pond leaking

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by 1toomanyhobbies, Jun 10, 2011.

  1. 1toomanyhobbies

    1toomanyhobbies LawnSite Member
    Posts: 94

    I am interested in getting into building small, farm type ponds. I recently had a guy call me saying he already had a pond built by another guy but that it won't hold water. Because I am just starting I don't think that is the project to start with but it is a good point and I thought I'd throw out the question. If you build the pond and it just won't hold water then is the next thing to put in a pond liner? Do many people other than Chris have experience troubleshooting ponds?
     
  2. mxridernorth

    mxridernorth LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 306

  3. hvy 1ton

    hvy 1ton LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 581

    None of this is backed by any kind of scientific research, but what i've seen, experienced and been told by my betters. Reasons ponds leak most often:

    1 Poorly installed overflow system. Either the pipe leaks below water line, water permeates the trench, or pipe leaks inside the dam and washes the pond. Check to make sure the overflow isn't running and there are no wet spots on the backside of the dam

    2 Pond built in poor soils or location. Some soils are really bad at holding water and some locations are even worse, like building one 100' away from a creek or another pond. If you hate your neighbor build a pond downhill of him. Pond liners help with this. Easier to do from the beginning though.

    3 Pond dam was poorly compacted or contains permeable soils. my favorite being the dam that was built without removing the topsoil. When we dug it up there was still grass. Famliy friend that does all our big conservation work is big into fixing leaking dams. He has a soil mixer for one of his excavators like this. He'll core the dam and over flow and then backfill mixing in bentonite and compacting the **** out of it.
     
  4. 1toomanyhobbies

    1toomanyhobbies LawnSite Member
    Posts: 94

    Excellent information. After posting this I started doing some research and have been looking into sodium bentonite. I ended up calling the customer back and referring him to Chris but because of the distance from Raleigh and limited budget, we kept talking and he ended up wanting to work with me because i was at least honest in telling him I wasn't an expert. If I can just make cost on the work i do, the learning opportunity will be well worth it for me. I think building ponds/dredging is some what of a niche market and if i can learn how to troubleshoot/fix leaks then it will really help me differentiate myself going forward.

    The customer does think he may have problems with his drain pipes and mentioned putting in a seep collar. Ill have to take a look tomorrow and see if i can see any wet spots on the back side of the dam.
     
  5. hvy 1ton

    hvy 1ton LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 581

    So the overflow doesn't run unless the water is above the inlet?
     
  6. 1toomanyhobbies

    1toomanyhobbies LawnSite Member
    Posts: 94

    I don't know. We covered so many different options on the phone I can't remember what he said. I report back tomorrow after I see it in person.
     
  7. hvy 1ton

    hvy 1ton LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 581

    Definitely rule that out first. I have that problem talking on the phone too. I do better in person.
     
  8. 1toomanyhobbies

    1toomanyhobbies LawnSite Member
    Posts: 94

    I went there today with a family friend who has 25 years of experience and has been a mentor to me. Thank God for mentors. He nailed the problem as soon as we got there. The soil was red clay with a lot of small rocks in it. My friend said it would probably pass for use in a septic field. We talked to the guy about bringing clay in verse sodium bentonite. The farmer is trying to do this as cheap as he can so we are going to look at the cost putting in 6 inches of heavy/dense clay with a lighter layer of sodium bentonite on top verse just putting in a heavier coat of sodium bentonite on the soil he has now. With all the rocks in the current soil we are going to try and push for having good clay brought in.
     
  9. hvy 1ton

    hvy 1ton LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 581

    If you knew it was only leaking through the dam, coring it and replacing with low permeability clay would fix it. If the whole pond is leaking like a sieve it gonna need some kind of liner. I don't know anything about lining ponds with bentonite, but I've worked around PE liners for dairy lagoons and they're a pain.
     
  10. Dirtman2007

    Dirtman2007 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,366


    I love bentonite, I put out 10,000 lbs of it into a pond once. it was the powered stuff and man what a mess it made. I hate to say it but I don't think the pond held water much better after that:hammerhead:
     

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