed a “warning flag”. Requesting a harvester usually means there is a large body of water with a massive problem with weeds, algae, and/ or plants.

When diversified Waterscapes arrived, they discovered the water hyacinth had returned with a vengeance covering approximately 75% of a twenty-one surface acre portion of Dove Canyon Lake. The water hyacinth was growing at a rate of one foot per day and was killing the lake. A strong “attack” using the same approach to treatment was scheduled after the harvestor.

The goal of the treatment was to totally eradicate the water hyacinth, not to gain and maintain control of the plant’s growth. Most caretakers of aquatic environments keep certain areas of the water covered with the hyacinth because it is so attractive. In this case, the water district requested all of the invasive plant be removed.

The reason for a follow-up treatment after harvesting is once a harvestor is used, spores from the plants, algae, and weeds are released and spread. If these spores are hit with a treatment of herbicide and algaecide mix the re-growth will be minimal and slow.

Because the weather was extremely hot and the sun was beating down the water’s surface, (contributing factors to rapid growth) the water hyacinth was coming back faster than they could harvest. The district requested the company perform spray treatments while the harvesting was taking place. Some portions of the lake were still densely covered with hyacinth, which made it a challenge to treat.

The herbicide and algaecide spray treatment was started and is ordinarily performed in one day, followed by a wait period. On initial treatment it is important to allow time (three to seven days) for the products used in the treatment to “settle” and do their jobs. Then, the developing results are monitored. This enables the applicator to factor in the speed at which the products worked. how effective the “kill” was and decide if they need to make adjustments in their approach to the subsequent treatment. In this case, due to the incredibly rapid re-growth of hyacinth that the lake was experiencing, another crew was sent out the very next day and was followed by another treatment a few days later.

The combined treatments were so successful the district called the company a bit later for another different, but larger area, of the lake that was experiencing problems with water hyacinth, algae, and duckweed. The spray treatments were performed using the same herbicide and algaecide this time adding a surfactant, Activator 90, the the mix, (as more than just the water hyacinth was involved). This combination was quite successful.

After the company’s treatment program for total eradication of the water hyacinth, the problematic hyacinth has not returned. The problem was eradicated and the water district was happy. If any re-growth is observed, the water district personnel immediately remove the hyacinth. In this case the treatment avenue chosen was a long term solution as the district desired total eradication of the plant. However, one cannot consider this a “permanent” solution. To attain a “permanent” solution would involve the overuse of chemicals and the risk of killing the very body of water you are trying to save. This company does not ascribe to this ideology.

CONCLUSION

The odor and invasive plant was virtually eliminated. The lake was again aesthetically pleasing to the homeowners adn the complaints had stopped. The lake is alive and accessible.

This treatment process, from the very first treatment to the last had spanned a period of two and a half years. The cost of the one month treatments was close to $20,000.00, the harvesting took two and a half weeks at a cost nearing $45,000.00, all of this to eliminate growth of weeds, algae, and plants that had increased to the point of being out of control.

The lake maintenance company has been performing follow-up treatments of the same reservoir and lake to control the re-growth of the water hyacinth and manage the duckweed and algae. There have been regular treatments and the hyacinth has never come close to reaching the state it did in 2003 so everyone is happy.

The lesson learned? You can’t treat and walk away. You have to perform regular maintenance on a body of water. Maintenance means to keep in an existing state (as of repair, efficiency, or validity): preserve from failure or decline. And that’s what lake, stream, and pond maintenance is all about, restoring it to a more natural, appealing state and keeping it that way.

Posted on April 16, 2014 and filed under Algae Control.

Understanding Algae

By Patrick Simmsgeiger, Founder of DWI


They have existed for nearly 4 billion years. With names such as mustard, red, moss, fungi, green, and mold, many structures, both man-made and natural have succumbed to their wrath. These outlaws take no prisoners, clogging any screen, filter, or pipeline mobilized in their path. They derive special pleasure from staining and rotting wood, doing so with noxious resolve.

Welcome to the wonderful would of algae. Algae are nothing more than simple plants, only microscopic in proportion. Most noticeable in water, they are also present in the air and on earth, and require similar nurturing to plants for chlorophyll production.

When not ravaging lakes, streams, and the like, their primary function is to maintain the natural balance of life cycles. As humans interject discord into the cycle by constructing recreational or aesthetic water barriers, these single-celled organisms consider this an open invitation to linger and multiply.

With well over 30,000 varieties, algae have been discovered thriving in the severest of environments. They are quite comfortable in mountain glaciers, hot springs, and even in waters whose high salinity content obstructs other plant life from prospering. Algae tend to concentrate in the shallowest areas and outward into deeper water, always aspiring to attach themselves to a well ventilated damp well.

It is painfully obvious that algae have been afflicted with dual personalities. Although they are engaged in the thankless responsibility of giving life, they insist on creating quite a “stink” during the process. Long after humanity vanishes, however, algae will continue to plunder just as they have since the beginning of time.

