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Foul smelling bottom mud.
#37081 08/15/04 09:51 AM
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First of all, hello everyone. I have been reading this board for a long time, and finally registered. I have a 1 acre pond in south-central NC that I estimate to be at least 30 years old. Average depth around 10'. We bought the property two years ago and started clearing the overgrowth and brush from the dam and banks. There were trees / saplings growing up to the water's edge. Last spring I decided to drawdown about 4' so I could renovate the sides; unfortunately the draw went faster than planned, and I lost about 7' of water. The banks are now clear of brush to about 50' from the pond, and I have started removing smaller trees from the dam. The loader operator removed as much mud from the pond bottom as possible, but there is still about 2' of grey stinking mud on the bottom. I have two questions: is this soft mud going to hurt when I try to establish cover, and if so, how can I remove it short of a complete drawdown and drying?

Re: Foul smelling bottom mud.
#37082 08/15/04 07:18 PM
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I will try and help you with your question.

May ponds have been neglected and get overgrown like the one you describe. This is mother nature's way of trying to rapidly fill the pond back up with dead stuff so "she" can grow land plants on it again. The encroachment of trees around the pond allows an excessive amont of tree leaves to enter the pond and these dead leaves increase the fertility and organic sediment that are responsible for filling-in the pond. The black dead material the operator removed is the result of undecomposed organics (internal & external) that had previously settled to the bottom and did not decompose. Layer, upon layer annually accumulates.

When this dead organic material settles to the bottom and it loses the dissolved oxygen around it, it turns black and smelly (anoxic / anerobic) like that you describe and have been dealing with.

The extra depth of drawn down was actually a benefit to you. This allowed for removal of more of the black bottom sludge.

I do not fully understand your 2 questions.

1. I am not sure if the 2' of grey stinking mud is above or below the current water line. Is the 2' stinking mud on exposed bottom or is it on the pond bottom that is still covered with water?.

I assume that it is still underwater and the operator removed basically all he could see that was above water on the exposed botttom. Correct?


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Re: Foul smelling bottom mud.
#37083 08/16/04 08:08 AM
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I would look into putting a good aeration system in. Make sure it is done by someone who knows what they are doing. You will need to run it slowly at first if your pond has fish in it so that you don't kill them. The smell will be strong at first where the bubbles come up from the bottom but as you add disolved oxygen to the water and decompose that materila at the bottom in a rich oxygen environment the smell will go away. Again, be careful as you bring it on line. You may need to run it 4 hours a day for a few weeks and then 8 and etc. until you can run it 24 X 7. You'll be amazed at how it will improve the water quality and deal with the smelly bottom mud. Good Luck.

Re: Foul smelling bottom mud.
#37084 08/17/04 04:38 PM
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Thanks for the quick replies. We had a lot of rain recently, and I my pond is now about half full, probably 4' of water over the mud. Concerning structure, I wasn't sure how to add structure that wouldn't sink into the deep mud. Perhaps I should wait until aeration to install structure? I have no idea what kind of fish population I have, but I do have a lot of small to VERY large frogs, as well as turtles of all sizes. I estimate at full pond I will have about 10 linear feet of good solid bottom under water before reaching the mud, so maybe I can place the structure between the shore and the mud, in that first 10'. I am not aware of anyone who does aeration in this area. Would it hurt if I installed a single 9" disc membrane aerator myself?

Re: Foul smelling bottom mud.
#37085 08/17/04 09:20 PM
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I'm no aerator expert. Advertizers on Pond Boss Mag. have systems. You are going to spend probably $800 or more for a good one but it will be worth every cent. You need one that is placed at the bottom of the deepest parts of your pond and to stir that whole column of water. I have 2 in my pond feed by a double pump and my pond is about 1 1/2 acres. I would contact the manufactures or hopefully some of our other buddies can offer more info.


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