Effluent feature: Benefits of effluent pond stirring

Along with choosing the right-sized pond, with a good, reliable pump, stirring is an important factor that shouldn’t be overlooked

A Nevada Electric Stirrer with the Typhoon™ propeller, a safe and high-performing pond mixer

Stirring is a vital part of the process of creating nutrient-rich effluent that will help you save money and increase pasture yield. Stirring effluent pond storage does not have to be complicated or time-consuming when you have the right equipment in place. 

Stirring your effluent pond storage thoroughly allows for everything to stay in suspension. It keeps solids from crusting on the top and developing weed growth or creating a hard layer at the bottom that can become almost impossible to break up. It’s especially important to stir thoroughly if your effluent system includes a bladder, an above-ground storage tank, or an HDPE-lined pond. This is because you cannot easily dig them out.

A common clay-lined pond with a PTO-driven Nevada TurboStir 7000

Here are four main benefits of effluent pond stirring:

1. Maintain maximum storage capacity

Mixing the effluent together helps agitate the solids so they’re broken down and kept in the solution, rather than settling at the bottom of the pond.
If you allow the solids to settle, they build up over time using up the pond’s storage capacity. It’s important to maximise capacity as much as possible, especially during winter when there’s increased water volume.

2. Increased pumpservice life

Some of the solids in effluent — such as sand — are abrasive. Over time, these can get into the mechanisms of the pump and wear it down, costing time and money in pump maintenance.

Stirring the effluent pond creates an even spread of these abrasive materials through the liquid. This cuts back on the amount of abrasive material that will enter the pump and helps to lengthen the pump’s operating life.

If your effluent storage is a bladder, these also require a PTO pump for stirring

3. Create a more even nutrient spread

Nutrients won’t naturally distribute evenly through an effluent pond. This means when it comes to applying effluent, you can end up giving some paddocks a high loading of nutrients, while others get next to nothing.
Stirring distributes nutrients evenly throughout the effluent, so you can have an even application across the whole farm, creating greater returns for your efforts. 

4. Keep it tidy

There’s no argument that effluent ponds aren’t exactly a picturesque feature of any farm, but keeping the pond tidy will help make it pleasant for workers and livestock nearby. Stirring stops sludge or crust from building up on the surface and also helps to keep insect populations and odours at bay.

​How often should I be stirring?

There’s no straightforward rule for how often you should be stirring your effluent pond storage. In general, it’s recommended weekly. During winter, when you’re not irrigating, you can manage stirring fortnightly if you have a powerful enough stirrer that can manage the size of your pond storage. Not all stirrers are built the same, which is why it’s important to check that your stirrer is specified to suit the size and type of your effluent storage.

Do I need a pond stirrer if I already have a solid separator?

An HDPE-lined pond that is well maintained with a Nevada Electric 9m Stirrer

If you’re using a weeping wall or other solid separator method, fine particles still settle and can cause issues later on. Even with solid separation, we recommend having a stirrer.

How long should I be stirring my effluent pond storage?

It’s recommended to stir every week for 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the size of the pond and the power of the stirrer. Start your electric stirrer or PTO pond stirrer up 30 minutes prior to irrigating. If you have a stirrer that’s less powerful, you may have to stir for longer prior to sucking any effluent out of the pond.

If you’re unable to run the stirrer and pump at the same time due to lack of power capacity, it’s recommended to have an effective stirrer that you can turn on first before switching to pumping. Having a correctly specified pond mixer allows for faster more efficient stirring, rather than running an inefficient stirrer all the time.

A Nevada PTO Stirrer keeps this pond in good health

The length of time you need to stir the effluent is different for each situation. For small concrete inground tanks, it may take only 15 minutes with a highly effective submersible stirrer. However, if the effluent storage has not been stirred for several months, it will take a greater amount of time.

Should I be worried about erosion with a pond stirrer?

Not if you have a synthetic-lined pond, bladder, or tank. However, if you have a clay-lined pond (without a synthetic liner), it’s easy to avoid issues with erosion or damage by adjusting the position of the stirrer. Choose the stirrer best suited to your needs. Nevada stirrers are easily adjustable for angle and depth, which protects the walls of your clay-lined pond.

Information supplied by Nevada, nevadagroup.co.nz 

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