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#268132 - 08/17/11 03:33 PM leaking pond, newbee
narrowfarm Offline

Registered: 08/17/11
Posts: 14
Loc: Cooperstown NY
Hello new to this site.Thanks. My pond in upstate NY was dug over 3 years ago/its about 1/3 acre and half of the pond is 10 feet deep and the other half is about 5 feet deep.There is almost no water in the 5 foot section and now the 10 foot section is 5 feet deep.. I didnt know anything about ponds at the time.The guy dug through some shail rock that i beleive is the problem.I loose about 1 inch of water a day.The pond does fill to the top in the spring but than slowly drains out.I believe through the shail.My neighbor keeps telling me that i have no real water source.There is loads of under ground springs upstate NY but i am still baffled by how the water goes down everyday. I will try to post pictures later today.The property is beautiful but have to fix this one issue.Any ideas?? thanks john

#268133 - 08/17/11 03:35 PM Re: leaking pond, newbee [Re: narrowfarm]
narrowfarm Offline

Registered: 08/17/11
Posts: 14
Loc: Cooperstown NY

#268152 - 08/17/11 09:31 PM Re: leaking pond, newbee [Re: narrowfarm]
adirondack pond Offline

Registered: 08/31/07
Posts: 3135
Loc: big moose ny
narrowfarm welcome to pond boss, has this problem started recently or has is leaked ever since being dug?
With that size pond it sounds like you are loosing about 5 gallons a minute. You mentioned springs, is that the main source of your water or is it ground runoff from rain?

Let us know what kind of preparation work was done to make the pond, such as adding clay or Bentonite.
Possible fixes would be to drain the pond and search for the cause of the water loss, or increase your water input from a well or a stream if nearby, or put a liner in your pond.
My pond is a dammed up gully with very porous soil, it looses about 10 GPM, but I have a stream nearby so that the 110gpm piped in makes it possible.

Edited by adirondack pond (08/17/11 10:12 PM)

#268161 - 08/17/11 10:16 PM Re: leaking pond, newbee [Re: adirondack pond]
narrowfarm Offline

Registered: 08/17/11
Posts: 14
Loc: Cooperstown NY
hello,5 gallons a minute sounds about right.The person who dug the pond i found out later didnt know what he was doing and now i am paying for it.my pond is 3 years old and has done the same thing for the 3 years. There is a small spring that i believe dries up in the summer months,It will fill up a bit from a good rain storm butr than i watch it go back down about 1 inch per day.Not really to close to a creek and i may consider a well to be put in fom reading info on this site.Great site for info!! I am trying to get someone to damm off half of the pond which looks like a figure 8,narrow in the middle.One side he dug deep into the shail.I dont think there is any clay in that spot??? Any idea how a well would work?? my pond is on the down side of a small field.I will try to post picture.Its a beautiful setup if i can get it hold water.....john

#268165 - 08/17/11 11:00 PM Re: leaking pond, newbee [Re: narrowfarm]
adirondack pond Offline

Registered: 08/31/07
Posts: 3135
Loc: big moose ny
John that Hall of Fame countryside is a pretty area, been there a bunch of times.
It can be tough trying to figure out the most economical fix for a leaky pond, if you could fix the leak you still could be at the mercy of a dry year, having a well for a water source would be the most reliable fix even if you did get the leak plugged.

As usual it always seems to come down to how much your willing to spend to have your pond, there are some on the forum who use a well to supplement their pond, maybe they will chime in and give you their expertise.
If you need more info on a well try posting questions under the (systems questions) topic.

#268180 - 08/18/11 08:26 AM Re: leaking pond, newbee [Re: adirondack pond]
esshup Offline
Field Correspondent


Registered: 01/26/09
Posts: 24034
Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
I use a well to keep the pond full because it was dug in sandy ground. With the size of your pond, if clay was available close by, I'd drain it, properly line the pond with clay and refill the pond. A well would help, but if it doesn't produce enough water fast enough, it's more $$ down the drain. Plus you have to pay for electricity every month.

3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).

#268183 - 08/18/11 08:58 AM Re: leaking pond, newbee [Re: adirondack pond]
Manris Frack Offline

Registered: 07/19/11
Posts: 29
Loc: Upstate NY
Narrow, your situation sounds very similar to what I am dealing with. I would be very interested in any solutions that you come up with.

In my situation, I believe that I have a pond that is tied to ground water that is "perched" on a layer of shale about 5'-6' down. I only purchased the property a couple months ago and haven't done any digging. This is my best guess from looking at the soil surveys and the behavior of the pond. Anyway, this could easily be your situation as well.

I've come up with three different approaches so far:

1) Drain it and line it (clay or synthetic, whichever is cheaper).
This is probably the best option but it's also the most costly up front.

2) Find an alternate water source and pump... and pump, and pump...
This is possibly cheaper than lining the pond but you'll be spending money to run the pump forever. A well dug to the aquifer probably won't be cheap but you may be able to dig a catch basin to the shale and put a pump in it - kinda like a sump system. Upfront cost is lower but you're just circulating the ground water.

3) Live with it. You know the drop is coming so you can plan for it.
Esshup has a nice groundwater pond. I think he did this for awhile but then started pumping. If you look at some of his high/low pics you'll understand why. It's really tough to manage capacities, vegetation, etc. when your water level fluctuates so much. The only saving grace to this approach is that the upfront cost is zero. 5 feet over a few months is a lot though.

I'm pretty much locked into #3 due to budgetary constraints. I do plan to expand the surface area and bring the banks down to a 1 to 3 or 1 to 4 if I can get some free equipment. I may also try the catch basin idea down the road. I have a gravel floor barn that stays wet/damp half the year and should have some drains dug around it.

Good luck and keep us in the loop.


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