Breathing Life Into Water Bodies: How A Surface Water Aerator Works

Posted on: 20 June 2023

Surface water aerators are essential tools in water treatment and aquatic ecosystem management. They are designed to increase the oxygen levels in the water, helping to improve water quality, support aquatic life, and accelerate the breakdown of organic waste. Here's a full look at how they work and what they do.

Mechanism of Surface Water Aerators

Surface water aerators operate on a relatively simple, yet effective principle. They agitate the water's surface, promoting the exchange of gases between the water and the atmosphere. Oxygen from the air dissolves into the water, while gases like carbon dioxide and methane escape from the water into the air.

The most common types of surface aerators include paddlewheel, propeller, and fountain aerators. 

Paddlewheel and propeller aerators have rotating mechanisms that stir the water, creating turbulence and surface movement. Fountain aerators, on the other hand, spray water into the air, maximizing the water surface area exposed to the atmosphere for gas exchange.

Oxygen Transfer

Aerators are designed to optimize the rate of oxygen transfer into the water. Oxygen dissolves better in turbulent water than still water, and the agitation caused by the aerator enhances this process. 

As the water churns, bubbles form, providing a large surface area for the oxygen in the air to dissolve into the water. When these oxygen-rich bubbles burst, they release the absorbed oxygen into the water.

Benefits of Aeration

Surface water aerators serve several important functions beyond merely oxygenating the water. By improving water quality, they create a healthier environment for fish and other aquatic life. 

The increased oxygen levels accelerate the decomposition of organic material and pollutants by aerobic bacteria, helping to reduce odor and harmful substances in the water.

In addition, the circulation caused by the aerators can help prevent the growth of harmful algae blooms. This happens as the movement of the water disrupts the sunlight reaching the algae, impeding its growth. 

Moreover, the mixing effect also helps distribute heat more evenly throughout the water body, preventing stratification and the related adverse effects on aquatic life.

Maintenance and Efficiency

Given their critical role, the efficiency and proper maintenance of surface water aerators are paramount. 

Over time, organic matter, algae, or other types of debris can obstruct the aerator's operation. Regular inspections are necessary to keep these devices running optimally. Maintenance can involve clearing debris from the aerator, checking for wear and tear on moving parts, and ensuring the power source is reliable.

The efficiency of a surface aerator is also influenced by its design and placement. Aerators should be located where they can have the maximum impact, often in areas with the least natural water movement. They must also be appropriately sized and powered to meet the specific needs of the water body they serve.

Contact a surface wastewater aeration treatment service near you to learn more.