The UK is bracing itself for another bitterly cold winter, following weather forecasters' predictions that the freezing conditions that blighted us last season are set to return. And with last winter the coldest for 31 years, with an average UK-wide temperature of 1.5 degrees centigrade, water-quality management specialist Otterbine is warning local authority and amenity groundsmen to prepare for the cold snap by installing their ponds, lakes and water features with effective aeration to keep ice at bay.
According to meteorologists, cold winters tend to come in clusters, with winter 2010/11 expected to bring heavy snow to western parts of the UK while eastern areas are plagued by sub-zero temperatures as low as -15 degrees centigrade. Such Arctic conditions pose a problem for grounds professionals struggling to keep water features open to the public and reduce the health and safety risk iced-over water poses.
Aeration is the answer. By mixing warmer bottom waters with freezing surface water, Otterbine aeration systems can prevent ponds, lakes and water features from freezing in the first place or open up a hole in the ice. Typically, an aerator can open an iced-up area of up to 10,000sq ft in just a day or two.
By keeping water ice-free, ponds and lakes can be kept open to public and amenity users - this is of particular benefit for boating lakes and docks, preventing their closure as well as ice-related damage to the boats kept on them. And while aquatic life beneath remains unaffected by the ice, waterfowl suffer when water freezes, relying as they do on ponds and lakes for food and shelter. We're also all too aware of the tragic consequences of children, adults and much-loved pets venturing onto frozen waters, so the health and safety benefits aeration brings are manyfold.
Selection of an appropriate system, however, is essential. Otterbine says that its Air Flo 2 sub-surface aerator is particularly suited to the task of de-icing. This air diffusion system works by using an air compressor located onshore to pump air to diffuser manifolds at the bottom of the water. Energy efficient and quiet in operation, the Air Flo 2 fine-bubble diffused aeration system operates at depths of up to 12 metres.
The company's High Volume powerful surface-spray aerator and shallow-area Mixers are also ideal de-icers. However, you should seek expert advice when choosing an aerator to perform this task as water depth and area size, location, and local climate and conditions will all affect the unit's capability to keep water from freezing when cold weather strikes.
For more information, contact distributor Lely UK on 01480 226848/226872, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.otterbine.com.