Don’t Defer Preventive Maintenance in Lake Management

Published on February 23, 2022

A beautiful, well maintained lake mirrors the blue sky.

Consider a body of water. Some call it a lake; some call it a pond. Others call it a pain. Oftentimes, property owners build a pond or lake thinking that because natural lakes and ponds seem to fare well without any attention, their water feature will as well. This does not hold true for any body of water, be it man-made or natural. 

Do these symptoms sound familiar? Your water feature has strange, slimy globs of green stuff covering its surface. Huge mats of a bizarre grass are floating up from the bottom. The water is pea-soup green. Your waterfall has slowed to a trickle. Two of your pumps have ceased functioning, and the remaining pump is making strange noises. One problem is immediately followed by another, and then another. 

First comes shock, followed by a frantic search for competent advice that often leads to confusion and frustration, because out of all the suggestions you have found, not one recommendation is the same. Finally, anger takes hold as the full reality of your situation begins to sink in. 

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To avoid these pitfalls, you must request budget-planning and maintenance-scheduling input from your lake, pond or stream maintenance provider. Hopefully, you have hired a company with a good background, a proven track record and confirmed references. Hiring a company with a quality reputation and portfolio prepares you to properly care for your water feature and puts you on the road to fully enjoying it. 

Deferred Maintenance

By definition, deferred maintenance means that a property owner has put off needed maintenance or repairs, allowing their property to deteriorate as a result. While this might save money, the longer the maintenance is deferred, the more your property values dwindle, and the costlier it ultimately becomes to repair. 

True lake maintenance requires a complete, multifaceted approach. It’s not just curative; it’s preventative. Putting systems in place like aeration and regular physical maintenance solves existing problems and keeps new ones from aris

Whether it’s postponing nonessential repairs until they become essential or skipping out on regular maintenance until your algae blooms are too much of an eyesore to ignore, there’s just no positive spin you can put on it. “Deferred maintenance” is a polite euphemism for negligent care of a water feature. Just like landscapes, waterscapes need regular, consistent maintenance. 

Key Maintenance Areas

You want your water feature to be a source of joy and beauty in your life — not a thorn in your side. Keeping it healthy and balanced requires regular maintenance of several key areas. 

Don’t defer maintenance in water management.

First, better aeration means better air diffusion systems and fountains placed for the maximum impact on your water feature. It will lead to fewer problems with water quality, algae, fish kill and all sorts of pesky little nuisances. Filters and regular pump maintenance will handle floating and drifting debris that can clog up your pumps and aerators. This keeps your water flow unrestricted and lets you avoid costly repairs. Other essential physical maintenance includes removing debris with nets and trimming and treating aquatic plants, weeds and algae. 

When based on sound research and data collected from a particular lake, the application of chemicals can improve water health with minimal ecological impact. Biological conditioning through the introduction of beneficial fish (e.g., mosquito fish, algae eating fish, catfish) and aquatic plants (e.g., chara, pennywort, cattails) will benefit water clarity and quality. Pests ranging from mosquitos to invasive turtles can be removed using the above methods or more specialized services. 

Prevent. Don’t Defer.

True lake maintenance requires a complete, multifaceted approach. It’s not just curative; it’s preventative. Putting systems in place like aeration and regular physical maintenance solves existing problems and keeps new ones from arising. 

On occasion, even the most beautiful water feature will suffer from one or more of these problems. Even when serviced, equipment can break. Unpredictable weather, power outages and unusual runoff contaminants can impact your water feature. However, if regularly scheduled maintenance is performed, you won’t find yourself spending a small fortune on new pumps, compressors, liners, shoreline borders or aerators. These devices will generally continue to function as intended if regular maintenance is performed. 

This muck-removal system performs where it’s simply inaccessible for conventional equipment.

Properties often defer maintenance for long periods of time, and the results tell a familiar story: vast portions of aquatic equipment in disrepair. Some property owners have to take out large loans to buy brand-new sump pumps, pump vault covers, electric wiring, junction boxes — the list goes on, with a price tag in the tens of thousands of dollars. All this could have been avoided with a little preventative maintenance and proper budgeting practices. 

The moral of the story? Perform regular maintenance on your waterscapes and on the equipment that works together to keep it up and running, so that your water feature won’t be a source of stress and pain. Let it instead bring joy and beauty into your life and the lives of others for generations to come.

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