The Health Risks Associated with Stagnating Water in Your Backyard or Municipality

Do you live near a pond or dugout of stagnating water?

Do you realize stagnating water is in the process of losing dissolved oxygen and its ability to be a life source for all surrounding it? In a nutshell, if your retention pond is stagnating it is in a deep decline. Soon you will see vegetation growth throughout the pond, muck accumulating at the shores and a simultaneous loss of water clarity. As summer temperatures soar you will see algae form on the pond’s surface and an acceleration of rotting organic matter in the pond will release a less than appealing odor.

No doubt, owning property next to or near a small pond or dugout is one of the pleasures of suburban and rural living. A beautiful body of clean, fresh water that you can see right to the bottom is something that greatly enhances the value of your property. But just like other aspects of home and land ownership, maintenance is required.

A body of water that is not flowing requires your immediate attention. Most people don’t realize active management and routine maintenance of a stagnating water body can reverse your pond’s deterioration – and by doing so, prevent unhealthy algae and pond muck to build up.

Aeration and treatments with beneficial bacteria are widely documented as solutions for reversing the adverse effects of stagnating water. Moreover, specialists such as Environmental Water Remediation Experts are specially trained to thoroughly assess stagnating ponds or lakes and can recommend a multi-pronged approach that often includes vegetation management solutions. After all, much of the source of the decay of ponds naturally comes from organic and inorganic run-off from land at or near your pond’s shoreline.

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Why should you take action?

Simply put, stagnating water next to your home or cottage can pose a serious health risk to your children, your neighbours, your pets and to wildlife in your area. Check out the following table documenting the hazards associated with stagnant water.

Hazards Associated with Stagnant Water

Hazard Effects
Insects Mosquitos and various other unwanted bugs breed and multiply in stagnant water and can spread diseases to your family and neighbours like West Nile and Encephalitis. A stagnant pond can also spread West Nile, Encephalitis, Swamp Fever, and Heartworm to your dogs and horses. Prevention of these serious diseases is far easier than dealing with the consequences of sick children, pets or livestock. Treating animals for these illnesses can be very expensive too.
Rodents Rats, mice, muskrats, beavers and racoons are attracted to stagnant ponds as a water source and can be vectors for spreading other diseases like Giardia, and causing property damage making nests and searching for food.
Poisoning Ponds and small bodies of standing water seem like ideal places to children wanting to cool off in hot weather but unhealthy water laced with cyanobacteria or algae blooms can lead to poisoning and sickness.
Disease Diseases such as Crytosporidium parvum, Giardia lamblia and e coli live in stagnant water and can be spread to anyone handling the water. The stagnant water can also serve as a reservoir of these diseases that can contaminate drinking water accidently during flooding etc. Professional help with the assessment of the stagnant body of water and proper advice and assistance in remediation can save a lot of time, money and more importantly can protect your health.
Aquatic Death Dying off of fish, amphibians, beneficial insects, water creatures and water plants can create layers of organic matter at the bottom of the stagnant water. Besides creating a stinky, messy eyesore this slimy bottom on the pond or dugout can be a deadly hazard for children who may get bogged down in the mud beneath the water and drown. Unfortunately one of the main reasons people swimming in dug-outs drown is because the sides of the dug-out are steeply sloped and slippery with rotted organic material. Once in the water getting out again becomes nearly impossible for a tired swimmer when the sides of the dugout are slippery and muddy.
Animal Death Stagnant ponds can accidentally kill pets and livestock if other clean water sources are not readily available and the animals drink the contaminated water due to thirst. Cyanobacteria found in stagnant water are deadly to pets and livestock.
Infection Swimming in stagnant water can be very hazardous for your pets causing things from minor ear infections and skin irritations to sudden death from deadly bacteria.
Containment Even when fenced to control access to children and pets municipal ponds that are not being properly managed can still be hazardous as fences don’t contain mosquitoes, rodents or the smell of rotting organic matter permeating the air.

What You Can Do About Stagnant Water

  1. Find professional help – you need someone knowledgeable to assess your individual situation and to honestly provide you with the lowest cost solutions to handle the hazards that are inherent to your particular pond, dug out or small lake. Specialized knowledge of stagnant water and its management are a must in this situation.
  2. Implementing the suggested solutions can work very quickly to put your property back into a healthy state and will be money well spent on the health and welfare of your family, neighbours, pets and livestock.
  3. Maintenance of your system is also a must – the effort to maintain your water feature will be an ongoing effort that must continue annually. However, once the system is in place and functional it can be very cost efficient and can greatly enhances your properties’ beauty and value.
  4. On a municipal level, your voice counts as an informed and concerned citizen – your voice has importance especially when you are armed with the knowledge and facts to support your assertions about the hazards of standing stagnant water in your municipality. The neglected pond, ditch, or swampy area is jeopardizing the health of everyone living nearby.

Small ponds that are properly aerated and cleaned of harmful bacteria and insects can be ideal for ornamental fish, can provide recreational activities for your family and neighbours and can be a draw for attractive waterfowl. A clean drinking source can also be very beneficial to the local wildlife populations as well.

An upgrade to a small pond or water feature on your property can pay big dividends in terms of enjoyment of the recreational opportunities it provides. Like many other home improvements; the increased real estate value for an attractive, clean water feature on your yard site can substantial. A small pond that can be enjoyed for swimming, snorkeling or wading is something that can be very desirable on a hot summer day. Many dogs love to swim and play in water as well and it can be a very good source of exercise and cooling down for your furry friend during the summer.

There are a myriad of things that can be done to enhance your pond, dugout or water feature and it’s something that can be tailored to both your budget and your individual situation. A professional assessment can save you money, time and labour and can definitely save you heartache if you encounter any of the numerous downsides to stagnant water.

Experts in water management need to be sought out by your municipality as well. Enhancing the local landscape, creating more recreational opportunities and protecting the health of the public are very important aspects of every community.

Tired of living near a pond or dugout with stagnant water? Find out what you can do to fix the problem.

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