General Manager Dr. Emma Saunders discusses the benefits of using bacterial solutions to keep the waters of ornamental and recreational water features free from algae and contaminants that disrupt the ability to maintain the water quality levels.
“Golf is a good walk spoiled.” – Mark Twain
Whilst this famous adage is one that we wholeheartedly disagree with at Genesis, we are all too aware of the role that inadequate course maintenance can play in spoiling a good day of golf.
Golf plays an important part in the nation’s leisure time, with approximately 1.13 million adults playing the sport on a monthly basis in England alone.
The golf industry adds a gross value of approximately £2 billion to the UK economy, with courses ranging from the sublime – such as Wales’ Celtic Manor which hosted the exhilarating 2010 Ryder Cup – to courses that leave much to be desired.
Whilst keeping fairways and greens immaculate is par for the course, keeping features such as ponds in top condition can leave maintenance staff pitching from the rough. Far too often the decision is made to neglect these features, leading to water bodies which fail to meet the standards of the rest of the course.
What makes pond maintenance on golf courses so difficult?
In order to keep the grass at its greenest, fertilisers are often used to maintain the quality of the fairway and green. Run off from this activity, however, can cause nutrients leaching from the land into the water bodies. An increased level of both phosphorous and nitrogen in a pond or lake will cause the algae which naturally reside there to bloom. This blooming is a period of intense growth and confers a pea soup-like consistency to the water.
Not only is this unsightly but also results in the generation of malodours through the depletion of oxygen within the water body.
As algae grows it uses oxygen and causes the generation of a stagnant water body. Stagnation changes the balance of life within a pond or lake, resulting in the die-off or movement of the local ecology to more favourable areas. Stagnant areas are also the preferred breeding grounds for pests such as mosquitos.
What creates that bad ‘pond smell’?
Once oxygen has been depleted biomass within the water body will begin to be anaerobically degraded by specialist microorganisms. One such class of microorganisms are the sulphate reducing bacteria that breathe sulphate instead of oxygen and produce sulphide instead of carbon dioxide.
Sulphide creates an unpleasant rotten egg smell and can be detected at very low levels by the receptors of the nose. As sulphate is present in most groundwaters within the UK, the probability of the generation of sulphide gas from stagnant water bodies is high.
This anaerobic microbial action can also turn the ‘pea soup’ into an unsightly murky black/brown, as dying algal biomass is degraded.
Will fountains solve the problem?
A common method of tackling odour issues is through aeration, where a piece of equipment such as a fountain causes movement of the water to enable a greater contact with the air, with water movement capable of disturbing algal growth and oxygen supplementation able to turn off sulphate reduction.
Although fountains are capable of impacting the growth of algae and tackling sulphate reducing bacteria, this method might not be able to adequately or cost effectively service an entire water body.
How can bacteria help?
Using our expertise in bioscience, we have developed innovative complementary solutions which can help improve water quality as well as keeping the pond water clearer and fresher smelling for longer.
Our biological products contain stable, environmentally-friendly and safe bacteria which are capable of growing in a range of different environments from ponds to wastewater treatment facilities. These bacteria, combined with our unique eco-benign® chemistry, delivers an effective treatment option which offers benefits to both the course aesthetics and the local ecology.
The aim of using biological products in this instance would be to outcompete the problematic algae and sulphate reducing bacteria for nutrients and impact their growth through the production of antimicrobial compounds. By adding additional bacterial cells to a system, the available nitrogen and phosphorous has to be shared amongst the actively growing population.
As the Bacillus microbes within our products can be supplemented in large numbers and have very fast growth rates, much less food is therefore available for algal growth. This competition keeps the algal growth in check and enables the system to remain naturally balanced and oxygenated via photosynthesis.
As well as outcompeting algae, the supplementation of additional Bacillus, which expands the metabolic potential of the system, will decrease the substrates available for sulphate reduction. This, coupled with the production of antimicrobial compounds, keeps the generation of odours to a minimum.
Through their colonisation of the system, our blend of Bacillus is able to reduce sludge and combat turbidity issues, keeping the water clear and sparkling for longer.
How difficult is it to use these products?
Using these products is easy and safe, with our biological products able to be dosed directly into water bodies. Pre-emptive dosing also creates a robust system able to better withstand nutrient loading and therefore prevent the occurrence of algal blooming.
Our pond and water management products aren’t purely used for the benefit of golf courses but also facilities across the leisure industry at large – with ornamental and recreational ponds and lakes often valuable aesthetic features utilised by hotels, spas and luxury restaurants across the entirety of the UK.
Whether it’s lucky pennies at the bottom of a fountain or irretrievable balls resulting from unlucky shots – the ability to see the contents at the bottom of your water feature shouldn’t be a hope, but an expectation.
Find out more about our safe, effective and natural microbial solutions for pond and water management, whether that’s pond maintenance on golf courses or elsewhere. Or read Emma’s Staff Profile to learn more about her role at Genesis.
To find out more about Genesis Biosciences, visit our About page.
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