Water Quality Issues
Identifying the Symptoms of Unhealthy Water
Do you notice an unpleasant taste or odor emanating from your lake water? How about an excessive or toxic algae growth in your reservoir? Perhaps you’re experiencing periodic fish kills, fluctuating pH levels, or presence of manganese, iron, or hydrogen sulfide in your water body? Whichever the case, it’s probably due to the low dissolved oxygen levels in the water. To help you better understand your predicament, General Environmental Systems has compiled a comprehensive list of common water quality issues and their corresponding symptoms and causes. Read on to learn more.
Taste and Odor Issues
Water taste and odor problems are the most common symptoms of an unhealthy lake or reservoir. These can be the result of excessive algae growth in the water.
A wide variety of algae are responsible for taste and odor complaints. Some types, like blue-green algae, can be toxic. Algae growth can be caused by excessive nutrient availability, lack of water movement, or internal nutrient recycling due to a lack of oxygen in the bottom water.
Manganese, Iron, and Other Elements
In a healthy lake or reservoir, manganese and other minerals are limited to the bottom sediment. When there is a lack of oxygen in the water above the sediment, the elements are chemically reduced to soluble form and enter the water column.
Removing manganese in the treatment plant is normally done with hazardous, expensive chemicals. If not adequately removed in the treatment process, it can pose major problems to consumers when it comes in contact with chlorine (turning clothes in washing machines and water in swimming pools brown).
Many of these issues can be addressed by maintaining adequate oxygen levels in the reservoir. Doing so can also increase filter runs, lessen the waste of treated water during flushing, and create less sludge.
Periodic Fish Kills
Like many of the symptoms of an unhealthy lake or reservoir, widespread fish deaths can result directly from low dissolved oxygen levels in the water or from exposure and consumption of toxic algae.