Bio-Dredging – the Alternative Dredging Technique for Muck Removal

Is your pond or lake becoming filled with muck or sediment?
Has your search for muck removal led you to believe that dredging your lake or pond is the best solution?
Mucky, organic sediments are a nutrient stockpile that fuel invasive weed growth, algae blooms and toxic cyanobacteria HABs (Harmful Algae Blooms).

Conventional Dredging

The Mess

The truth is conventional dredging techniques are very messy. The typically damaging process involves first draining the pond and removing all wildlife before the heavy equipment is brought in to scrape the bottom of the pond or lake. Once completed, dump trucks are brought in to haul away the collected sloppy sludge material. During this process, not only the body of water’s wildlife is destroyed but also the entire landscape of the water body. Essentially dredging a pond or lake is like eliminating your entire water body’s wildlife to start fresh.

As a result of conventional dredging techniques, the water body’s shoreline will need to be completely restored; trees, grass and the landscape will have to be replaced or reseeded. This whole messy process is without a 100% guarantee that the muck will be gone forever. Surely, there’s a better way to treat muck!

The Cost

When determining the cost of traditional dredging, there are four main questions to answer:
How much sediment is there to dredge?
What is the size of the water body?
What is the content and condition of the material that needs to be dredged?
Where can you put the dredged material once it’s removed from the lake?

To determine the quantity of muck, a bathymetric and vegetation survey must be performed through the entire body of water to provide water depth information. At the same time, a sediment survey can be conducted to gather information about the organic content and thickness of the sediment layer.

The cost of conventionally dredging a pond or a lake is dependent on many different variables. However, this costly muck reduction method can run anywhere from $20,000 to $75,000 per acre.

Surely, there’s a cheaper way to treat muck!

Bio-Dredging

Bio-Dredging is leveraging natural biological processes to digest and eliminate the mucky nutrient-sediment. By creating conditions where the nutrients can be directed into the food web, more abundant, healthier and larger fish are the result.

It’s simpler, it’s easier, there’s no mess and it’s much, much cheaper.

At Clean-Flo, our alternative bio-dredging techniques uses bottom composition mapping as a platform to understand the muck removal project at hand and ultimately create the most cost-effective solutions to your problem. Also, we use bottom composition surveys as a way to monitor and track progress or changes in the muck reduction process.

At Clean-Flo, our natural bio-dredging alternative methods don’t consist of physically removing the muck from the water body using equipment. Ours is a natural biological process. Therefore, there’s no need for land to store the muck.

Environmental Impact of Dredging

For traditional dredging techniques, after the sediment amount is accessed, the next step is to find an area to put the muck on land once it’s removed. However, most people underestimate the amount of land needed to contain the removed muck. Typically for every two acres of lake or pond dredged, there’s an average of three feet of sediment, which requires an acre of land with an elevation of about 6 feet. Keep in mind; this area should be as close to the water body as possible as it affects the dredging cost. But that also means that the nutrients in the sludge can be carried back into the lake by storm runoff.

Since dredging requires the physical removal of unwanted sediment, it poses a huge threat to the water body’s health, shoreline, and landscape at the expense of the water body’s biology and wildlife. The primary focus of traditional dredging is to remove the submerged sediment deposits; as a result, the environmental effects of dredging also revolve around this focal point and include:

Removing large parts of water bodies and dumping it elsewhere can have a significant impact on sensitive ecosystems. Soil deposits in any given body of water have a certain pre-disposed composition which dredging can alter.
As a result of soil composition alterations, the habitat of the existing creatures and organisms that depend on the original composition are put at risk and will eventually die out due to the changes.
The turbidness of the soil, or cloudiness, under the water, is altered because of the changes in the soil composition. These alterations can cause further issues after the dredging process is complete due to the creation of new, harmful organisms, transferring unwanted organisms to other parts of the body of water leading to a larger spread of contamination and the release of unwanted nutrients.
In addition to the composition changes within the water body, as previously mentioned, the process of dredging takes a toll on the landscape and shoreline of the water. In order to bring in the equipment needed for dredging, it may be required to remove trees and other vegetation surrounding the water body.

Natural and Inexpensive Dredging Alternative for 
Sediment Removal

While conventional dredging techniques deepen a lake or pond, which makes it more difficult for submerged vegetation to grow, there is no guarantee that dredging can help improve water quality. In fact, according to the USEPA dredging does nothing to control algae, reduce odor, prevent fish kill, improve fish health and maintain a clean lake or pond bottom. On the contrary, it mixes phosphorus, nitrogen and other pollutants found in muck into the water and often triggers algae blooms.

We have a proven track record of reducing hundreds of cubic yards or mucky sediment, adding several feet to the average depth of lakes, and improving water quality using our holistic biological solutions.

If you are looking for a natural and inexpensive alternative to traditional dredging techniques for reducing muck and improving water quality, give us a call for more information.

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