Biodegradation of Organic Sediments – Muck Removal for Clean Lake Bottom

15 Apr

Large build-ups of organic sediment or muck are commonplace in many water bodies. This is the result of years of nutrients and organic matter entering the water. Runoff containing fertilizers, grass clippings, leaves, animal waste, septic waste, etc. contributes the majority of this organic material, but aquatic weeds, algae, dust, pollen, and fish and waterfowl droppings are also contributors. Muck removal is the foremost and necessary step towards a clean lake bottom or pond bottom.

When oxygen is depleted in a water body, anaerobic bacteria partially break down the sediment. In the process, they expel hydrogen sulfide. Hydrogen sulfide is the rotten egg smell present when you stir up the muck in most lakes or ponds. The cause of the odor is a lack of oxygen. Hydrogen sulfide is not only highly toxic to aerobic bacteria; hydrogen sulfide is also toxic to insects, and is toxic to fish at levels of 0.3 mg/l (a very low amount). The anaerobic bacteria also release ammonia into the water column. Ammonia feeds weeds and algae, and is toxic to fish at levels greater than 3.0 mg/l. Also released are methane, nitrogen gas and carbon dioxide. These also are toxic to aerobic bacteria, insects and fish. Carbon dioxide and methane kill fish at levels greater than 30 mg/l. So the causes of organic sediment (muck) accumulation, unpleasant odor and fish kills in lakes are a lack of oxygen and high levels of toxic gases.

The presence of muck or a rotten egg smell is sure signs that the bottom is lacking in oxygen and the lake bottom needs muck removal. Bottom oxygen tests may show that the bottom is oxygenated. But these tests are usually made during the day, when aquatic plants are putting oxygen into the water. Bottom oxygen tests in the middle of the night may show no oxygen because plants take up oxygen during the night. Lack of oxygen also depends on the time of year. Just a few hours without oxygen is enough to kill the beneficial bacteria and insects that feed on organic muck. These bacteria play a major part in muck removal.

If oxygen is present throughout the water column at all times, beneficial aerobic microorganisms and insects feed on the organic sediment which will surely result in the form of a clean lake bottom. It is similar way on which bacteria and insects feeding on compost. The bacteria feed on the organic sediment, and the insects feed on either the bacteria or the muck, or both. Bacteria are high protein food for insects. The bacteria convert organic sediment into carbon dioxide and water and a microscopic amount of inorganic “ash”. In this process, the bacteria exude an enzyme to soften the tough walls of the cellulose cells. CLEAN-FLO accelerates this process for the sake of muck removal by adding our natural vegetable enzyme, CLEAN & CLEAR.

As the organic sediment disappears, it becomes a food source for fish. Insects are an excellent food for fish. One pound of phosphorus from the sediment can make up to two tons of weeds, or one pound of phosphorus can make up to eighty pounds of fish. It depends on whether the phosphorus has been moved up the food chain from muck to bacteria to insects to fish, or whether the phosphorus simply re-dissolves back into the water column where it can be used again by weeds and /or algae.

Just as waste treatment plants seed sewage treatment lagoons with microorganisms to decompose and reduce sludge, CLEAN-FLO seeds water bodies with a special formulation called C-FLO Living Organisms. C-FLO has been exposed repeatedly for muck removal and for reducing organic sediment.

Sonar graphs by Virgil Muller, PE, of Muller Engineering in Minneapolis showed an average of 4 inches muck removal per month in Highland Lake, Anoka County. Horizontally muck removal from the shoreline averaged 4.7 feet in 14 months using the CLEAN-FLO Continuous Laminar Flow Inversion / Oxygenation System and our C-FLO living organisms. Click here to read the case study.

Aquatic biologists and consultants have performed numerous studies and have found muck removal in every case. One test showed a muck removal case of up to depth of 36.9 inches in one year. Our own tests on many lakes have shown muck removal of about ten feet from the shoreline each year, leaving clean lake bottom, and lakes deepened 2 – 5 feet over a five-year period. Click here to read the case study.

Although dredging can deepen a lake, making it more difficult for submerged vegetation to grow, dredging does nothing for water quality, nothing for algae, little to reduce odor and nothing to prevent fish kills or improve fish health and growth and unable to make clean lake bottom. The combination of the CLEAN-FLO Continuous Laminar Flow Inversion / Oxygenation System and our natural C-FLO living organisms and Clean & Clear natural vegetable enzymes are very effective for muck removal and surely improve all of these aspects, for far less expense and inconvenience.

For sand, silt and all but organic sediment, dredging is the best and only method. We know of no other method of getting rid of inorganic sediment than dredging. Yet, according to the USEPA, dredging does nothing to improve water or fish quality and to clean lake bottom. On the contrary, it mixes phosphorus and nitrogen and other pollutants from the muck into the water column. Dredging does nothing to reduce algae. For these reasons, the EPA has issued criteria for dredge water that is re-introduced into lakes, to limit the amount of pollutants that mix with lake surface waters. Researchers have found that to limit the re-introduced pollutants to only ammonia and manganese (two of over thirty water pollutants), it is necessary that the dredged water be oxygenated (G. Fred Lee, et al).

Read About How CLEAN-FLO Successfully Reduces Muck in Indian Lake

The full report from Lakeshore Environmental can be found here.

A summary presentation of the report can be found here.

C-FLO Phosphorous, nitrogen and cellulose – feeders consume bottom organic sediment, while insects feed on the micro-organisms and fish feed on the insects. Muck disappears while fish thrive on natural food.

CLEAN & CLEAR
CLEAN & CLEAR™ CONCENTRATED ENZYMES is a special blend of non-toxic enzymes from nature that acts as a catalyst to biodegrade non-living organic matter and reduces available nutrients in the water, thus improving water quality.

Improve lake fishing and improve water chemistry using natural lake processes. When is the best time to start?

Read about Lake Amoeba

 

Muck removal is an important benefit obtained with the CLEAN-FLO system.