Nutrients are needed by plants and animals. In healthy lakes, nutrients are needed for the growth of algae that form the base of the food chain supporting the entire aquatic ecosystem. Too little or too much of some nutrients can lead to recurring problems. When a lake accumulates high levels of Phosphorus that cannot be broken down fast enough, those living close to the shore will notice some or all of these symptoms:
The first step to controlling nutrients and the ensuing problems is to know the existing levels and their sources. Aquatic Systems has biologists on staff for consultation and testing of your lake’s current nutrient levels. One method that has been shown to give fast results is alum. Alum is short for Aluminum sulfate, a chemical that is safe enough for use in drinking water.
Alum is added to the water in order to form aluminum phosphate and a colloidal hydroxide floc which binds to phosphorus fractions. The floc settles down the water column, removing large amounts of particulates, and forms a cover over the sediment. Depending on variables in lake conditions, this treatment has been known to be effective from a few months up to 20 years after treatment. The alum-bound phosphorus is insoluble in water under most conditions so the phosphorus in it can no longer be used as food by algae.
Alum treatments are helpful in lake restoration by removing phosphorus, a process which can improve water clarity, reduce algae, and increase usable fish habitat.