Why Is My Dam Muddy?
No-one wants a muddy dam. The murky colouring can mask imbalances and other issues and put you off your dam completely. What was once your favourite place to swim or fish is now nothing more than an eyesore and if you have livestock or other animals that drink from the water body, their health could be compromised and you probably wouldn’t even be able to find the issue amongst all that brown mess. Even if your displeasure with your dam’s colouring is purely to do with aesthetics, it’s certainly an issue worth looking into as you don’t want further problems (and nasty smells) to arise. In order to treat the problem, however, you must first understand why it has arisen in the first place. Dams can be become muddy for a variety of reasons and each one requires a different treatment approach so it is important to work out where everything went wrong before you start trying to fix things or you may just make them worse. One of our friendly specialists will be happy to attend a consultation at your property if you’re completely stumped as to what to do, but if you’d like to try the DIY approach first, read on to learn about the three top reasons dams turn muddy, and how to fix them.
You Have Restless Solids And Rogue Particles:
This is the most common reason why you will experience muddy, brown water: If particles such as soil, mud or clay cannot, or will not, settle to the bottom of your dam, you’re doomed to have muddy water. Essentially, this is caused by particles with the same polar charge repelling away from each other, and therefore not being able to link together and make their way to the bottom of your dam. This leaves you with suspended solids in your water column and the degraded appearance, ecosystem health and clarity of your dam.
These nasties should be thought of as little brown tornados floating about and the best way to deal with them is by floccing your water. This treatment will reverse the polarity of some particles and help them bond together, therefore settling them to the bottom of your dam and improving your water quality.
You Have Dirty Run Off:
Depending on where you dam is, you may be fighting a battle against both internal issues and external factors. Farms can be particularly bad for nutrient run off (which can throw your aquatic ecosystem out of balance), but any dam that has a large amount of silt or soil near it will produce murky water given a windy day or substantial rainfall. If this is the cause of your water colour issues, you may notice that the level of murkiness varies from time to time, whereas suspended solids will create a fairly consistent browning.
You can also floc your water in this instance if you choose to, but your water quality will not substantially improve if you do not remove the external factors that keep turning your dam brown. This can generally be accomplished by adding a raised bank and/or planting out the perimeter of your water body with plants that can assist in filtration. Ideally, you will want to add reed beds all on all sides that cannot be sufficiently blocked from external migration and banks should be lined with a sealable material such as clay or one that will provide minor filtration properties such as stone.
Please Note that while these alterations will provide significant assistance with keeping your water nice, depending on your individual situation and the area surrounding your dam, all you may be able to do is treat when the issue arises.
Your Sediment/Sludge Layer Has Built Up Too Far:
Over time, your dam will collect a lot of dirt, muck and organic waste. As these particles settle, they form sediment, generally known as a sludge layer, at the bottom of your water body. You may go years without this causing any issues but once they arise, they can be quite difficult to deal with. Not only does sludge contribute significantly to the nutrient load of your dam, when disturbed, it can also turn your water a lovely shade of brown to compliment all that algae it’s feeding.
If your sludge layer has become too dense, dredging may be your only option, but as this is both costly and damaging, it should be avoided where possible. In this instance, a combination of aeration and biological augmentation will be your best bet for resolving the issue. Biostim Pellets will settle nicely at the bottom of your dam and start munching away on the sludge, and an accompanying aeration system will ensure that the aerobic bacteria contained within the treatment are able to thrive in their new environment.
Please Note that biological treatments require on-going application to achieve maximum results.
If you are unsure which, if any, of these factors is causing your dam to be muddy, inspect your water body and the surrounding areas to help determine the core issue. If a simple cause cannot be identified, you may be dealing with a combination of the above problems or something completely different. If this is the case, get in touch via the contact page or give us a call on 1300 283 387 and one of our friendly specialists will be happy to help you identify, and rectify, the issue.