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Control Water Quality in Farm Ponds for Irrigation or Fishing

Fish pond aeration with Bubble Tubing®

Controlling the water quality of agricultural or fish ponds with aeration is imperative for food and fish stock safety.

Aeration can:

  • Ensure safe water quality in agricultural or fish ponds. As aeration mixes the water and adds oxygen, it improves water quality for irrigation and for watering livestock. UV light can harm pathogens in water, so mixing dugouts increases exposure of the water to the sun, improving it for use in sprinkler irrigation of leafy vegetables or fruit vegetables.
  • Reduce the presence of invasive aquatic plants encouraged by the increased presence of nutrients in the water
  • Reduce conditions of stagnation and odour
  • Prevent fish kill in winter
  • Reduce coliforms in dugouts

Aeration in Agricultural Irrigation Ponds

As demonstrated in the following Agriculture Canada video animation, an aerated pond contributes to improving water quality. In fact, the “PRIME-VERT” subsidy (see full details at the bottom of this page) is currently available to Quebec market gardeners wishing to purchase an aeration system for their irrigation pond in order to reduce e-coli and coliform bacteria in the water.

Irrigation pond used to irrigate olive grovesColiform contamination from E. coli is a particularly harmful bacterium that was implicated in the drinking water contamination tragedy of Walkerton in Ontario. Aeration in the pond allows water to circulate from the bottom to the surface, causing harmful bacteria to be exposed to the sun’s UV rays. Numerous studies by both the Federal and Provincial Ministries of Agriculture have shown that UV rays damage the cellular structure of these pathogens. Water mixing via lake-bottom aeration can eliminate pathogens by up to 95%.

While bottom aeration can improve the bacteriological quality of water used to irrigate crops, it can also reduce the blockage of irrigation systems from algae.

Our distributor in Europe has installed an aeration system in an irrigation pond used to irrigate olive groves. The aim of this project was to reduce the volume of algae that blocked the irrigation pumps and reduce the accumulation of organic sludge in the irrigation basins. Sludge was reducing water volume through displacement.

Irrigation pond used to irrigate olive groves Olive groves require regular irrigation, which can be a challenge in the arid climates where this crop grows. Ponds with membranes are used to accumulate rain water in the winter months. As many basins hold stagnant water, algae proliferate in large quantities. These algae clog the water intake pipes, interfering with the irrigation process in the olive groves.

Moreover, in these ecosystems, there is a considerable accumulation of organic muck that consumes available dissolved oxygen, thus releasing nutrients such as phosphorus into the water. The more organic sediments, the more conditions there are to stimulate the growth of algae. The solution to improving water quality was simple.

An aeration system incorporating two OctoAir™-10 industrial diffusers was set up. The basin in question has a water volume of 200,000 m³. Three weeks after the installation of the aeration, the algae had decreased significantly in spite of the summer heat. The customer can now better manage the oxygen level and organic matter in the basin for better water quality management. The customer says he has never seen such a great water quality in his pond throughout the growing season since the basin was built in 2011.OctoAir™ industrial diffusers for irrigation ponds

Aquaculture ponds and fishing ponds

Recreational fishing farms are another excellent application for lake-bottom aeration. This client wanted healthy ponds to stock fish for the purpose of offering fishing activities to interested tourists. Excellent water quality was essential for healthy, strong fish so reproduction rates would be high.

For a healthy pond, we recommended a Canadian Air™ aeration system. To ensure a good oxygen level throughout the two main ponds, 4 lines of 50 ‘each of Bubble Tubing linear diffuser were installed. A thermostat control unit known as a C-20 thermostat was used to program the CanadianAir aeration system according to the ambient air temperature. In the heat of summer, the aeration system turns off at a certain temperature (23° C), and then resumes operations once temperatures have dropped. This allowed the client to prevent the excessive warming of water that would be harmful to fish survival during summer heat waves.

Another advantage of such an aeration system with thermostat-timer is that it also acts as a deicing system in winter. The openings in the ice created by the movement of the warmer water towards the surface also allows toxic gases to escaping from the organic sediment on the lake bottom, into the atmosphere, rather that become trapped under the ice. This explains why aeration in winter is important for preventing fish kills. The Bubble Tubing® installed at the bottom of the pond ensures a good rate of oxygen transfer in all seasons!Aeration is efficient to reduce coliforms and e-coli in the water

This photo from the summer of 2014 demonstrates the effectiveness of the CanadianAir aeration system: the water is clear and the fish reproduction rate is high while fish mortality (from winter fish kill) is very low.

“PRIME-VERT” subsidy

The “PRIME-VERT” grant is currently available for fruit and vegetable producers in Quebec who want to buy an aeration system for their irrigation pond to decontaminate it by lowering the level of e-coli and coliform types of bacteria. The Prime-Vert program is a program of financial support from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

This program that came into effect on April 1st 2009, can potentially allow you to recover up to 70% of your investment to a maximum of up to $ 2,000 per pond for electrical aeration and $ 4,000 for solar aeration. (Please note that conditions of the grant may vary from year to year).

Procedure

  1. Fill out and return to us a quote request form (red contact us button below).
  2. Upon receipt of your quote, please contact your regional MAPAQ agronomist to learn more about your eligibility for a grant.

* Following the CRAAQ conference on irrigation in horticulture of November 25th 2010, we recommend the reading of Caroline Lee (Ph.D., Agronomist, Research) and Mylène Generous research’s results in the article “The safety of fresh fruits and vegetables: Towards optimal management of irrigation water “, section” Water Treatment”at the bottom of page 4 and page 5 (available in French only).

For more information about the grant, visit the website of the Government of Quebec
You can also download the PDF document (available in French only): Aménagement d’un système d’aération pour les étangs d’irrigation. Check the page regularly as these grant programs are continuously updated.

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