• Lynne Melvin

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

Updated: Dec 9, 2021

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. This is why it's important to understand what dissolved oxygen is and how it effects your water.

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. We've put together a checklist that you can use to diagnose a pond or lake near you.

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.

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


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.