I couldn’t help but notice a recent article from an online newspaper called Sauk Valley which is an area not far from here in western Illinois.
Like many municipalities, these folks are dealing with an aging pond that’s filling in, and of course during the warm months, algae will usually show up too. Each year it seems to get a little worse.
As ponds become more shallow, the challenges of keeping it clean and healthy can increase and there’s a lot of reasons for this. Sunlight penetration can stimulate more growth. Weeds can take hold at the bottom. The aforementioned algae cycles through it’s typical life and death, and as it dies, it sinks and adds compost like muck at the bottom. And this feeds more growth.
In the case of the Thomas Park pond in Sterling Illinois, the powers that be have decided to spend some money on dredging out the pond. This involves the physical cleaning and removal of this bottom sediment, and it won’t be cheap.
The estimated cost will be right around $150,000.
But are there other options that won’t cost so much?
Fortunately the answer is yes, there are other options. Or I should say one main alternative.
And that’s to use a very special, pelletized form of beneficial bacteria.
This is a microbial blend with a few enhancements. It has several strains of bacteria that are specifically designed to work on the elements found in pond muck or sludge, and these microbes are bound together using a barley binder.
What’s unique about this bacterial approach is that, rather than being in a liquid or powder form, the pellets actually sink down into the very muck they’re designed to degrade. There is nothing much more direct and targeted than that.
If there were one benefit to dredging, it would be the expediency. When you manually remove something such as sludge from a pond, the work can be done in a few days to a few weeks. For some this may be worth the cost.
But for most people with similar problems, dredging may not be practical or affordable enough. And that’s where the beneficial bacteria comes in. It’s not a quick fix by any means. But over a periods of months, we expect to see several inches of muck reduction and the cost will be minimal compared to dredging.
We use the pellets about once a month, simply broadcasting them lightly over the pond’s surface. It’s this repeated use and distribution that provides the best coverage. One other advantage with this approach is not every pond will have a muck or sludge building throughout the pond. And if there are specific problem spots they can be targeted very well with the pellets.
So, if you’re faced with a situation where you’re considering dredging, just know that while it’s an option to pursue, it’s not the only choice that you’ll have to work with.
Muck reduction pellets and bacteria can serve as a viable alternative.