Pond water issues

Discussion in 'Water Features' started by forestfireguy, Sep 26, 2006.

  1. forestfireguy

    forestfireguy LawnSite Senior Member
    from nj
    Posts: 601

    Ok here is the quick version. Large pond install last year, consistent water loss complaints. Pond has a two tier waterfall approx 15 ft high. Customer turns pond off frequently to save electricity, thus allowing waterfalls to drain down. We have turned off plumbing and monitored water level for 3 days, no loss. We have makred level and let pond run for 3 days, no water loss. Customer says he sometimes losses a couple inches in a night. Any ideas other than a thirsty bear???
     
  2. wurkn with amish

    wurkn with amish LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 662

    when did u start monitoring-- when the temps turned cooler?
    because the hot sun does work wonders on the water level.
     
  3. forestfireguy

    forestfireguy LawnSite Senior Member
    from nj
    Posts: 601

    We checked in the middle of the summer, we just got another call and he says it still happens. Going tomorrow to investgate again. I will mark it again, I just wish there was a better way since we have already spent tons of time on what seems like BS.....We stand behind everything we do but we probably have 250 miles on the trucks and at least 20 hours into this issue already.
     
  4. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,842

    Hmmm. Well I think even the best-built water feature has some degree of water loss. There are many reasons a water feature could be losing water. And most of them are not preventable.

    1) Water loss due to evaporation. Especially when it's hot this can add up to a lot.

    2) Water loss due to splashing. If there is a decent amount of flow, then there's probably also a decent amount of splashing as the rush of water flows down the water feature. Most of the drops from the splashing land inside the water feature. But some of them land outside of where the liner is. These don't seem like a lot. But they often add up to several gallons per week.

    3) When you turn off a water feature, there is usually a lot of water tied up in the waterfall itself. And so when you turn off the system, all that extra water over flows. When you turn the system back on, the pond now recedes and looks more empty.

    4) Water loss due to a leak. This is a possibility. But if the water feature was built properly, this usually isn't the reason.

    Of course there are other reasons like critters too. But those are rare, in general.

    First, you need to determine whether the amount of water being lost is a "normal" amount of water loss. That is, something that could easily be attributed to the first 3 causes. If it is, then the simple solution is to just explain to the customer that every water feature loses water over time from these two causes and that it's natural to have to replenish the water from time to time. And the larger the water feature is, the more potential for #2 and #3 above. So then you offer them a simple solution - autofill valve. You install an autofill valve off of the mainline of their irrigation system. We use the Hudson Valve (available at most irrigation supply stores). This will fill their water feature up to the desired level every time it drops below a certain point.

    In the future, here's what you do so you won't have to deal with this situation again. I tell our customers every time I install a water feature that there is always a certain amount of loss. And I explain #1 thru #3 above. I explain to them that I am going to install an auto-fill valve on their water feature that will fix this problem. And we install one standard on every water feature we install.
     
  5. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,112

    3) When you turn off a water feature, there is usually a lot of water tied up in the waterfall itself. And so when you turn off the system, all that extra water over flows. When you turn the system back on, the pond now recedes and looks more empty.
    ----------------------------------------------------------BINGO
    Water loss due to evaporation. Especially when it's hot this can add up to a lot.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Bango!
     
  6. n2h20

    n2h20 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 503

    depending on the waterfall and stream design I say 4-6" a week is normal during the warmer months.
    It sounds like he is losing water due to him turning it off and on. Try to convince him not to do this since it is hard on the filtration system and overall ecosystem of the pond.
    I have a similar problem with on of my customers. he swears it leaks like 3"s a day.. I go over and do my testing and it stays the same for a 4 days...

    HAve you actually seen how much it has gone down? if so turn the pump on and refill, wait til it is full then turn the pump off... come back and hour later and see how much it has gone down.. if its the same then its due to him turing the pump off...
     
  7. Waterscapes By Design

    Waterscapes By Design LawnSite Member
    Posts: 237

    "HAve you actually seen how much it has gone down? if so turn the pump on and refill, wait til it is full then turn the pump off... come back and hour later and see how much it has gone down.. if its the same then its due to him turing the pump off..."

    That is a must actually.....after that, I think the guy may just be a problem customer....


    I figure if your waterfall is that darn big then you will definately have splash off, and if its possible, bring some old cardboard and lay it out around the sides of the fall and stream,(at least 2 feet off the stream). By doing that you can see where the most splash is coming from. After you know where your big splashes are happening you can add another rock somewhere up the line to help guide the stream a tad bit, and deflect the water in the problem areas.

    I know a lot of people say its probably evaporation, and Im not claiming to know the climate in NJ at all...But down here in Florida we dont get that much evaporation at all, its usually 1 of the other 2 problems. My pool doesnt even lose 3" in a week.
     
  8. BobR

    BobR LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 714

    FORESTFIREGUY -- Sounds like someone I know. Hired a pond install, insisted on the largest pump available (wanted a raging river) and went through the roof when the electric bill came in... Suggested down sizing the circulating pump (6500 to 4500) the visible change to the stream flow was negligable and the electric bill took a nice dip. Your customers problem was answered earlier (turning system off causes excess water in the pond which is promptly taken care of by the over fill drain).

    BobR
     
  9. JTHutch

    JTHutch LawnSite Member
    Posts: 115

    I had a very similar problem with a customer. He insisted there was a leak. I would shut off the water fall for a day and now drop. So I would turn it on and monitor it for a couple of days. I did find a low spot on the stream that the water was getting out. fixed it. A month later he calls back says it loses 2" over night. Tryed everything he insistes I need to replace the liner. Reluctantly I do. About 5 months later I get a call from another landscaper in town asking me questions on what to look for in the pond to fix a leak. My final thought was that the guy is over filling the pond and the 2" drop he was getting was what would drain because he filled it past the overflow drain. I couldn't think of anything else. But I do know the guy fiddled with his pond way to much. In my experience ponds need to be just left alone fill when needed but just look and don't touch.
     
  10. cclllc

    cclllc LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 903

    I installed a pond at my home about 6 years ago.Everything has been great until this year.The fountain grass behind the fall has decided to start rooting into the pond at the waterfall.I found roots growing between the liner and the bio fall.I have got to take it apart soon. I also need to do a clean-out. I was wondering if anyone had used a shop vac before.I have alot of waste in the bottom.I really hate to drain the entire pond.Thanks,john
     

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