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How to Improve the Water Quality of Your Manmade Lake, Retention Pond or Large Pond


Treating and Improving Common Water Quality Issues; Including Water Clarity, Algae, Odor and More


Water quality is an important factor

that can affect the health of your lakes ecosystem, as well as the recreational value of the lake and the surrounding community. Poor water quality can also make the area unsightly reducing the value of the entire property. There are several steps that can be taken to improve the water quality of a lake. We’ll go over these steps to help bring your system back to a healthy, beautiful state.




Reduce the Amount of Pollution and Runoff Entering the Lake

Improves: water quality and clarity, helps reduce algae

Cost: $


One of the most effective ways to improve lake water quality is to reduce the amount of pollution that enters the lake. This can be done through proper waste disposal, such as using proper septic systems and properly disposing of household chemicals. It is also important to prevent runoff from agricultural lands and urban areas from entering the lake, as the runoff can contain fertilizers, pesticides and other pollutants. This can be done through the use of best management practices, such as using buffer zones to filter out contaminants before they reach the lake. High amounts of animal and bird waste can also cause issues with the water quality. Installing a fence around the lake or using a bird deterrent may help reduce their effects on your system. As an example, here in Canada, geese can wreak havoc on smaller lakes, ponds and retention ponds. They produce significant waste when in large groups, which can lead to extensive water issues.


Steps to take:

  • Limit fertilizers and pesticides around the lake

  • Limit runoff around the lake

  • Reduce pollution

  • Limit the animals and birds that have access to the lake



Reduce the Suns Effect On The Water

Improves: water quality, helps reduce algae

Cost: $ to $$$$


The sun plays a large role on water quality. There are two things that cause algae. One is excess nutrients, the second is the sun. By planting vegetation to help shade the water, you can help reduce the suns effects on the water. Keep in mind, there is a delicate balance with shade plants, when the leaves fall off in winter they can add nutrients to the water from the decaying leaves.


Another common practice is to dye the pond, the most common lake dye is a blue dye. This helps reflect the sun’s rays, in turn reducing the suns water penetration and reducing its effects on the water.


Steps to take:

  • Plant large sun covering trees around the pond - $$$$

  • Use pond/lake dye to reflect sunlight - $



Increase Aeration and Water Movement

Improves: water quality, water clarity, removes excess nutrients, helps reduce algae

Cost: $$$


Water Aeration - Oxygen improves the healthy bacteria system in the water, in turn leading to a healthier system and clearer water. Bacteria eat nutrients in the water which will reduce the effects of the excess nutrients and prevent the bad bacteria from taking over. Bacteria are “probiotics” for the lake.

Solution: Add an aerator. A water aerator will add oxygen to the water and will slightly agitate the surface. They come in a variety of types and different output volumes. Some will simply bubble while others will create a large bubbling effect that comes out of the water.


Water Movement – Water movement helps keep the bacteria healthy. It also prevents or eliminates stagnant water which can cause major water quality issues. Water movement also discourages water breeding insects such as mosquitoes; it can also eliminate odor problems that are associated with stagnant water.

Solution: Add a lake fountain or waterfall. Both will agitate the surface of the water, create water movement and aerate the water all at once. They come in a wide variety of options.

Lake fountain for water movement and water quality