Posts filed under Aquatic Maintenance

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.

Body Dysmorphia: Your Body of Water Could Become Your Slimiest Headache

By Patrick Simmsgeiger, CEO of DWI


It’s your body of water: a lake, a stream, or a pond; but, sometimes it can simply become your headache. Any abnormalities in the sight or smell, any malfunctions with the pumps or valves, or any shifts in the habitat are all situations that could cause your body of water to become your stressful headache. The fact is whether natural or manmade, every body of water requires attention and maintenance to preserve its beauty and functionality. All bodies of water experience problems; some are seen, some are unseen.

Man-made bodies of water – like the ones that exist in apartment communities, condominiums, and golf courses – are built, filled and left to the association or property management company to maintain. The water features are designed to compliment the property, serving as an aesthetic element. Unfortunately, the initial design of water feature is crucial to the proper function; but more often than not a lake maintenance company I snot consulted prior to the design and build. Still, lake maintenance professionals accept this and can move forward effectively, knowing how the design will affect the functionality.

Typically, the association or property management company personnel responsible for the maintenance of the onsite water features have a ton of other responsibilities. When you’re put in charge of maintaining a man-made body of water, building a relationship with your professional lake maintenance company will relieve your burden, making your task less strenuous.

Example: your water feature has strange, slimy globs of green matter covering the surface. There are huge mats of bizarre grass floating up from the bottom. The water is pea soup green. The pumps have ceased functioning. A large number of fish are either dead or dying. The waterfall has ceased functioning and the one remaining pump is making strange noises.

As the person in charge of the water feature, you may not know much about the details of maintenance or the source of these problems. But, if you’ve established a relationship with a lake maintenance company you can trust them to handle the situation quickly and efficiently – with your property’s interests in mind.

Lake maintenance professionals are trained to help solve and, more importantly, to prevent problems such as the one provided in the example above. Chances are if you’re the person in charge of your community’s water features, you also have a load of other responsibilities and slimy green globs over the surface of your body of water are likely the last item of business you want to think about. A proactive relationship with lake maintenance professionals will prevent you from ever reaching that slimy state of headache.

Working in conjunction with the person responsible for the management of a water feature and the board of directors, the lake maintenance professional not only sustains the water quality but also brings items that need repair to the attention of the board, usually via the management company. The management company submits the recommendation for repair to the board, which is approved, denied, or tabled. Many times the problem is while the board did hire a reputable lake maintenance company they did not budget for repair or replacements.

With manmade water features, the problem could be brewing months before the unsightly results surface. Too often lake maintenance companies are called in to “fix” an unsightly problem, and to do so immediately. Unfortunately, the true restoration or repair of a water feature involves time and patience. It took time to reach the unsightly state and it will take time for it to repair. In order to avoid those unsightly situations, the proactive solution is: budget and reserve planning coupled with a regularly scheduled maintenance program.

Problem prevention starts with budgeting. Your lake maintenance professional can assist your budgeting and planning. Lake maintenance companies are hired for their experience and knowledge – but they’re not just a “fix it” team. Of course, they are knowledgeable about restoration; but, also, they’re knowledgeable about prevention. As a member of a property management company, you can contact them during your planning stages to get a grasp on which prevention or regular maintenance schedules are needed throughout the year – this will help you prevent larger, unsightly and much more expensive problems from occurring.

This does mean there won’t be problems; instead, this means there will be solutions. Lake maintenance professionals can provide you solutions for recovery and prevention. They have the field service technicians who do the actual work. These technicians know the approaches to take in the treatment and restoration of the water and what to do in the event of a float valve, pump, filter, coupling, or fill valve malfunction. Their office personnel are trained to assist in times of trouble, offer solutions, and keep the lines of communication open.

The lake, pond, or stream maintenance provider who implements your maintenance program should be a professional. The company should be able to provide proof of experience through verifiable, long-term references; as well as proof of licenses, permits, general liability, workman’s compensation, and vehicle insurance. If you want to keep your body of water healthy and balanced, using a professional of good repute, regular maintenance of aeration, the filtration, the pumps, the aquatic plants, the water, and the pest control is vital.

