Reasons for Pond Aeration

Why Didn’t My Grandfather’s Pond Need Aeration?

I have been asked this question several times in the last few years and I feel it is a topic worth discussing here.

First of all, our grandfather’s ponds probably could have benefited from aeration if there had been any aeration mills available. Commercial manufactured windmill aerators first appeared on the market about 20 years ago. By then, several factors were contributing to the rapidly growing number of unhealthy ponds, and the need for pond aeration.

There are several reasons why so many ponds today are unhealthy. First on the list is the contamination of groundwater. Decades of commercial and home fertilization, and the misuse of chemicals have all added to the problem. In some cases improper farming methods contribute as well. Even if all contamination stopped today, the residual effects from the last half century would last for many years, probably many decades.

Customers sometimes tell me there is no lawn or farm runoff going into their ponds and they don’t know why their pond’s phosphorous and nitrogen contents are so high. The problem in these cases is not surface run off. Contamination already exists in the ground water and is almost impossible to avoid. In the vast majority of areas, if you dig a hole in the ground, nutrients and chemicals will find a way into the pond through bedrock, underground streams or springs. It is very simply, and sadly, unavoidable.

Another common reason for the number of unhealthy ponds is the lack of proper planning. Often, a builder or homeowner will need additional fill to build up around a house. Usually the least expensive option is to have a pond dug near the house and use the dirt for elevating the ground around the house. Although this seems like a good economical solution it often leads to a less than desirable pond. Problems such as low water level, stagnant water, contamination from farm and lawn run off or weed infestation can be the results.

These types of ponds are often called “fill ponds”. Many Towns have updated their zoning laws regarding fill ponds hoping to minimize the problems associated with them. Designing by a qualified engineer is often mandatory and in many cases aeration is strongly suggested.

The good news for pond owners wishing to improve their pond’s health can be summed up in one word. Aeration. Simply put, installing a windmill aerator is the single, most cost effective way to control water quality in ponds and small lakes.