Engineered Solutions

CLEAN-FLO’s Engineered Solutions to Aeration

CLEAN-FLO International has operated continuously since 1970 offering a natural, cost effective method for improving water quality and water body restoration by fully oxygenating water bodies from surface to bottom. Our mission is to design and implement inversion oxygenation systems that are designed to accelerate a water body’s natural capability to process nutrients, purge harmful gases like ammonia and hydrogen sulfide, precipitate iron and manganese and keep aquatic weed and algae growth in check.

Aeration technology is not new. In fact, efforts to increase oxygen levels in water bodies can be traced back over 100 years. Over this long history of experimentation and implementation of various methods of aeration there have been many more failures than successes. While relatively simple in concept, proper aeration of large open-water systems has proven quite difficult in practice.

CLEAN-FLO International has met the challenge of delivering consistent results through aeration system implementation by adhering to the following key principles:

  • The aeration system and equipment must be custom-designed for each water body – a “kit” approach to aeration system design is not reliable.
  • Simple is better… Aeration systems must operate continuously to be effective. The fewer the failure points in the system the more likely the system will be able to perform consistently over time.
  • The “devil is in the details”… where a diffuser sits in the water body and whether it sits on the bottom or 12 inches from the bottom makes a big difference in system performance and results. CLEAN-FLO offers the best combination of system design, engineering, and installation and service in the industry.

CLEAN-FLO’s Approach to Water Body Restoration

CLEAN-FLO’s approach to water body restoration is based on duplicating nature’s own design for keeping water bodies healthy and in balance. It is certainly no secret that dissolved oxygen is the cornerstone of maintaining water body health and balance.

Maintaining high dissolved oxygen levels through-out the water column from top-to-bottom (including the sediment/water boundary layer) twenty four hours per day 365 days per year, delivers the following benefits to the water body:

  • Control of nutrients that lead to excessive aquatic weed and algae growth (P, N and CO2).
  • Prevention of the formation of undesirable toxic gases, hydrogen sulfide, methane and ammonia, formed as a result of persistent anaerobic conditions.
  • Prevention of the chemical release of Manganese, Iron and other metals through redox reactions under anaerobic conditions.
  • Increase in biological activity in the benthic layer, accelerating the decomposition of organic “muck” at the bottom.
  • Fishery improvement as a result of enabling fish to live and feed all the way to the bottom of the water body.

Given these well-established benefits, it would seem obvious that artificial aeration would be a wide-spread management tool for improving water quality in ponds, lakes and reservoirs. Unfortunately, as simple as artificial aeration is in concept, the vast majority of artificial aeration projects fail to deliver results as expected.

CLEAN-FLO Inversion Oxygenation System

CLEAN-FLO International has “closed the gap” between the theoretically benefits of artificial aeration and practical application in the field. Our design and implementation process has evolved over 40 years of successfully restoring water bodies from less than 1 acre to greater than 1,000 acres using our proprietary Inversion Oxygenation™ approach to artificial aeration.

The CLEAN-FLO Inversion Oxygenation System utilizes shore-based compressors to drive air to diffuser heads strategically placed on the bottom of the designated treatment area. Our proprietary Ceramic Diffusers produce a highly concentrated column of air bubbles of a diameter shown to deliver the highest oxygen transfer rate possible.

In conjunction with specified air compressors, our diffusers move 120,000 gallons of water per hour to the surface in six feet of water with the amount of water movement increasing exponentially with depth.

Through this method, we are able to achieve complete laminar flow in the designated treatment area ensuring complete mixing of the water column from surface to the water/sediment interface. Fully 99% of the oxygen transfer comes from the air/water interface at the surface versus direct transfer from the air bubbles into the water column. Therefore, the key measure of effectiveness of any diffused aeration system is not how many bubbles are produced or how much air is injected into the water, but how much water is being moved to the surface by the technology.