Once you find a company with these qualifications, you are on your way to enjoying a headache-free approach to maintaining your body of water.

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

Chlorine’s Criminal Chemistry

By Patrick Simmsgeiger, Founder of DWI


Lakes are not Chlorine-friendly! Neither are natural ponds nor streams. A misconception when hiring a water feature maintenance professional is to assume that all are capable of performing the same maintenance procedures, that couldn’t be more contrary.

Pool maintenance professionals are entirely different from lake maintenance professionals. Though both require an understanding of how pumps work adn the way water flows through those systems, the pump hydraulics for pools versus lakes are entirely diverse. More importantly chemicals crucial to pool maintenance, such as chlorine, can be devastating to lakes, ponds, and streams- and can destroy their ecosystem. In fact, it is a federal crime to use certain products in lake, stream, or pond environment.

For the sake of explanation, it can be contrasted that while pool maintenance professionals require knowledge of chemistry, lake maintenance professionals require knowledge of biology. Pool maintenance professionals know which chemicals will provide a clean, sterile environment for a swimming pool but they do not understand the self-contained biology inherent within lakes, ponds, or streams. Lake maintenance professionals, unlike pool maintenance professionals, are required to work in conjunction with the biology of the water feature’s ecosystem. Consequentially, lake maintenance professionals understand the importance of sunlight and photosynthesis, the relevance of aquatic plant life and the ecology of the fish living in these environments.

Pool maintenance professionals have no need to understand this sort of biology. Pools do not sustain their own ecosystem. Fish do not reproduce or die in pools. Aquatic plant life does not grow or present situations of overgrowth. Run-off from drainage systems does not affect the biology of pools. Pools do not present the problem of unseen sludge or weed growing at the base of the water feature. Lakes, ponds, and streams however do present these circumstances and as a result require maintenance by a trained and licensed lake maintenance contractor.

When hiring a maintenance professional for lakes, ponds, or streams it is important to ask questions to ensure the contractor possess appropriate knowledge and the proper license. Law requires lake maintenance of professionals to undergo extensive training before they receive their license. They are further required to complete hours of extended education, stay updated on environmental regulations and maintain an awareness of the clean water act guidelines in order to sustain their license.

Pool maintenance professionals are experienced in maintaining features with clear water and smooth bottoms that can be easily vacuumed. Pools are small bodies of sterile water with roughly 15,000 gallons of water. Lake maintenance requires an entirely different approach. The chemistry of pool maintenance is not relevant when maintaining a lake, stream, or pond. Federal Environmental Protection Agency laws regulate which chemicals can be used in the maintenance of lake systems.

Property owners and hiring managers need to be aware of the differences between pool and lake maintenance to prevent the liabilities associated with mistakenly hiring a pool maintenance professional rather than a qualified and licensed lake maintenance professional.

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

Designing a Moment of Clarity

By Patrick Simmsgeiger, Founder of DWI


All it takes is a single glance to fully appreciate the value of any beautiful land or waterscape, a single moment of calm clarity provoked by the trees or water.

Lakes, ponds, or streams like the ones that exist in apartment communities, condominiums, and golf courses are built and maintained specifically for the appreciation of the community residents.

Properties are beautifully designed with running streams, cascading ponds, and captivating lakes. But, while it only takes a single and instant moment to enjoy the value of these beautifully constructed environments, it takes much longer than a simple moment to design, plan and build these water features. Even more time consuming is the maintenance necessary to sustain the placid beauty of any lake, pond, or stream once it has been constructed.

Unfortunately, regardless of the fact that the initial design of a water feature is crucial to its proper function and sustainability over time, more often than not a lake maintenance company is not consulted prior to the design of a water feature. Experienced lake maintenance professionals can accept this hindrance and move forward effectively maintaining the water features once built; still, simple considerations during the design stages can effectively limit problematic situations saving both maintenance time and expenditure in the many years following construction.