Algae is everywhere. Without it our waters would not sustain life and mankind would not benefit from its countless qualities and boundless beauty. But what happens when our precious ecosystems are not in balance? We’ve all seen it. Algae can turn your pristine reflection pond into a stagnant bowl of pea soup or perhaps plug your irrigation lake and pumping equipment with its slimy strands. Even minor growth around your shoreline can cause loss of water flow and trap debris. So, do you Love it or Leave it?

The answer, Don’t Love it and Don’t Leave it. Appreciate it and Control it. How? Educate yourself and follow these simple guidelines:

  1. Consult with an experienced Aquatic PCA (Pest Control Advisor).
  2. Establish a seasonal history. It’s likely that your body of water has repeated algae growth season after season.
  3. Learn to anticipate its growth. This is where the history comes in handy. Early treatment will save you much time and money.
  4. Practice tried and true methods for Algae control. Avoid the biological potions that are being solicited. It is unlikely they will provide any significant improvement.

You may be telling yourself, yes I’ve experienced some of perhaps all of the problems listed about but no one is complaining and it’s not hurting anything. Right? Wrong!

Every body of water has a life span. Man made and natural. Eventually all that algae you’re allowing to proliferate and then die off at the season’s end are forming sludge. A lot of sludge. Left untreated, a couple acre-feet of water can easily sustain growth of several tons of algae a season. Sooner or later your water volume will decrease substantially necessitating dredging long before its time.

What is the best product for training algae? For best results, a highly refined copper chelate is still the most effective. It’s environmentally friendly and is cost effective. Copper has been given a bad rap lately and for good reason. For years applications of copper sulfate have been used to control algae and its done a good job. However, copper sulfate in a non-chelated form will produce copper carbonates and other toxic precipitates that will accumulate on the pond or lake bottom causing disposal nightmares and stifling aquatic life. So be sure the formula you’re using is chelated. Now, not all chelated copper algaecides are the same. Take your time to choose and be selective. Most algaecides on the market have weak chelating agents that will cause them to break down in high pH and high alkaline water. Look for an algaecide with a low pH and high active ingredient. With proper use, this will ensure safe for the environment applications and effective algae control.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to be aggressive when tackling your project. Follow all manufacturer directions for application and if you are unsure of dosage rates or would like some application advise, pick up the phone and call the manufacturers technical support. They will be happy to give you a few tips.

Posted on April 16, 2014 and filed under Algae Control.

Industrial Water Conditioning

By Patrick Simmsgeiger, Founder of DWI


What is Water Conditioning?

If water as it occurs in nature were “pure” water and nothing else, there would be no need for water analysis and water conditioning. Whatever the source, water always contains impurities in solution or suspension. It is the determination of these impurities that makes water analysis necessary and the control of these impurities that makes water conditioning essential.

Water, used directly in an industrial process, is classified as industrial water. The use of water in steam generating boilers (for example) is an obvious industrial use. Cooling water, either on a once-through basis or with cooling towers, is a prominent industrial use. Water is essential to large air conditioning systems.

What is industrial water conditioning? To many people, Industrial water conditioning is shrouded in an air of mystery. Much of this confusion is due to the lack of understanding of what industrial water conditioning is- and what it is supposed to accomplish.

Basically, industrial water conditioning embraces the broad field of “Fitting Water To The Job”. It’s purpose is twofold. One, it involves removing or minimizing the undesirable characteristics of water, such as removing hardness by softening to avoid scale. Two, it involves adding desirable properties to water, such as adding phosphate ion to give corrosion inhibitory properties.

External Treatment

This phase of industrial water conditioning has many names. Whatever it is called, it means doing something to water to make it more suitable for it’s intended application before it reaches the point of use.

External treatment usually requires the use of equipment, which may include hot or cold process lime-soda softeners, zeolite, and other ion exchange systems; de-aerators, filters, clarifiers, etc. Such equipment used for the purpose of reducing hardness and alkalinity, eliminating dissolved oxygen, and for the removal of suspended solids.

Regardless of the purity of the water provided by the use of such equipment, additional chemical treatments normally are required for complete protection against scale, corrosion and a host of other potential sources of trouble.

Internal Treatment

Like external treatment, this phase of industrial water conditioning is known by several names. In this case, it means doing something to water at the point of use to make it suitable for it’s intended application.

In boiler water systems, the objective of internal treatment is to make possible the control of scale formation and corrosive action. It may also be necessary to use internal chemical treatment to prevent return line corrosion due to dissolved gasses liberated in the boiler system.

Internal chemical treatment is used also in cooling water systems for the prevention of scale and corrosion, as well as conditions brought about by biological growths. Proper application of internal treatment results in improved heat transfer by eliminating these insulating deposits.

There are cases, too, where internal chemical treatment is used in the solution of specific water problems other than in boiler and cooling systems. Water conditioning is in many respects unlike any other field of engineering. It demands an unusual variety of talents including those of the chemical, mechanical, corrosion, and sanitary engineer, microbiologist, physical chemist, and bacteriologist. An Industrial Water Treatment Company provides these services.

