Otterbine Pinewood Scout Centre reopened thank to Otterbine
Spring 2024

Lake reopened thanks to Otterbine

. minute read

Otterbine’s Air Flo 3 underwater ‘bubbler’ diffused aeration system is the safe solution for Pinewood Scout Centre in Croydon, bringing its lake back to life and reopening it for water sports after a period of closure due to poor water quality.

When Jim Clements, Site Manager and Scout Leader, took on Pinewood Scout Centre last year he made it his mission to reform the site’s grounds, and fixing the lake that hosts the centre’s watersport activities was the first step. With the water quality of the lake being key to keeping the scouts safe, the Otterbine Air Flo 3 aerator was the ideal choice to get the lake back into action.

Jim Clements, Site Manager, is delighted with the water quality at Pinewood Scout Centre thanks to Otterbine.

When it came time to find an aeration solution, Jim was after two key things: a system that is safe and can access the bottom of the lake to increase circulation and oxygenation. Otterbine ticked both boxes. “The lake doesn’t have a natural river feed so is dependent on rainfall and groundwater,” Jim says.

Getting oxygen into the bottom of the lake is critical and the thing I like with the Air Flo is that all the electrics are on the bank. There’s absolutely nothing in the water that could pose a risk to people using the lake.

Jim Clements Site Manager, Pinewood Scout Centre

Otterbine’s Air Flo 3 is an underwater ‘bubbler’ diffused aeration system that is designed to aerate and circulate the water without disturbing its natural surroundings. But best of all for Jim and the scouts at Pinewood, is that the diffuser requires no electricity or moving parts near the water which makes the system entirely safe for swimming and for all of the centre’s water based activities. The circulation and improved oxygenation of the water has massively improved the quality in terms of clarity. I think it’s the best it’s potentially ever been.

Getting the lake back into a safe and working condition is a relief all round after Jim was forced to cancel the scout’s water activity programme last summer: “We had an exceptional drought so water temperature was high, water levels were dropping and conditions were perfect for an algae bloom. It went toxic very quickly and I had to shut the lake. We couldn’t do any activities until I was able to get it back under control,” Jim recounts.

The best way to prevent algal blooms is to increase oxygen levels in the water, and Otterbine has the highest Oxygen Transfer Rates on the market – a key factor in Jim’s choice.

Jim Clements, Site Manager and Scout Leader (left) and Reesink’s Simon Powell.

When I took the site on last year, I had no background in lake management, so it’s been a great learning experience. Sometimes you’re presented with a problem and you have to find the best solution. Reesink has been fantastic. Any technical advice or any questions that I had on parts or suitability, they were just a phone call away.

Jim Clements Site Manager, Pinewood Scout Centre

Thanks to this Otterbine solution, the Pinewood lake is ready to be used for a summer programme of activities, but it’s not just the scouts that are benefitting from the new system. Jim says: “We’re seeing a lot more fish and amphibians in the lake, and the marginal plants are all really thriving too.”

Cleaning up the lake area is just the first step in Jim’s grand plan: “Now the lake is in a stable condition the next stage is the surrounding woodland and making it far more accessible. Where previously it was overgrown, we’re removing a lot of the Rhododendron and replacing it with indigenous broadleaf species, making the whole site far more ecologically viable.”

To find out more about the Otterbine range, contact Reesink on
01480 226800 or visit Reesink Hydro-Scapes