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#2290 - 10/05/06 12:54 PM Pond in old caliche pit?
npaden Offline
Fingerling

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 9
Loc: Lubbock, Texas
Okay,

I've searched the site several times on different ways to seal ponds without ideal soil, and for the most part it sounds like it isn't a very good idea.

If someone can point me in the right direction or just tell me to forget about my idea that would be very helpful.

I have an old caliche pit on my property.

Here is an aerial view (you can see the old caliche pit in the top middle of the 11.5 acres tract):



Here is a topographical view (slightly different scale - I put a blue spot where the pond would be)



The first question is whether you could seal the caliche pit or not. It is about 10 - 15 feet deep and would only take a moderate amount of fill to enclose one end of it. This would save a lot of time and effort vs. digging a pond. Of course if it won't hold water it wouldn't do much good! My soil is generally pretty sandy and not much clay so any clay would have to be hauled in. I think we are talking a LOT of semi trucks of clay and this might make this a moot point right off the bat.

The second question is if there is a way to get the water to run into the pond when it rains. If you look at the first picture the way the water runs off the fields right now is that it ends up at the very left bottom corner of my property. From there most of it runs along a ditch to the right (east) and ends up in the box canyon. To get the water to run onto my property I would need to deepen the ditch running north along the west side of my property (not my ditch - would need to get permission) then run a culvert under the road over to my property or something like that. Even then our rainfall is not enough to guarantee a full pond but I could supplement with a well if needed probably.

I've been dwelling on this for several years and just thought I might try to ask the experts.

Thanks, Nathan

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#2291 - 10/05/06 01:34 PM Re: Pond in old caliche pit?
rockytopper Offline
Lunker

Registered: 01/20/05
Posts: 1239
Loc: texas
Guys Correct me if I'm wrong but caliche will hold water better than even clay,assuming they didn't remove all of it. That is why roads are made with it because it compacts and sheds the water off and keeps the soils below the road bed dry. Also notice from the topo there was a pond at one time in this area. The biggest issue I see is how are you going to fill that monster up? There appears to be no drainage feeding it. Water well?
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#2292 - 10/05/06 01:55 PM Re: Pond in old caliche pit?
ewest Offline
Moderator
Hall of Fame 2014

Lunker

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 19492
Loc: Miss.
Nathan welcome to the PB forum. Look at this link about the same question from the same area.

http://www.pondboss.com/cgi-bin/ubbcgi/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=2;t=000089
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#2293 - 10/05/06 02:23 PM Re: Pond in old caliche pit?
BrianH Offline
Lunker

Registered: 06/25/02
Posts: 417
Loc: Hico, TX
Correct ME if I'm wrong but I think caliche is used for roads because it packs good, has a lot of rocks in it and doesn't get slimey when wet. I was told once that caliche doesn't hold water. Nathan, does it hold water after it rains now?
I have yellow clay. It's just a little yellower than caliche but looks similar. The biggest difference is when it gets wet it gets slick and sticky. I've wondered what the difference is.

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#2294 - 10/05/06 03:07 PM Re: Pond in old caliche pit?
Dave Davidson Offline
Lunker

Registered: 04/22/02
Posts: 1892
Loc: Hurst & Bowie Texas
I'm with RT but not at all sure. I have always seen caliche as a slick clay. Maybe I'm wrong.

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#2295 - 10/05/06 03:37 PM Re: Pond in old caliche pit?
rockytopper Offline
Lunker

Registered: 01/20/05
Posts: 1239
Loc: texas
I know for sure caliche does not have rocks, I used to build oil lease roads and pads in west texas. Here in Hill county they use chrushed limestone and it indead is rock as Brian H is refering too. Caliche is also limestone but not harden into stone. It is dug out of the ground and used as is, not necessary to run it thru a crusher.
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#2296 - 10/05/06 04:00 PM Re: Pond in old caliche pit?
rockytopper Offline
Lunker

Registered: 01/20/05
Posts: 1239
Loc: texas
sorry npaden, I didn't read your entire post, I see you have a plan for water.
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#2297 - 10/05/06 05:40 PM Re: Pond in old caliche pit?
dave in el dorado ca Offline
Ambassador
Lunker