Based on our on-going testing, CLEAN-FLO’s Inversion Oxygenation Systems achieve the highest oxygen-transfer per horsepower hour in the industry. In other words, our designs are very efficient at lifting water from the bottom and creating complete laminar flow at the surface where the water is highly oxygenated before returning to the bottom. Our Inversion Oxygenation Systems achieve virtual uniformity in temperature and oxygen content from surface to bottom in the treatment area. Usually within 2 weeks or less after installation and start-up.

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CLEAN-FLO Competitive Advantages

  1. Custom Engineering and Design Capability – Every CLEAN-FLO System is custom engineered to meet the specific requirements of the customer and to ensure complete mixing of the target treatment area with maximum energy efficiency. We are not limited to a particular type or range of compressor configuration. In fact, we have the capability to utilize nearly an unlimited range of compressor sizes and configurations and have developed and implemented designs utilizing rotary vane, piston, rotary screw, rotary claw and scroll compressors. Where necessary, we can design and install systems that utilize rigid PVC piping in combination with self-sinking rubber airline to cover larger acreage utilizing a single power location and ensuring maximum energy efficiency. This design capability and flexibility enables us to consistently offer system designs that deliver more oxygen transfer per horsepower hour than other bottom-diffused aeration systems that rely on a “kit approach” to systems design.
  2. CLEAN-FLO Ceramic Diffuser Technology – Our Ceramic Diffusers offer several advantages over membrane or perforated air-hose diffuser designs. Our technology is NOT comparable to the commonly used, outdated “air stone” designs that are often sold for backyard pond applications.We have developed a proprietary ceramic formulation and airflow system through the diffuser that delivers higher efficiency and more consistent performance over time than membrane diffusers. These diffusers will not to clog in open water environments and are very low maintenance.

Comparison of CLEAN-FLO Diffusers to Membrane Diffusers

Membrane diffusers widely touted as “state of the art” aeration technology are proven to stretch over-time resulting in larger than optimal bubble size and significant loss of efficiency. While the diffuser boil may look adequate at the surface, the larger bubbles from a stretched membrane diffuser lift significantly less water reducing oxygen transfer rates over time. For this reason, CLEAN-FLO abandoned membrane diffuser technology more than 10 years ago.

Example Comparison of the Superiority of CLEAN-FLO Ceramic Diffusers to Membrane Diffuser Technology

Upper Midwest Lake – Surface Area: 163 acres

As part of an open, competitive bid process, CLEAN-FLO submitted a design proposal along with one of the leading suppliers of systems using membrane diffuser technology. The following table provides a summary of the two competing designs.

CLEAN-FLO SystemCompetitor System
Number of Diffusers20 12” Ceramic Diffusers32 Air Stations each with 5 9” membrane diffusers for a total of 160 diffuser heads
Horsepower Requirements6.7hp8hp
Energy Requirements 3600 kwh/month4900 kwh/month
Total CFM9076.8
Lake Turnover Rate.5 times per day
.5 times per day

The CLEAN-FLO System will achieve the same turnover rate with 140 fewer diffuser heads on the lake-bottom and 26% less electricity. Clearly, the CLEAN-FLO Ceramic Diffusers can move substantially more water with less energy, delivering superior oxygen transfer and requiring MANY fewer components on the lake-bottom significantly reducing potential system failure points.

Comparison of CLEAN-FLO Diffusers to Perforated Airline Diffusers

Perforated airline diffuser systems cannot match CLEAN-FLO Ceramic Diffusers in terms of airflow per surface area resulting in lower oxygen transfer rates. In addition, perforated airline diffuser systems are prone to clogging often requiring hydrochloric acid injection or manually punching holes in the clogged holes which increases cost and maintenance.

Why CLEAN-FLO?

Whether you have a small backyard pond or a multi-thousand acre reservoir, you want the best bang for your buck. CLEAN-FLO delivers cost effective solutions with greater operating efficiency than other aeration providers. We do not pull something off the shelf to try to satisfy the requirements. We work with you before and after the sale to provide not only the solution to your problems, but results that meet your goals. We look forward to working with you.