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#423063 - 09/05/15 08:35 AM Had a pond dug and wont hold water Advice please!!
jeff_269 Offline

Registered: 09/05/15
Posts: 11
Loc: Baroda, MI
Hello. I had a pond dug in mid june of this year about 75' diameter and roughly 12' deep at it deepest point. I didn't really do any research before digging and im afraid I made a huge mistake by not doing so. I will try and give you as much info as I can about the pond. First off there are many ponds all around my house wihin 2 miles that look fantastic, one of them being my neighbor that is only 1/4 mile down the road. The water table is relatively high here. I do believe there is a few different types of clay in the soil, they is very little blue clay, (like a moulding clay), just bits and pieces here and there, but there seems to be a lot of silt granular type clay. at first I just thought it was sand but after the pond was dug the piles dried out it was as hard as concrete so it cant be sand. when digging the pond there were several natural springs, maybe 4 or 5 about 8 feet down and they were letting out about as much water as a garden hose, which got me excited and the pond was filling up nicely. We then got a couple HEAVY thunderstorms and with all the runoff water the pond was pretty much brimmed to the top. I marked the water level with a stick and it held for another 5 or 6 days after. I was feeling good about things and then july hit and we went almost a month with high temps and no rain. I watched the water level drop about 1" per day on average and thought it would just stop but It just keeps dropping. It is at least 4 feet lower then what is was and still dropping. I do have a newer 4" well and I decided to try and help fill the pond with the well but I calculated that I have been adding about 1500 gallons a day and I can barley keep the water level from dropping any more. That means that I am losing more then 1500 gallons a day somewhere and I don't think evaporation will take that much. The back half of the pond the dozer built a berm about 4 feet tall and the front half is open. There is about 150' back up to my house were the grade very gradually runs back into the pond. I will try and get some pics to show the pond.

I am not sure what else to do maybe I should give it time over the winter but I don't think its looking good. I just thought that all my neighbors have nice ponds how could the soil be that much different just down the road, but maybe it is?

Any advice will help me out. thanks. jeff

#423065 - 09/05/15 08:54 AM Re: Had a pond dug and wont hold water Advice please!! [Re: jeff_269]
esshup Offline
Field Correspondent


Registered: 01/26/09
Posts: 24032
Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
Welcome to the forum!

With the ground water running into the pond, that allows the water inside the pond to run out when the water level in the soil drops. Then there's more water pressure on the soil from the inside of the pond pushing out, and it's just like a bathtub with the drain plug removed. I have the same problem, but I can lose about 30,000 gallons a day if I pump water into the pond when it is low.

Since your pond is new and you don't have a lot of $$ tied up with adult fish, I would see if I could drain out all the water and keep it drained down with a trash pump. Get a contractor to come in with a sheepsfoot roller and compact the pond bottom and sides, all the way up past the high water level.

If that's not possible, I would send teehjaeh57 a PM (private message) about using soilfloc in the pond to plug the leaks.

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

#423066 - 09/05/15 09:14 AM Re: Had a pond dug and wont hold water Advice please!! [Re: jeff_269]
DonoBBD Offline

Registered: 06/13/12
Posts: 1974
Loc: Ontario, Canada, Eh.
How much did you build up the banks? Is the water level stopping at the four feet below at the un disturbed clay?

I can loose 1" per day form our one acre pond easy in evaporation. High winds and aeration.

Our pond took three years to pack the banks that we built up five feet and we would see in august about a drop of four feet. Three years later we only have about an 18" drop. It takes time for the banks to pack in if just packed with a dozer when building the pond.

I know its hard to have patience but if you built up the banks with clay it will need time to settle in. We had four good springs in ours and have the same thing your describing.

Cheers Don.


7/8th of an acre, Perch only pond, Ontario, Canada.

#423069 - 09/05/15 11:04 AM Re: Had a pond dug and wont hold water Advice please!! [Re: DonoBBD]
jeff_269 Offline

Registered: 09/05/15
Posts: 11
Loc: Baroda, MI
I had a dozer come in and make the berm around the pond and shape everything else.. The berm is around the back half of the pond and is about 25 feet wide and about 3-4 feet tall. The front half of the pond if open. But I will say my entire backyard soil level was raised about 12" total because we used the soil that came out of the pond to spread elsewere. but the top of pond is pretty much the same level as the ground used to be. It wasn't built up or down into the ground, which maybe it should have been dug into the ground more, I don't know. The water level is about 4 feet below to were I would consider filled up to the top.. Like I said the water level was filled up about a month ago after a few torrential down pours but has since dropped. I have a couple pole barns within 100 feet of the pond, I am thinking about running the downspouts underground and having them empty in the pond. Just tring to think of ways to get more water in the pond... I will try and have patience, I think you right..

#423458 - 09/09/15 06:34 PM Re: Had a pond dug and wont hold water Advice please!! [Re: jeff_269]
teehjaeh57 Offline
Chairman, Pond Boss Legacy award; Moderator; field correspondent

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 7972
Loc: Lincoln, NE
Hi Jeff, welcome to the Pond Boss forum! Sorry to hear about your leaking issues...many of us have been there and it's a nightmare.

Per Scott above, if your contractor is willing to return and correct the compaction issue that's the best course of action by plating and compacting high plasticity clay in 6" lifts. If that's not an option, happy to help by discussing other solutions with you. I've been using the Soilfloc Sealant with success the past few months, happy to share my experiences with you.

Feel free to reach out anytime.


Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. ~ Henry David Thoreau


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