Nutrient runoff results in algae blooms, rendering fresh-water ponds unusable. Wastewater ponds, residential ponds, small lakes, drinking water reservoirs — all are susceptible to upstream nutrients being washed into the water, resulting in algae blooms and making them unfit for use. And when water becomes especially precious, as in times of drought, keeping these fresh water resources clean is of the utmost importance. SludgeHammer is used in preventing algae bloom in lakes and ponds. 

SludgeHammer was asked to intervene at a CAFO site in Northern California. The farm, like the rest of the state, was suffering through a years-long drought. The operation’s fresh water came from on-site wells, supplemented by a 30-acre rain catchment pond. Management was concerned that if the drought persisted, it would draw down and deplete its ground water. Consequently, they needed to ensure all fresh water sources were available for use, including the rainwater catchment pond.

Trouble started as the weather warmed and upstream livestock grazing caused nutrients to flow into the catchment pond. A dense algae bloom began to appear, making the water unusable for livestock.


The PondBot starves out algae as it swims through the pond. SludgeHammer brought in the PondBot, a self-propelled, programmable, solar-powered robot which simultaneously aerates and inoculates pond water with SludgeHammer Blend™ bacteria. Three weeks after being placed in the pond, the PondBot’s bacterial Blend™ consumed the animal waste nutrients and starved out the algae, causing it to collapse. The result was clear, clean, fresh pond drinking water, ready for livestock in the middle of a drought. Furthermore, once the algae had been eliminated, the pond became a more balanced ecosystem with a reinvigorated habitat of plants and fish, amphibian, and insect activity.

Get results from the PondBot

  • Controls algae blooms
  • Improves water quality
  • Continuous aeration and inoculation
  • Records water conditions
  • Ends noxious odors
  • Moves under its own power
  • Can be remotely monitored and controlled through Bluetooth or the internet