Posted on April 16, 2014 and filed under Aquatic Maintenance, Water Feature.

And a River Runs Through It

By Patrick Simmsgeiger, Founder of DWI


It provides a beautiful finishing touch to any landscape design. A source of refreshment for the eyes, ears, and the soul, it may be a gift of nature or the creation of a landscape architect. No matter if it takes the form of a lake, stream, pond, or body of water, it takes a water maintenance professional to keep the water flowing on your aquatic environments.

Just as it takes someone to trim the trees, re-paint the walls and replace the burned out light bulbs, water features are an investment for any golf course that needs professional care in order to keep them looking as good as the day they were created.

To start with, a architect should consider maintenance in the initial design of a water feature as crucial to proper function. In reality, most water features have been completed and filled by the time a HOA takes control. Water maintenance professionals understand and will accept this challenge, but don’t be surprised though if they bring the design to your attention, as the design, or lack thereof, affects the functionality.

Now that your water feature has been designed and built, plan ahead by having a well though out budget and reserve allowance based on a reserve study that is updated yearly. This budget should allow for a regularly scheduled maintenance program and will include allowances for repairs and possible upgrades. Once you have your budget in place, the process of hiring of a water maintenance professional should include some planning as well.

Request bids from at least three different companies so that you have a selection to choose from and can make an informed decision. The water maintenance company should be required to validate the trust that you are about to place in them as a partner in maintaining your water feature. Proof of licenses, permits, general liability, workers compensation, vehicle verifiable, long-term references.

Once you find a company with these qualifications, listen to their suggestions. Trust your water maintenance professional to do the right thing. They are devoted to the beautification of aquatic environments and they have an investment in maintaining your trust. The better job that they do, the more likely you are to keep them on the job, so listen to their advice as you would any one on your management staff, from your accountant to your landscape company.

An aquatic company environment is a treasure to enjoy and cherish. The key to keeping the water flowing is a little planning, and the support of a water maintenance professional.

Posted on April 16, 2014 and filed under Aquatic Maintenance, Water Feature.

Avoiding Water Hazards on Your Golf Course

By Patrick Simmsgeiger, Founder of DWI


Maintaining a decorative waterscape is more complicated than one might think. Some streams, lakes, and ponds require only simple preventive measures, while others can be huge challenge. This is an area where aquatic professionals can be of great help to you.

Problem

Organisms in the water build up on waterscape surfaces. Phosphate, nitrogen, and organic materials provide nutrition, contributing to their growth. This problem will continue unless intervention occurs.

The problem is fueled by:

  1. Runoff fro overwatering adjacent fertilized turf. Nutrients in the fertilizer stimulate growth, thus nurturing the problem.
  2. Trees near the waterscape. Debris from tree leaves is another major source of nutrients.
  3. Dumping of grass clippings into the water. Grass clippings come from tips, where nitrogen and phosphorus nutrient level is highest.
  4. Use of reclaimed water. The nutrient load and high salt content of reclaimed water leads to color, odor, and algae problems.

Solutions

The best solution is to restore balance by ensuring adequate circulation, manageable, nutrient levels, proper aeration, and use of equipment and approved chemicals to control contaminants.

Restoring balance can be helped by:

  1. Adding products which slow down biological contamination.
  2. Running filters for at least twelve hours daily, to ensure proper filtration and oxygenation, and to prevent the water from becoming stagnant.
  3. Blocking sunlight, thus retarding growth of undesirable organisms.
  4. Proper design. For example, depth and shape affect circulation and filtration, debris from trees and fertilized turn has a major impact, and a properly placed aerator will keep water circulating and oxygen-recharged.

Other Issues

  1. Foam and soaps and dead organic material can be effectively treated with defoamers.
  2. Loss of clarity can arise from minute particles in the water. First ensure proper aeration and circulation, then use a flocculent/ clarifier. This attaches like magnets to the contaminants, with the resulting heavier particles falling to the bottom. Addition of certain bacteria will enhance the water quality and clarity, and help digest sludge to the bottom.
  3. Algae are problematic only if nutrients are present, which is common, Algae problems will not go away by themselves. First verify there is sufficient aeration and filtration, and then apply a product to control the algae. Some products “kill” everything quickly; others are gentler, and manage the algae while “killing” offensive plants. Enzymes can help boost these products. Once the desired algae level is reached, a biological method is recommended to maintain the sludge level.
  4. Dyes can block sunlight and enhance attractiveness of the water color. This will inhibit production of chlorophyll, the food needed for growth. Once all problems are addressed, a dye that is safe for living creatures can be added.

Summary

Decorative waterscape is designed to provide an aesthetically pleasing appearance to the golf course. Waterscape problems can, instead, create the opposite effect. There is no single, easy solution. However, help is available from knowledgeable professionals who manage lakes, ponds, and streams daily, while striving for the delicate balance between nature and desired visual effects. This is an aquatic professional’s area of expertise. Don’t hesitate to call if you are having problems with your waterscape!

Posted on April 16, 2014 and filed under Aquatic Maintenance, Water Feature.