Being that the design of a water feature is crucial to its proper function, maintenance issues should be considered during the initial design stages to prevent problematic situations from arising post-construction. Planning ahead will limit the water features’ time and budget consuming situations and allow the feature to maintain its tranquil appeal all year long, year after year. A few key factors that should be considered when initially designing a water feature are: surrounding landscape, proper equipment, and dimensions of the feature itself.

It is reckless to ignore these factors during the initial design stage (prior to construction), as they will have a huge affect on the overall functionality of any lake, pond, or stream. The following sections will identify and elaborate on these factors that, if considered generous amount of time and money in the long run.

Snub the Shrubs!

It’s apparent that a water feature- be it a lake, pond, or stream- adds a beautiful finishing touch to any landscape design. Plants and water are purposefully placed in close proximity to provide soothing experiences for eyes, ears, and souls the admirers. The combination of land plants and water features enhance the overall beauty and setting, providing a peaceful environment.

Ironically, the most commonly overlooked factor when designing a water feature is landscaping- and, how the surrounding plant life will affect the functionality of the water feature.

The surrounding landscape should be considered when designing a waterscape. It is the simplest of considerations and one that will very easily prevent expensive problematic circumstances from unfolding in the years that follow construction.

Land plants at the edge of the water are the greatest source of potential problems for any water feature. On paper it seems like a great idea to design a water feature with plants around the water features’ edge; however, land plants are often placed too close to the water and can actually destroy the aquatic environment. Material from land plants falling in to the water adds an immense addition of nutrients and nitrogen to the biology of the water feature creating potential for unsightly problems.

The biggest landscape problem for lake maintenance is deciduous trees and shrubs hanging over the water. Common plants that are planted right at the waters edge provide a problematic dynamic are: Bougainvillea, Weeping Willows, Pepper Trees, Magnolias, and Jacarandas. These plants are constantly reproducing and shedding in to the water features. They encourage major problems because they drop so much material in to the water.

It is certainly true that land plants provide a beautiful scene when placed near the edge of the water but they should be planted near (not directly on) the edge. A simple solution is to set plants back just slightly. When designing and building the waterscape, the plants should be pushed back so they don’t hang over the water; design precaution should be taken to ensure that land plants could be pruned back if over time they sway in the direction of the water.

Eliminating the potential for abundant material waste from land plants falling in to the water is the most effective way to eliminate future aquatic troubles. Designing the water feature with plants and shrubs set back from the edge is by far the most simple solution to some of the most plaguing issue in water feature maintenance. Ideally, the dynamic between land and waterscape should be considered at the design phase- before the water feature is built!

There is no reason to ignore this factor during the design stages, it cost no additional funds to simply set plants back from the water. Further, it’s guaranteed to save time, money, and maintenance stress in the years post construction.

Equip the Ecosystem!

Because water features develop their own ecosystems, the maintenance of waterscapes requires some general knowledge of biology to understand the underlying issues behind lake, pond, or stream maintenance.

Lakes, ponds, and streams are landscape-imbedded water features that develop their own ecosystem and become a united piece of the landscaping. There is much more to maintaining these water features than just clearing the leaves- the equipment needs to function alongside the features’ own ecosystem to seamlessly maintain its aesthetic appeal.

A second factor to be considered when designing any body of water is the quality and placement of technical equipment. Quality should never be compromised during the initial design! Skimmers, strainer baskets plumbing, pumps, aerators, and filtration systems need to be up to par to prevent the need for constant repairs and maintenance down the road.

Material debris from land plants in the water (as discussed in the previous section) creates an even heightened dilemma when quality of filtration equipment is compromised. Any issues related to excess trees, shrubs, leaves, adding material, and nutrients to the water feature will provide a more devastating effect if the proper equipment is not fit to handle the situation.

At the design phase of a project, it may seem that compromising quality will save money but for the sake of longevity and sustainability of the water feature over time, quality should never be compromised. In the long run, you will end up paying all that you saved and likely much more.

