Sludge! What Is It? And How Can I Control It?

Sludge - Dirty Dam Water

What is sludge made of? 

Today we discuss the life cycle of sludge, why it may be one of the most common issues faced, and, importantly, why you need to take control of it.  

What physically is in and around your waterbody determines what exactly is in the sludge build up. However, in general sludge is composed mostly of water (around 70%) that gets locked up between all of the other materials. The remaining 30% includes dead bacteria, decomposing leaves, and other stored organic and inorganic matter. Included in this are the seeds of aquatic weeds and the dormant cells of algae, called akinetes which are waiting for the right environmental conditions to spring to life.  

Sludge is a storage vessel for nutrients and when the conditions are right for the algae and/or aquatic weed, the sludge is there to promote their growth.

As the sludge levels accumulate, oxygen is not able to reach the bottom layers and this turns the conditions anaerobic. This means that aerobic, beneficial bacteria are unable to consume this sludge, the layers begin to smell and can release potentially harmful substances into the water. We treat the sludge directly using methods such as aeration and the ongoing application of biological treatments. These measures promote the bacterial consumption and depth reduction of the sludge layer.

Controlling Sludge

The best treatment that actively consumes the sludge layers, given that there is enough oxygen in the water, is our Biostim Pellets. These pellets are composed of select strains of beneficial nitrifying bacteria that love to eat the organics in sludge! This is a treatment that needs to be applied as an ongoing dosage, much like applying chlorine to your pool. Biostim Pellets are a natural and incredibly effective sludge treatment and also a great way to ensure you have the right mix of good bacteria in your water.  

Less sludge is something to celebrate in its own right, but it also means that less nutrients are available for aquatic weed and algae to flourish. This means that there will be less aquatic weed and algae growth, which reduces the amount that dies off, sinking to the bottom to be composted and turn into sludge again!  

It is a vicious cycle, contact us today to break it and take control of your water quality! You could be swimming in your dam before you know it. 

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