Throughout the world, lakes, ponds, estuairies, creeks and rivers are experiencing problems with excessive algae, anoxic water and fish and wildlife kills. While unhealthy and unsightly, these issues usually also cause unpleasant odors the abutters must live with.
It is widely recognized that these problems are caused by the negative impact on the water bodies’ natural biom of diminished dissolved oxygen (DO) levels throughout the water column. Overall DO decreases due to increases in the biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) required to decompose dead algae and remediate the impact of fertilizer and industrial and human waste runoff.
Remediation Technologies Currently in Use
Chemical solutions to algae blooms are reasonably quick, but have negative effects on a water body’s ecosystem and the surrounding landscape when the water is used for irrigation.
Chemicals by themselves kill the algae and aquatic plants effectively, but have negative effects on the water body’s natural biom. The dead algae and plants sink to the bottom where they decompose, sucking DO from the water while creating unpleasant odors.
The resultant problems caused by chemical algae solutions are currently being remediated with laminar flow diffusers and bio-augmentation. These systems supply oxygen at atmospheric concentrations (21%) to the water and help stabilize the DO in the entire water column as the air bubbles move to the surface. Laminar flow aeration circulates water so that oxygen is made available to all depths of water to expedite decomposition of organic material and removal. With an increase in DO, aerobic bacteria are able to populate the soft bottom and increase the processing of the muck. In a eutrophic lake, there is no oxygen at the bottom so the muck doesn’t break down. Quite the opposite occurs. The muck stacks up and gets deeper. With aeration systems, oxygen is delivered to the bottom and the muck allowing aerobic bacteria to thrive. The aerobic bacteria break down the decomposing material 50 times faster than possible with anaerobic bacteria (which is not dependent on oxygen) and the muck thickness decreases. Diffusers are commonly made from a micro-porous crystalline material with pore size between 1 and 10 microns. The created bubbles rise to the surface and gas off into the atmosphere. Nanobubbles do not rise and remain in solution to maintain optimum DO levels.
Expansion of diffuser arrays and the addition of paddlewheels and fountains to increase water circulation, are commonly considered as ultimate solutions to completely resolve problems in lakes and ponds. Gaia offers a superior, more cost effective, alternative that can naturally return these important resources to their optimum bioms.
Gaia Oxygenation Technology
Gaia USA, Inc. has developed a technology that can increase DO levels much more rapidly and to higher concentrations than micro bubble aeration from diffusers. As mentioned above, diffusers introduce atmospheric oxygen which has a concentration of 21%. Gaia injects 95% pure oxygen. The oxygen is not just passively dispersed through the water column as micro bubbles that quickly rise to the surface and gas off, but is mixed into the returning water stream as ultra-fine nanobubbles measuring ~ 107 nanometers (.107 microns) in diameter. Independent lab testing has shown Gaia’s technology to have over a 90% gas transfer efficiency. The water stream exiting the Gaia mixing valve has an oxygen content of ~ 17 ppm and, over several days can raise the DO level of large areas to 8 ppm or more depending on the volume of water to be treated.
Nanobubbles possess amazing properties. These bubbles rise extremely slowly through the water column enhancing the opportunities for the oxygen to positively impact the DO level. These bubbles, due to their lengthy suspension in the water, migrate away from the introduction site, increasing DO in the water body significant distances from where the oxygenated water is originally dispersed.
Gaia recommends a combination of its technology with bio-augmentation. Diffusers supply sufficient oxygen to the depths of the water body to encourage growth of aerobic bacteria to consume the decomposing matter at the bottom. The much higher oxygen levels Gaia technology introduces, causes the bacteria to multiply much more quickly, more rapidly remediating the problem.
DO can be driven high enough with Gaia technology to force algae die offs because the oxygen becomes toxic at high concentrations and crowds out the nitrogen and carbon dioxide the algae need for photosynthesis. Chemical remediation will be unnecessary.
The Gaia system is very simple. It consists of an oxygen source (oxygen concentrator or liquid oxygen), a pump scaled to the appropriate flow rate and a Gaia UFB mixing valve. Multiple systems can be deployed based on the water volume for treatment. The pump extracts low DO level water, pushes it through the valve where oxygen is injected and mixed, and returns treated water, high in oxygen, to the bottom of the lake or pond where oxygen levels are lowest.
If the lake continues to be used for irrigation of the surrounding landscape, plant life will also benefit. Not only will the elimination of harmful chemicals reduce plant stress, but irrigation with high DO water has been found to very effective in enhancing plant growth and health.
For more detailed information on how ultra-fine nanobubble technology is remediating ground water worldwide, please visit our international industry partner Homeport Water Solutions.