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The Causes of Poor Water Quality

Identifying the causes of poor pond water quality and what you can do.

An Otterbine Aerating Fountain at a golf course

Often land development creates pollutants that are rich in nutrients containing high levels of phosphorus and nitrogen that rob a pond of oxygen. Low oxygen levels combined with minimal circulation prematurely ages a water body and throws the natural ecosystem out of balance.

Causes of Poor Water Quality

  • Light & Temperature: Shallow lakes (less than 6ft or 2m) receive light at the lake bottom. The entire water column becomes warm making it a breeding ground for aquatic weeds and algae. Additionally warm water is less capable of holding oxygen.
  • Nutrients: Excessive nutrients will contribute greatly to aquatic weed and algae growth. The three most common sources are:
    1. Sediment and vegetation in the lake
    2. Run-off from surrounding turf areas
    3. Incoming water.
  • Oxygen: Oxygen's role in the pond is to support aerobic bacteria in the consumption of excess nutrients. In healthy lakes there is a delicate balance between oxygen supply and demand. When demand outpaces supply the pond or lake will fall out of natural balance and nutrient levels outpace digestion. Lack of oxygen in the water column is the primary contributor to pond algae, aquatic weed growth and odors.


Algae sitting at the top of water

Visible indicators that the pond is suffering from lack of oxygen are:

  • Algae
  • Aquatic weeds
  • Insects
  • Foul odors
  • Fish kills

Not only are these conditions unsightly but they can be detrimental if a pond is being used to water livestock or irrigate crops and turf. These indicators alert us to the need for implementing a water quality management solution.

The most natural water quality management solution is to introduce aeration into a pond or lake and induce oxygen into the water column creating currents that eliminate stagnant water.



Plants under the water's surface

How Does Aeration Help?

Aeration mixes cool bottom waters with warm surface water helping get rid of thermal stratification. It also replenishes the depleted oxygen encouraging the production and longevity of healthy aerobic bacteria that consume excess nutrients and returns the water feature to a healthy and stable ecosystem.

Otterbine aeration systems provide many benefits, but most importantly they improve water quality leaving clean, healthy ponds and lakes.

Want to Learn More About Improving Water Quality in Your Pond?

Each pond is a unique ecosystem, learn more about what will work best for yours.

We offer site evaluations and customized product recommendations for creating clean and healthy water features throughout the world; let us create one for you.