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Over time, ponds often begin to fill up as dead algae, leaves, and other organic material settle to the bottom. In a healthy pond ecosystem, aerobic (oxygen-breathing) bacteria will break down all of this organic material quickly and efficiently. However, if a pond does not have adequate amounts of these spoilage bacteria to break down all organic material, the pond will start to fill up and its depth will decrease. This will cause the bottom of the pond to become covered with a nutrient-rich, dirt-like substance. If this is allowed to continue long enough, the pond will eventually begin to resemble a wetland or swamp. Once this occurs, many people hire contractors to dredge their pond.

Before any pond can be dredged, regardless of whether it is private or not, the pond must receive certain permits (how many permits depends on the location and extent of the dredging). The permits are necessary because according to the federal Clean Water Act and its Amendments, the Corps of Engineers must regulate the dredging of ponds according to certain environmental criteria. Permits require information, including the amount of materials to be dredged, the location and condition of the disposal site, the names and addresses of nearby land owners, and potential environmental impacts. Permits also require sketches of the pond dredging plan, disposal site, as well as before and after water depths. Because the depth of the pond is required, the pond must also be inspected; all these things will add to the total cost.

Pond Dredging Options

The most common type of pond dredging is long reach excavation. While this is usually the cheapest way to dredge a pond, it is still quite expensive. On average, it takes an experienced excavator operator two weeks to increase the pond depth by 1 yard on a 1-acre pond. The cost of renting a long reach excavator is usually around $2,000 per week. Additionally, the cost of hiring an excavator operator can approach $200 per hour. Also, the pond must dry out before it can be dredged; this means that any fish must be stocked or restocked, which only adds to the cost. Also, once the dredging is complete, the entire shoreline will need to be repaired as the excavation sections tore it apart. Landscaping costs will typically end up in the thousands of dollars as well, likely pushing the overall budget to well over $20,000-$30,000 (just for a 1 acre pond to increase its depth by about 3 feet).

IN hydraulic dredger It can also be used to dredge ponds, but at a high price, as making a 1 acre pond 1 yard deeper costs over $50,000. Hydraulic dredges float on water and work like a vacuum while sucking up sediment from the bottom of the pond and water. The suspension (mixture of solids and water) is then pumped through a temporary piping system. Using hydraulic dredging will not only cost tens of thousands of dollars, but it is also incredibly inefficient, since about 90% of the mud pumped is water. This means that it takes about 3,000 gallons of water to pump 1 cubic yard of solids. The pumped water is held in a holding area while the solids settle to the bottom and then the water is pumped back into the pond.

Alternatives to pond dredging

Because dredging is so expensive, it should only be implemented when absolutely necessary. That being said, the best option is to avoid the need for dredging from the start. This need to dredge your pond can be eliminated by using proven pond management techniques. For example, in the event that your pond is covered in mud/mud/sediment, it has been observed that ponds using diffuse aeration systems can increase the depth up to 8″. They can achieve this in a number of ways: one is by adding oxygen. to the water, allowing aerobic bacteria to flourish and break down the sediment.

However, more is needed to adequately treat and prevent sediment buildup than oxygen. Some pond aerators can also create a turbulent mixing action within the water column. This mixing is important because it agitates the existing sediment and pushes it into the water column where it is then broken down by decaying bacteria. (MARS aerators have been used in wastewater facilities where sludge levels have dropped by as much as 2 feet) This process can not only decrease the amount of sediment in your pond, but it will also prevent it from coming back, so it’s never needed. dredge the pond in the future.

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