Improving Water Quality in Freshwater Lakes

Case Studies, Freshwater

Improving Water Quality in Freshwater Lakes

Maintaining good water clarity is essential when managing drinking and recreational water resources. Freshwater pond systems have constant organic inputs from vegetation, biosolids, and runoff.

In the spring and fall, changing water temperatures and densities can stimulate heightened sediment organic matter decomposition and nutrient loadings.

This process can promote water clarity and odor issues relating to excessive algal growth and eventual die off.

Once algae populations uptake all available nutrients in the water column, the algae die and are decomposed by heterotrophic microorganisms.

This surge in organotrophic metabolism dramatically decreases the dissolved oxygen in these systems. Surface waters containing less than two milligrams per liter dissolved oxygen (hypoxic) can inhibit aquatic life and may cause death.1 

Anaerobic microbial processes in hypoxic water bodies can give off strong unpleasant odors.

Communities relying on freshwater ponds for drinking and recreational uses can benefit from bioaugmentation when managing organic solids in their ponds.

Implementing intentionally selected cultures of heterotrophic bacteria to continuously degrade solids can help mitigate high seasonal nutrient releases and related issues.

The following case study describes the outcomes of using BioLynceus® ProBiotic Scrubber® I (PBI) in several freshwater lakes to degrade accumulated organic matter and improve water clarity.

Figure 1. Comparison of one of three case study lakes before PBI treatment (left) and after several months of PBI applications (right).

A small residential community in the Colorado Rocky Mountains sourced drinking water from a system of three, four to six-acre freshwater lakes. Each summer, nutrient loadings from microbial organic matter decomposition would promote large algal blooms.

The resulting hypoxic water conditions in the lakes would cause fish kills and strong unpleasant odors. Additionally, the surface waters became murky from the dark organic matter that accumulated above the sediment.

In need of a solution to improve the water clarity of the community’s freshwater resources, the President of the Board of Directors contacted BioLynceus®.

A bioaugmentation plan was established in the lakes to [1] reduce organic solids and odors, and [2] achieve better water clarity for human consumption and recreation. PBI enriched the lakes with live cultures of heterotrophic bacteria to promote organic substrate decomposition and nutrient uptake.

During the first year of treatment, applications of PBI were added in the summer after algal blooms began to form in the lakes. By winter, algal biomass was limited in the water bodies and odors were reduced. The dark solids at the bottom of the lakes were degraded more thoroughly then in previous years without treatment.

The following spring was unusually hot and dry. Water levels in the lakes were very low, and algal growth was excessive. Before PBI was administered, 1000 fish were killed in the water bodies due to high water temperatures and low dissolved oxygen levels.

After this event, BioLynceus® product was added to the lakes. PBI helped reduce additional organic solids and odors that year.

During the third year of treatment, PBI was inoculated in the lakes in early spring. Dosing the product early shifted the timing of nutrient release for more even loading over the warm season.

Enhanced heterotrophic bacterial activity helped degrade the organic solids without depleting dissolved oxygen to hypoxic levels in the lakes.

Water clarity was improved, and odors were reduced.

The President of the Board of Directors for the community explained, the last lake in the chain of lakes looked like a clear alpine lake.

He went on to write in a letter of recommendation, “Rick Allen and BioLynceus® have been instrumental in assisting us with the remediation of our freshwater lake system.”

1 Committee on Environment and Natural Resources (CENR). (2000). Integrated assessment of hypoxia in the Northern Gulf of Mexico. National Science and Technology Council, Washington, D.C.

More Articles in This Category

Bioaugmentation Improves Water Clarity in Freshwater Pond

Freshwater Pond 1.5 acres, 6-8 ft depth Algal and aquatic weed growth is a persistent issue impairing water clarity in freshwater ponds. Warm water temperatures and nutrient loads promote algal and plant growth in these systems, especially when organic matter content...

Water Clarity Bioaugmentation in a Freshwater Pond

Freshwater Pond, 2 Acres The water clarity of freshwater ponds can be impaired by organic material which accumulates in response to high nutrient loadings. Eutrophic surface water conditions, enriched with high nutrient concentrations, can promote excessive algal...

Water Clarity Treatment in a Freshwater Lake

Freshwater Pond, 3 Acres, 20 Feet Deep Achieving good water clarity in freshwater ponds can be challenging, especially during spring and summer months. Algal growth is a common issue that increases suspended solids in open water bodies. Excess algal biomass can...

Denitrification with Candy Carbon®

biological denitrification technology “The biological denitrification technology is based on the conventional theory that carbon is the limiting factor in the efficiency of biological denitrification. Heterotrophs utilize carbon from organic compounds like sugars,...

Bio-Dredging Solids in a Lagoon System

Lagoon System 0.01 MGD Municipalities using lagoon systems for wastewater treatment are often challenged with accumulating solids in their treatment ponds. Municipal wastewater carries high organic substrate loads that can inhibit proper wastewater processing....

Solids Reduction in a Municipal Lagoon System

One of the most persistent challenges in lagoon wastewater treatment is solids (sludge) management. Lagoon systems are designed to reduce organic solids during wastewaterprocessing. Built up sludge is typically dredged from lagoon systems with heavy equipment. Once...

BOD₅ and TSS Pretreatment for an Aerated Lagoon System

Collection System 0.02 MGD Publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) receiving wastewater from industrial sources often experience treatment complications from high biological oxygen demand (BOD5) and total suspended solids (TSS) loads. Establishing an...

BOD & TSS Treatment in an Industrial Wastewater Facility

Industrial Food & Beverage Wastewater Treatment Plant 0.01 MGD Wastewater treatment plants processing industrial wastewater are often challenged with high biological oxygen demand (BOD) and total suspended solids (TSS)loadings. Specifically, wastewater byproducts...

FOG Reduction in Collection System

Collection System 0.8 MGD A growing Wyoming municipality of 10,000 people was having trouble with fats, oils, and grease (FOG) management in their wastewater collection system. The city’s lift stations and main lines were consistently coated with grease. When the lift...

FOG Treatment in a Wastewater Collection System

Collection System 0.7 MGD Persistent fats, oils, and grease (FOG) accumulation can deteriorate wastewater collection infrastructures and increase maintenance demands. Lift stations have many moving parts that can breakdown when FOG buildups are too great....