In addition to ensuring quality equipment is installed, it is more important to ensure that these quality systems are installed with the features’ size, biology, and surrounding environment in mind. Although the water features themselves are man-made, they will be functioning within the surrounding natural environment. Proper positioning relative to the surrounding environmental conditions is an important consideration when designing a water feature.

A skimmer/ strainer, for example, is designed to collect the debris and keep the water clean but if it is placed in the incorrect position it will not properly serve its purpose. Positioning skimmer on the correct side of the water feature, where it is on the receiving end of the wind, will allow the equipment to do its job capturing the debris and keeping it off the face of the water. This will prevent a visually displeasing mess on the surface; more importantly, it will also prevent that messy load of plant material from sinking to the bottom where it can decompose and cause more complex issues.

Designing lakes, ponds, and streams with quality technical equipment that works alongside the biology of the feature and its surrounding environment is helpful in the long-term sustainability and maintenance of the feature.

Design with Depth!

A third key factor to be considered is the actual dimensional construction of the water feature- and how photosynthesis will affect those dimensions. A lot goes on under the surface of a water feature. When initially designing a water feature it is important to understand what occurs under the water surface and to provide room for those happenings to occur.

For example, a pond’s “cycle of life” beings with plants. Through photosynthesis plants (commonly algae) convert elements (such as nitrogen and phosphorous) in to organic material- or simply, “food”. All life in a pond is completely dependent upon the photosynthetic process for “food”, and therefore life.

Photosynthesis is the basic concept to be considered when performing maintenance on lakes, ponds, or streams. Green plants and algae use photosynthesis to convert nutrients in to usable materials so they may grow, flower, and reproduce. Energy from sunlight drives this process of photosynthesis by using elements like nitrogen, carbon dioxide, phosphate, and iron to create new plant growth and oxygen.

In many cases, water features are not built with enough depth to provide a place for the underwater happenings to properly occur. Ponds, for example, are often built too shallow in which cases that allow sunlight to directly reach the bottom of the feature and encourage unwanted aquatic plant and algae growth.

It is important to keep the algae in check in order to prevent algal blooms which can deplete the water of oxygen that the fish need to survive. If the water in your pond has less than two feet of visibility through the water, there is too much algae- indicating the danger of a destructive bloom.

When building a water feature there are no absolute rules as to depth but the feature is easier maintained when the process of photosynthesis is considered. Deeper water will always have a tendency to remain clear of unwanted growth. In general, plants will have a hard time growing at levels beyond six or eight feet of depth.

Man-made lakes, ponds, or streams are designed to compliment the surrounding landscape, serving as an imbedded aesthetic element instantly creating a uniquely serene ambiance. The water features work in conjunction with the landscaping to provide a naturally beautiful setting. The location and type of all land plants and trees as well as the type of water features are planned with precision to provide the most appealing environment.

To the casual observer, it may appear that these beautiful displays of nature are self-maintained within their own ecosystems. However, the simplicity of their maintenance is not as straightforward as the simplicity of their beauty. Once a waterscape plan is implemented and the features become a living part of the property, the maintenance is crucial to sustaining the aesthetic integrity and appeal. Lakes, ponds, and streams are living, growing ecosystems that require regular maintenance.

The initial design of any water feature hugely affects its overall functionality and the ease of its maintenance. A waterscape that has been designed with the surrounding landscape, proper equipment, and dimensions of the feature itself in mind will lend itself more easily to maintenance and sustainability over time. If feasible, it is best to consult a lake maintenance company for input during the initial design phase of a waterscape project. Consulting a waterscape professional (and considering the factors that will affect the waterscapes functionality) before the lake, pond, or stream during the design phase is the easiest way to save time and money in the long run.

An experienced lake maintenance company posses the knowledge of waterscape biology and the experience necessary to spot any potential problems and quickly provide logistical, effective solutions so that the aesthetic appeal of the waterscape is not compromised by recurring problematic situations. Consulting a waterscape maintenance company during the design stages will help retain the long term value of your investment, and so seamlessly achieve the intended purpose of any waterscape feature: continuously providing simple moments of refreshing beauty to all community members.

