Oxygen is the key to clean ponds


To the Editor:

Do you realize that for the volume of nitrate from septic systems on the Island to equal the nitrate from rainfall, the Island would need to have 64,000 year-round households of three?

It is possible to restore ponds. It has been done around the country and the world since the 1980s. The Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) current focus on septic systems is a guarantee of forever-dead ponds and estuaries. We would be better stewards of our water resources if we focused on restoring ponds.
When pond bottoms can once again grow meadows of pond grasses, the grasses will consume excess nitrates by the ton that human development has added to the watershed of the ponds. A pond bottom dies when it becomes anaerobic, without oxygen. The byproducts of anaerobic decomposition of organic bottom sediment are hydrogen sulfide and methane gas. These poisons, combined with the lack of oxygen, kill the beneficial aerobic bacteria, microbes, and all the bottom life. There is only one rule required for healthy water bodies — a mixed and oxygenated water column, 24/7, 365 days.
To restore any water body, the bottom sediment must be removed. There are only two ways to remove bottom sediment. One is dredging, the other is oxygenation.

Dredging is the fastest, and the organic sediment would be great to remediate soil for agricultural use, but getting through the permitting process is almost impossible, and when dredging is done, it usually requires oxygenation to finish the cleaning process.

Oxygenation works great, although more slowly than dredging. It works by feeding the aerobic bacteria and microbes that consume the bottom sediment over time, based on how much oxygenation is provided.

Fortunately, there is a newly patented dissolved oxygen (DO) generator, a revolutionary turbine design that is probably the most significant water-restoration tool invented in 50 years. The DO output, energy efficiency, and maintenance-free simple design are amazing, and it should be investigated as a tool for pond and estuary restoration.
This turbine, properly utilized, has the potential to work with natural processes to provide measurable results in months, not the theoretical results for 50 years from now being peddled by the DEP’s current source-reduction philosophy.

It is time to enter the 21st century and demand results for our tax dollars and our environment. To see this turbine, go to Varacorp.com, Fraccure.com, and search YouTube for the Toring Turbine. Google “pond and lake restoration,” and you will find successful results on projects with inferior aerators. Restoring our ponds and estuaries is possible by scaling up the technology, which is really just supplementing nature’s processes with loads of oxygen.
For those who want to learn about nitrates and where they come from, search “Nitrogen in the Nation’s Rain.” For those who do not know, the original, natural, source of nitrate is lightning.

Donald Muckerheide
Oak Bluffs