By: Rich Daly
Water features are basic and essential focal points within recreational parks. Not only do they add a serene yet invigorating ambiance to their surroundings but they are also great settings for ceremonies and provide perfect backdrops for photo opportunities. As a result, their renovation and rejuvenation has become a common duty among water quality management professionals.
The Wheaton Park district, located about 30 miles outside of Chicago, IL , consists of 14 neighborhoods, which include 50 park sites, totaling more than 800 acres. Designed by administrators and commissioners, the goal of the park's existence is to enrich community life through a diversity of healthy leisure pursuits and a heightened appreciation for our natural world. To compliment this mission, many of the park sites include water features. The maintenance and well-being of these water features are a priority and often times reconstruction is necessary to keep their aesthetic value and functionality, as is the case with Toohey Park.
Toohey Park was established by the citizens of Wheaton in 1921. The park's administrators and commissioners recently decided that a pond in Toohey Park which was experiencing problems needed to be corrected. The pond area is clearly visible to passers-by and can be seen from a large deck separating the pond from the newly constructed Safety Town. The pond has a history of algae blooms which were unpleasant to the eye, and lacked circulation which encouraged stagnant waters and insect breeding. A remedy was needed because of the effects these factors ad on the increasing population and park visitors.
In January 2003, Rich Daly, formerly of Turf Professionals Equipment Company, was asked to provide specifications and prices for aerators in a problem pond that was being considered for new landscaping and construction in Toohey Park.
The pond is very shallow, about 4-6 feet (1.2-1.8m) at the most. One of the most apparent sore spots was a stagnant water spot around an island which had a history of duckweed. Because the pond can be seen very easily, Daly's recommendations had to produce results that would be aesthetically pleasing, would deter algae growth and stench, and restore the water clarity back to a clean and clear state.
Specifications were written to deal with three aeration issues and one power issue. To create circulation in the channel around the island, Daly recommended placing a 2HP Triton Mixer, Otterbine's sub-surface unit, near the intersection at the beginning of the water channel and the waterfall pond exit. This would keep a majority of the water moving around the island to the area. He then suggested installing a 1HP Sunburst Aerating Fountain between the deck and the island. The Sunburst would provide a majority of the aeration and cooling of the shallow water and the Sunburst's attractive spray pattern would create the aesthetics Wheaton was seeking. In addition, at a point in the pond where two waterfalls had been, two 1/6HP Fractional Aerators, Sunburst patterns, were specified to provide an economical means of aeration and aesthetics if the waterfalls could not be returned to service. Finally, an enclosure for the electric was suggested to provide ease of supplying service and security of controls.
Daly delivered the specifications to Michele Springer at the Illinois Park & Recreation Annual Trade Show in January 2003. All of the recommendations were followed and the aerators and electric control panel were installed by August 15, 2003.
Since the installation, the effects of the aerators are abundant and instantaneously noticeable. The increased oxygen in the water, which ensures the health of aerobic bacteria, has helped water clarity, stench, algae, and the overall aesthetics of the pond. The increased circulation diminished the duck-weed, algae & insect breeding.
The customer is very pleased with the result and plans on adding more aerators this spring.