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Still losing water

Discussion in 'Water Features' started by Niagara Falls, Jul 20, 2010.

  1. Niagara Falls

    Niagara Falls LawnSite Member
    Messages: 149

    How do I go about tracing where I'm losing water.
    I've rented a pump and gone from the first level all the way to the top and still can not find the source of my water loss.

    I do know one thing and one thing only....the pond is not losing water. It will maintain it's level.

    I'm frustrated and confused as to why......I did everything the book said..LOL

    Any good ways of tracing water loss????? It is losing about 4" a day. That would be about 5-6 bathtubs.

    I've attached a picture so you can see just what I'm dealing with.

    The Falls July 05 2010 001.jpg
  2. tadpole

    tadpole LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,221

    A 4"/day water loss should definitely exhibit it's location. The ground should be saturated in the area of the leak. If you have eliminated the pond and the stream (with the gradual moving of the hose to higher elevations) and the liner is not leaking where it is attached to the waterfall weir, THEN the only place left is at the bulkhead fitting at the base of the BioFalls unit. Sometimes, if regular PVC cement is used to glue Flex PVC, a good, firm bond does not develop and the Flex will work itself loose enough to leak. This will happen even with the Flex buried. The back pressure from the water flow entering the Biofalls unit is enough to gradually ease the Flex out of the Bulkhead fitting.
  3. STL Ponds and Waterfalls

    STL Ponds and Waterfalls LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,174

    Have you traced the streams edge on both sides? I mean every inch! A few years ago I had a waterfall leak and I swore the edges where good. My point is to check the edges for low spots. Definately check you biofalls bulkhead and the liner/faceplate lip also. Welcome to the wonderful world of leaks. It happens to the best of us.:hammerhead:
  4. rlitman

    rlitman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,747

    I once had a stream where the edges were high and dry, but some plants nearby had grown roots over the edge of the liner. The roots were wicking 20-30 gallons of water out of the stream each day.
  5. Niagara Falls

    Niagara Falls LawnSite Member
    Messages: 149

    I used the PVC glue recommended by the store I bought all my materials from. If the fitting has worked it's way loose, wouldn't the level in the bio-falls go down. The level on the bio-falls has not dropped in 3 days.

    I will re-check all the edges one more time, just to make sure.
  6. tadpole

    tadpole LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,221

    The water level in the Biofalls would drop only if the pump is not running or you do not have a backflow preventer. If the pump is running, it will supply ample water to keep the biofalls full and the waterfall working. The flex would have to become completely detached from the Bulkhead fitting for the water level to drop.
    I mentioned this possibililty because I ran into the exact same problem a few years ago. Customer's pond started showing substantial water loss (Pond was almost one year old at the time). I checked all of the usual suspects: resealed around Skimmer weir, resealed around Biofalls faceplate and weir. Still had substantial water loss. Very frustrated by this point. Left with only one possibility. Dug out behind biofalls unit and sure enough there it was..the leak. The glue had not formed an adequate bond between the Flex and bulkhead fitting and had over time the flex had gradually backed almost completely out of the bulkhead fitting. No wet spot was detected because the leak was underground. One other factor that attributed to this leak forming was that the Flex was not inserted into the fitting WITHOUT lateral pressure. Flex will bend, but has a tendency to return to its former state. In other words, if you manual bend Flex to achieve insertion into a fitting, once the manual pressure is released the Flex will exert pressure in the opposite direction. Depending on the amount of force, the integrity of the Bulkhead fitting itself could be compromised. Long, wide sweeps are advised when using Flex, if conditions do not allow this then use of 60o or 90o elbows is indicated to avoid any excess lateral pressure.

    rlitman- What you mention is very true and often overlooked on older installs. I presently have to deal with this on my own personal Pond. With 100' of stream with root encroachment plus a planted constructed wetland plus the usual marginal plants, it is normal this time of year for me to lose 100-150 gallons per day to evap and trans-evap. I tolerate it because it provides an exceptional amount of phyto-filtration and bio-conversion. I never have a water quality problem even with my Pond being overstocked. It's a trade-off.....trim roots occasionally or clean additional filters.
  7. rlitman

    rlitman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,747

    Actually, the root problem I had was more of a capillary action issue.
    The water level was beneath the edge, but only by an inch or so.
    The roots had developed over the edge to a point that they formed a thick mat, and that mat of roots was wicking water up and over the edge. I didn't notice, because the edge was covered by thick rocks.

    Yes, evaporation and evapo transpiration are real effects when it gets warmer.
    Its a good idea to pay attention to these normal sources of water loss when you know things aren't leaking, since they can mask leaking.
  8. tadpole

    tadpole LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,221

    It is evapo-transpiration isn't it! I can never keep that straight trans-evap or evap-trans. Why don't they call it something simple like 'Plant Sweat'. I could remember that!!
  9. Niagara Falls

    Niagara Falls LawnSite Member
    Messages: 149

    I'm digging to get to the flex connection tomorrow......if it is not leaking, what then????????????????????????
  10. tadpole

    tadpole LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,221

    If you are losing 4" of water per day, any leak around the perimeter of the liner, whether stream or pond, would, by now, have created a very saturated area of soil. You, I believe, have already checked the integrity of the Skimmer Face Plate and the Waterfall Weir Face Plate. We can rule out evaporation. The bulkhead fitting on the Biofalls is the only place left where a leak OUTSIDE of the pond's containment is possible.

    If it is not here, my friend, then you have inadvertently overlooked something or you need to call the local authorities to find out if anyone has reported a herd of elephants running loose in the vicinity.

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