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

Enhancing the Appeal of Lakes, Ponds, and Water Features

The Value of Lakes and Water Features

Lakes, ponds, and water features bring an aesthetic value to our lives and can increase the value of our property. Properly maintained, a water feature will enrich the lives of those that experience it, provide for a tranquil break from an otherwise bustling day and enhance the property on which it resides.

Issues that Affect Water Quality

There are many things and issues that can adversely a water feature and diminish it’s aesthetic and commercial value. During the winter months, the natural processes that break down contaminants such as leaves, algae, bird waste, and others slows down and cannot keep up with the onslaught of these things entering the body of water. In addition, rainfall brings nitrogen and the runoff brings fertilizers into the water. All of these serves to upset the pH balance (relative acidity/ alkalinity) of the water, having a negative effect on the ability of the microorganisms present in the water to break down these contaminants.

Maintenance of Water Features, Lakes, and Ponds

To control the deleterious effects of these contaminants, one should begin treatment of the pond or water features in the late Winter and Spring, so that by the time summer comes around, the balance of the water is ensured and the aesthetic properties of the water feature are at their best.

In the summer, the added heat and sunlight contribute to the growth of unsightly aquatic weeds and algae. Not only do these affect the beauty of the water itself, they cause irritating odors that also detract from the beauty and aesthetics of the water feature.

In order to mitigate this growth and maximize the beauty of the feature, an aggressive treatment plan must be implemented during late winter or spring so that the maintenance program is well in place by the time summer comes around. This plan must include:

  1. removal or filtering of organic matter
  2. chemical treatment to adjust the pH of the water
  3. adding dyes to decrease the depth of sunlight penetration
  4. circulation of the water to increase the amount of oxygen in the water and even out it’s distribution. It may also be necessary to dredge the lake or pond to deepen it, install mechanical filters and pumps and control urban runoff coming into the water feature.

Conclusion

In order to properly treat a lake, pond, or water feature, it is important to consult and contract with a company that specializes in maintaining these and has the experience to properly do so. There are many things to consider, such as size of the feature, volume of water in the pond or lake, proper pumps and filters for the specific feature, working knowledge of pH, chemicals and oxygen balance, and many more considerations.

Given the initial cost of constructing the feature, this is not a job to be left to less experienced companies. Diversified Waterscapes has been specializing in this filed for well over 30 years. We continually strive to improve our knowledge and methods, keeping up with the latest in industry innovations and scientific research. Our goal is to exceed our customers expectations, every time. We invite you to call.

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

How a Basic Understanding of Biology can help you Maintain a Beautiful Waterscape

By Patrick Simmsgeiger, Founder of DWI


It takes only a single refreshing moment to fully appreciate the value of a beautiful lake, stream or pond; just one moment to enjoy the simple pleasure provoked by the beauty of a placid, well-maintained waterscape.

Any beautiful waterscape adds a uniquely, uplifting ambiance to its community. Lakes, streams, or ponds like the ones that exist in apartment communities, condominiums, and golf courses are built, filled, and sustained specifically for enjoyment and appreciation of the residents and clientele. The water features are designed to compliment the property, serving as an imbedded aesthetic element. The beautifully landscaped streams, cascading ponds, and capturing lakes have been planned with this precision to provide the most appealing vision to the community that surrounds them, and the people in it.

To the casual observer, it may appear that water features are self-maintained within their own ecosystems. However, the simplicity of their maintenance is not as straightforward as the simplicity of their beauty. Once a waterscape plan is implemented and the features become a living part of the property, the maintenance is crucial to sustaining the aesthetic integrity and appeal. Streams, ponds, and lakes are living, growing ecosystems that require regular maintenance. Without regular routine inspections the ecosystems begin to stray far enough and will ultimately experience epic ecological failure. With a basic understanding of a water feature’s ecosystem and biology, the root of any aquatic problem can be identified and a workable solution can be quickly and easily implemented by a waterscape professional.

