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Thread: Fixing a leaky pond

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    Senior Member shawninthesticks's Avatar
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    Default Fixing a leaky pond

    Anyone have any ways to fix a leaking pond? I found the leak,and it is large enough that it has a small boil in the ground. It is located at the base of the levee in close proximity to some river birch tree's,which I'm sure has some impact on the problem. Due to recent wet conditions the pond filled up to the top and that is what I needed to find the leak as it completely dried up last summer. Thanks.
    Shawn White

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    Bentonite. When the water gets below the leak remove the tree roots and work bentonite into the souls in the area. When the water leaves goes back above the leak area the bentonite will swell and seal the leak. There should be a local excavator that can help you out with this. Hope this helps.

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    Work it into the soil. Not souls. Dam auto correct. Lol

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    Senior Member jd6400's Avatar
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    Lots of questions,is the dam keyed?Leak from top,middle? Don`t take shortcuts!!!! Jm

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    Senior Member HPL's Avatar
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    Bentonite , if used correctly is VERY effective. I've used it in pure sand and it sealed like rubber.
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    I pm'd you my phone number(will do for anyone with water storage questions). Feel free to call anytime. I've been building various empoundments for 10 years. Everything from storing nuclear waste, golf course water features, waterfeatures in Vegas, zoo displays, mining applications, to wetland habitat restorations. If you have a dike/levee which could fail and damage property I'd use more caution. The most likely culprit is the tree roots. Water and soil begins piping or, chasing the roots. This may have led to voids behind the dike. If the dike is made just for your pond and there is no risk to neighboring property should it fail you can use a bandaid like bentonite.

    For the bandaid; wait until pond is dried out. Might be a good idea to pump it out prior to a stretch of good weather. Get the suspect area dry. Over-excavate the area. Stockpile the good soils, try to discard any rocky or sandy materials and find clean, compactable fill. If, you can locate a specific area after digging it out a good 3'-4 depth pour about 1" of powdered bentonite on the area. Cover with 6" soil and compact with a tamper or jumping jack. (depends on how big your area became. On your clean fill stockpile, (soil must be fairly dry, this is important) mix bentonite with soils. I can look up the ratio for you later. Fill in the area with 12-18" of the bentonite/soil mix. Compact the soil. Compaction is very important. Cover the the remaining depression with clean non-mixed soil and compact. Tracked equip compaction is fine.

    Now, pre-hydrate the area prior to filling the pond. Spray 2-4" of water on the area and allow to soak. Repeat spray again when surface is starting to appear dry. Do this 3-4 times 0ver the course of an entire day. This will allow the bentonite to begin working. Bentonite works by filling in all the microscopic voids between soils. It is a very fluid material and expands up to 300% it's weight when hydrated under confinement. If you have running water or very porous soils it is not recommended. Sand with present groundwater is probably a worst case scenario for bentonite. The most important factor on getting bentonite to work is not allowing it to hydrate prior to being placed under compaction.

    Some folks go out and pour pellets on areas in the pond. That just creates a slimy goo which doesn't really provide any waterproofing. Cow manure and tree leafs work better. If you have other areas in the pond which are suspect, like the entire bottom you can go another route. Get a big tractor and disc the pond. Apply bentonite(10 tons per acre if soil is good if I remember right) disc in again then, rototill the entire pond. After rototilling, get a vibrating drum roller and roll the entire area to attempt to get 90% compaction.

    Hope this gives you some ideas- I'm always available on the phone to talk ponds and pond design and construction. Good luck-

    When you're ready for 100% waterproofing, I'll make you a liner for the entire pond.

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