Sludge Control


Getting Rid Of Organic Sediments - Sludge Removal

Large build-ups of organic sediment, sludge, or muck are commonplace in many water bodies. This is the result of years of nutrients and organic matter entering the pond water through runoff containing fertilizers, grass clippings, animal waste, septic waste, etc. Also, leaves dropping or blowing into the pond. All of the above contributes the majority of this organic material, but aquatic weeds, algae, dust, pollen, fish and waterfowl droppings are also contributors.

When oxygen is depleted in a water body, anaerobic bacteria partially break down the sediment. In the process, they expel hydrogen sulfide. Hydrogen sulfide is the rotten egg smell present when you stir up the muck in most lakes or ponds. The cause of the odor is a lack of oxygen. Hydrogen sulfide is not only highly toxic to aerobic or good bacteria; it is also toxic to insects, and to fish at levels of 0.3 mg/l (a very low amount). The anaerobic (bad) bacteria also release ammonia into the water column. Ammonia feeds weeds and algae, and is toxic to fish at levels greater than 3.0 mg/l. Also released are methane, nitrogen gas and carbon dioxide. These also are toxic to aerobic (good) bacteria, insects and fish. Carbon dioxide and methane kill fish at levels greater than 30 mg/l. So the causes of organic sediment (sludge) accumulation, unpleasant odor and fish kills in lakes are a lack of oxygen and high levels of toxic gases.

The presence of sludge or a rotten egg smell, are sure signs that the bottom is lacking in oxygen at times during the year. Bottom oxygen tests may show that the bottom is oxygenated. But these tests are usually made during the day, when aquatic plants are putting oxygen into the water. Bottom oxygen tests in the middle of the night may show no oxygen because plants take up oxygen during the night. Lack of oxygen also depends on the time of year. Just a few hours without oxygen is enough to kill the beneficial bacteria and insects that feed on organic sludge.

If oxygen is present throughout the water column at all times, beneficial aerobic microorganisms and insects feed on the organic sediment. It is similar to bacteria and insects feeding on compost. The bacteria feed on the organic sediment, and the insects feed on either the bacteria or the muck, or both. Bacteria are high protein food for insects. The bacteria convert organic sediment into carbon dioxide and water and a microscopic amount of inorganic “ash”. In this process, the good bacteria exude an enzyme to break down the cells of waste material in order to consume the various types of muck within the sludge layer. It is evident that these problems will not go away on their own, and while some methods such as chemicals work to reduce algae, they are dangerous to the fish and can be harmful to the environment. Remember, just as aspirin relieves some cold symptoms, but does not cure the cold, chemical additives temporarily relieve the symptoms of a poor aquatic environment, but do not cure the problem.

Our natural and safe Clear Pond Dry Formula accelerates this process by adding our natural bacteria and enzyme. As the organic sediment disappears, it becomes a food source for fish. Insects are an excellent food for fish. One pound of phosphorus from the sediment can make up to two tons of weeds, or one pound of phosphorus can make up to eighty pounds of fish. It depends on whether the phosphorus has been moved up the food chain from muck to bacteria to insects to fish, or whether the phosphorus simply re-dissolves back into the water column where it can be used again by weeds and /or algae.

Just as waste treatment plants seed sewage treatment lagoons with microorganisms to decompose and reduce sludge, Clear Pond seeds water bodies such as ponds or lakes with a special formulation of beneficial Living Organisms that have repeatedly been shown to reduce organic sediment. Studies have shown an average of 3 inches of sludge removal per month using our Clear Pond Formula along with an appropriate aeration system. Aquatic biologists and consultants have performed numerous studies and have found organic sediment reductions in every case. One test showed a decrease in sludge depth of 36.9 inches in one year.

Although dredging can deepen a lake, making it more difficult for submerged vegetation to grow, dredging does nothing for water quality, nothing for algae, little to reduce odor and nothing to prevent fish kills or improve fish health and growth. The combination of the ABI Oxygenation System and our natural Clear Pond Formula of living bacteria and will improve all of these aspects, for far less expense and inconvenience.


While odor is a subjective phenomenon, subject to everyone’s sense of smell, the most common cause of odor in lakes, ponds, rivers and reservoirs is hydrogen sulfide, that rotten egg smell. Our natural Process of lake and pond restoration using the CLEAR POND BENEFICAL BACTERIA and Oxygenation System consistently removes hydrogen sulfide. Anaerobic bacteria are those bacteria that live without oxygen and produce hydrogen sulfide. When aeration inverts and oxygenates a body of water, the anaerobes die and no more hydrogen sulfide is produced. At the same time the hydrogen sulfide already in the water is quickly exhausted to the atmosphere, where it is neutralized and eliminated.

CLEAR POND DRY FORMULA BENEFICIAL BACTERIA AND ENZYMES is a special blend of beneficial non-toxic bacteria and enzymes from nature that acts as a catalyst to biodegrade non-living organic matter and reduces available nutrients in the water, thus improving water quality.