The management of waterscapes requires some general knowledge regarding the biology of ecosystems; it is needed to understand the underlying forces behind stream, pond, and lake maintenance. Photosynthesis is the basic concept to be considered when performing maintenance on streams, ponds, or lakes. Green plants and algae use photosynthesis to convert nutrients into usable materials so they may grow, flower, and reproduce. Energy from sunlight drives the process of photosynthesis by using elements like nitrogen, carbon dioxide, phosphate and iron to create new plant growth and oxygen. All ecosystems operate best when there is a balance between the elements that go in to the system and the products released from the same system.

Balance is key to management. Understanding the photosynthetic process will provide the ability to gauge the natural fluctuation within an ecosystem – providing the ability to make predictions regarding the balance of any water feature. Waterscape maintenance is not by any means an overwhelming task. With the appropriate guidance and knowledge from a group of waterscape maintenance professionals, the task of maintaining visually pleasing water features is a simple series of procedures driven by understanding of basic biology. It is important to select a waterscape maintenance group that will successfully understand the biological needs associated with the maintenance of your specific water features.

An incorrect correlation is often made between the maintenance of natural aquatic ecosystems and the maintenance of swimming pools. These landscape-imbedded water features – streams, ponds, or lakes – become a united piece of the landscaping. They are not merely large swimming pools that can be maintained using a similar pool maintenance strategy. You cannot get by skimming the surface; there is much more to maintenance than just clearing the leaves. A biological understanding of the waterscapes and their ecological elements is necessary. When selecting your waterscape maintenance professional make certain that this issue is addressed; the maintenance of pool and spa features is very different from that of lakes, streams, or ponds.

Diversified Waterscapes, Inc. (DWI) is a group of dedicated professionals who deal with water features on a daily basis; they posses the knowledge of waterscape biology and the experience necessary to spot any potential problems and quickly provide logistical, effective solutions so that the aesthetic appeal of your waterscape continues to serve your community’s members beautifully. DWI will handle all the maintenance so that the waterscapes can continue serving their purpose of providing those simple moments of refreshing beauty to all who view and enjoy them.

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

It's Just Water, Right?

By Patrick Simmsgeiger, Founder of DWI


It’s natural, it’s pretty, so why is it so much work to keep a water feature looking that way?

Water is pretty basic stuff- it’s just a liquid made up of hydrogen and oxygen and in its pure state, that’s all it is- but in nature, water picks up lots of dissolved and suspended substances. Lakes, streams, and ponds all become contaminated through rain, wind, run-off, and even illegal dumping. Fertilizer runoff and even grass clippings blown into the water can affect the pH balance and contribute to rapid growth of algae and nuisance weeds. This leads to odor, unsightliness, and an overall loss of visual appeal.

Maintaining a water feature is even more challenging within a man-made environment. When contaminants enter a cement basin or other artificial containment, there is no natural ecosystem to cleanse the water and maintain a natural balance.

Water treatment products are often the first step. Products such as chlorine enzymes, chelated copper sulfate penta hydrate, and alum are used to treat algae and sludge. Clarifiers will take the murkiness out of water and colorants are used to shade bodies of water a more natural blue. All of these and more are used to shade bodies of water a more natural blue. All of these and more are used to retard the growth of algae, slow down the progression of biological contamination, clear up murky water and maintain a natural appearing blue color.

A highly refined double chelated copper sulfate penta hydrate is the most effective product for controlling many forms of algae. When used according to directions, this product will not harm fish or aquatic plant life and will not raise copper levels in the water. Once the algae has been lowered, a biological can be used to reduce sludge.

Clarifiers such as flocculants act like magnets and can be used to remove the suspended silt, some types of algae, dead organic matter and dust. They “latch” onto these floating and/ or suspended particles and cause them to drop to the bottom of your aquatic environment.

Dyes, while coloring your water feature and making it more pleasing to the eye also block some of the UV rays, retarding the growth of algae and aquatic plants, which need sunlight to grow. Used properly, dyes are not a threat to fish or humans. the pH (acidity and alkalinity) is monitored and manipulated to ensure the manmade water feature is as close to “natural” as possible.

