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  • Writer's pictureTallulah

What is pond dredging?

Like canals and rivers, ponds require regular dredging to remove buildups of litter and organic sediment. Whether manmade or natural, bodies of water like ponds and lakes can suffer from lack of oxygenated water, overgrowths of bacteria and weeds, and deposits of silt. All of this can have negative environmental impacts and worsen the water quality.

If the pond is fed by river channels, these inlets can become choked by debris. Maintenance dredging to remove unwanted organic matter can help restore the organic balance in the water and improve the general environment.

It is important that there should be regular dredging of rivers, canals, and lakes. Dredging a pond should be completed with similar regularity. But just like canal dredging or most other types of maintenance, it can be possible to extend the amount of time between necessary dredging work which could help a pond owner make valuable savings.

Is dredging a pond important?

Water that feeds into ponds tends to carry with it mud, sediments and man-made litter. Parts of ponds, like water egress points, can be more susceptible to debris buildups. When this happens, water flow becomes restricted and the pond begins to deteriorate.

For dredging activity to be carried out on a pond, contractors like The Rothen Group (TRG) use specialist dredging equipment. This can include suction dredges, suction pipes, hoppers and diggers.

Depending on the size of the pond and the area that needs maintenance, TRG may place certain heavy equipment, like a digger, on the bank of the pond, similar to how they might dredge a river from the river banks. If the pond is too large for this approach, TRG can use a hopper dredger to carry out work without relying on the pond bank.

For much bigger dredging projects such as very large lakes, a trailing suction hopper dredger might be used. Once dredge material is in the hopper, it can be transported and disposed of at an appropriate site, in line with UK Environment Agency guidelines.

Dredging Prevention

To reduce the need for this type of maintenance, it is necessary to try to keep the water clean. Weeds, plant debris and leaves floating on the surface can prevent sunlight from penetrating through to the pond bed, which can hamper the growth of undesirable plants and impact oxygen levels and animal life. Clearing the surface of a pond will help keep the pond’s ecosystem healthy. It will also encourage the faster breaking down of organic matter by animals and microscopic organisms.

Another way of putting off the need to dredge a pond is to ensure that the water is well aerated. Aeration is the process of exposing water to air so that elements like oxygen can be absorbed or dissolved into the water. Water can be aerated naturally as streams and rivers flow, but if a pond (or an area of a pond) becomes stagnant, artificial aeration can be a solution.

Aeration can be achieved either with a pump moving water or by pumping air into the water. With more oxygen in the water, the risk of an overproduction of phosphates is lessened. Too much phosphate in the water can cause a pond to look and smell unpleasant due to stimulating the growth of unwanted plants and bacteria.

While capital dredging is used to expand navigational channels, most dredging performed by TRG is for maintenance purposes. TRG works with the Canal & River Trust to improve UK waterways.

For any pond maintenance project, it is best to consult with the experts and you can contact The Rothen Group.

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