Registered: 04/26/06
Posts: 3261
Loc: el dorado ca
npaden, dont think i can help you without actually seeing the soil, but i can provide all here a quick summary of what caliche is.

caliche can be either a clay soil or a coarse grained soil (gravel/sand) depending on the occurrence and properties of the soil.

typically in the SW US caliche refers to a gravel, sand, or (in general) alluvial soil cemented by calcium carbonate. there are other types of cementing agents including silica (SiO2), sodium salts, and iron. caliche can be very porous (lets water pass easily), or very tight (holds back water), it depends on the occurence, soil grain size, and degree and type of cementation. in other words, you'd have to characterize your site individually, as caliche soils can exhibit a range of permeabilities and porosities.

edited post.....ok so now i look ewests link.....i think we are on the same page \:\)

bottom line is sites have to be characterized individually, as not all caliches are alike.
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#2298 - 10/05/06 08:32 PM Re: Pond in old caliche pit?
npaden Offline
Fingerling

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 9
Loc: Lubbock, Texas
Thanks for the quick replies, I didn't expect many.

ewest, I had read that post a while back, I didn't know if I should just try to email Mike Otto or if I should start another post.

The caliche pit currently does not hold water. If it rains really hard there is one spot that will hold water for maybe a day.

Around here caliche is a somewhat crumbly limestone rock. Breaks apart really easy but it is rock. I've tried digging in the pit with my tractor and it is pretty solid on the bottom even with a toothbar on my loader it won't dig in much at all.

My assumption all along has been that I would need to bring in clay or something similar to seal it, I just wasn't sure how feasible this would be.

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#2299 - 10/05/06 09:13 PM Re: Pond in old caliche pit?
dave in el dorado ca Offline
Ambassador
Lunker

Registered: 04/26/06
Posts: 3261
Loc: el dorado ca
being in TX, there are some recent posts on this forum for cheap used drilling mud (bentonite). (sorry my TX geography aint so good, and you might be 500 miles from the guys i was thinking of) but perhaps you can explore the concept with some local drilling companies?
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#2300 - 10/05/06 09:25 PM Re: Pond in old caliche pit?
ewest Offline
Moderator
Hall of Fame 2014

Lunker

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 19492
Loc: Miss.
Call or email Mike and take a few soil samples to your county soil specialist.

DIED I am sure glad you and George are here for those type questions. \:\)
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#2301 - 10/06/06 12:31 PM Re: Pond in old caliche pit?
BrianH Offline
Lunker

Registered: 06/25/02
Posts: 417
Loc: Hico, TX
D.I.E.D, your post was helpful to me. It had a little too much Greek in it but helpful.
I can really see the differences where I'm digging. Some places it is almost orange and some places almost white, and some places it is marbled with yellow and white. It varies in gravel/sand too. One dozer blade over can be a whole different soil. It drives me crazy. I've run into about six different subsoils in 3/4 acre. With my dirt, only one area had too much sand in it to hold water well.

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#2302 - 10/07/06 07:26 PM Re: Pond in old caliche pit?
dave in el dorado ca Offline
Ambassador
Lunker

Registered: 04/26/06
Posts: 3261
Loc: el dorado ca
Tempes Fidgets

well that makes me feel good BrianH, not sure how I helped, but whatever little i can is small payback for what i've learned here. ewest, i'm glad i found pond boss.

brian, that's a great word......subsoil....and yer situation exemplifies the diversity of caliche soils, i'm glad most of them are tight and hold water. you can probably "borrow" some of the tighter soils to compact over your marginal ones.

i would imagine (w/dozer) you're needing to rip first and push second? some caliches can be almost as hard as rock. a big excavator with a 3 or 4 foot bucket and ripping teeth would probably make quick work of it though.
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#2303 - 10/09/06 12:55 PM Re: Pond in old caliche pit?
BrianH Offline
Lunker

Registered: 06/25/02
Posts: 417
Loc: Hico, TX
I don't have to rip it if it has any moisture in it. When it dries real good it's a different story. The hardest dirt to push is the dirt right above it. That layer is black with a little yellow showing. It has no gravel in it at all and doesn't want to break. It stops the old D6 in its tracks--or is that "on" its tracks?

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