Good filters and aeration are essential to helping to retard the growth of algae and the proper oxygenation of your water feature. The size and layout of your water feature will help determine the number, position, and sizes of the aeration and filtration systems.

About every five years, it is wise to drain the water feature, remove the properly dispose of the sludge and then refill your water feature with fresh water.

There are all kinds of tools available, but none are a solution within themselves. You will want to: provide aeration, adequate circulation, good filtration, manage nutrient levels, regular physical maintenance, biologically condition the water with plants, fish and invertebrates, perform pest control as needed, and adjust the suspended solids and organic content with the use of equipment and approved chemicals. But keeping everything looking natural takes work to stay that way- the best approach is to hire a specialist who will work with you to restore a natural balance to your lake, pond, or stream.

And regular attention is a must! Neglect is the worst enemy of water features. Maintenance is needed regardless of the size or type of water feature.

This is why there are aquatic maintenance specialists. We aren’t cleaning pools; we are establishing and maintaining a delicate natural balance and keeping highly visible bodies of water looking (and smelling) good, year after year.

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

Keeping Water Features Clean

By Patrick Simmsgeiger, Founder of DWI


As important as water is to modern life and recreation, its amazing the average American knows so little about it. Water is simply a solvent; a liquid (between 32° and 212°F) made up of hydrogen and oxygen molecules. The only “pure” water on earth is found in the cooling tubes of distilling or desalinization devices.

Phosphates, nitrogen, organic material, oils and minute plant life are the “villains” in water. By learning more about the contaminants water can carry we can protect it.

In natural conditions, factors exist that protect water by keeping it cooler, buffering chemical reactions and speeding up breakdown of foreign materials that enter it. Because natural environments, no equilibrium exists to fight contaminants.

In lieu of natural counterbalances, we fight back by adding products formulated to slow down the progression of biological contaminations. We manipulate pH (acidity and alkalinity) to make sure the additives effectively block contaminants. We run filters and periodically remove visible contaminants from the surface. We attempt to block sunlight to organisms that use sunlight and chlorophyll to grown.

We need to be more cognizant of natural processes and the methods we can use to combat the negative effect nature can bring to a water feature. Preventative approaches(also known as a proactive stance) should have a higher daily priority.

Nowadays many people have a high degree of sensitivity to the word “chemical.” Unfortunately, some customers assume that anything that comes out of a bottle is a chemical. While that is technically true (water is also a chemical compound), some materials act not as chemical reactants but as influencers of natural reactions.

Dyes, a popular chemical in cleaners, block sunlight from algae and aquatic plants, which need sunlight to grow. Clarifiers, another chemical, are like magnets. They latch on to floating or suspended contaminants (silt, algae, dead organic matter and dust) and make them so heavy they fall to the bottom.

Alga is a nuisance that is probably the most familiar to you. You’ve seen it – the pea-soup-green look in your water feature or the slimy, stringy, dark green stuff you see at the rocks and the lake bottom. Algae can’t grow if nutrients aren’t present. But as we already know, there usually are nutrients present in water. While there are claims that bacteria can control algae, it is most commonly used in conjunction with a specifically formulated copper product. These copper products are chemicals that are commonly known and just as commonly misunderstood. Used wisely and according to directions, a good algae control product will not farm fish or plant life and will serve to act as a “balance” by limiting the growth of algae. The end result is water habitat that has a controlled algae growth that fish can hide in and feed on.

Remember, neglect is the worst enemy of water features. Maintenance is your ally. Aeration and circulation need to be in place and kept in proper working order, as water should be well circulated. Chemicals can’t make up for inadequate aeration and circulation. Skimmer baskets should be emptied daily in order to prevent debris from trees, turf and ornamentals falling into the aquatic environment and creating havoc with the pumps and the overall appearance of your feature.

Bottom line: The proper care of your water feature will bring results that are pleasing to the eye (it will look great), the nose (no odor to offend) and the ear (properly maintained pumps will keep those waterfalls and water moving). And who would not enjoy an aesthetically pleasing aquatic environment?

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