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#480956 - 10/11/17 10:47 AM HELP!! New Pond leaking!
Brian E Offline


Registered: 10/11/17
Posts: 4
Loc: Kentucky
I wanted to pick your guys brains on what to do with my new construction pond. I will attach photos to help make sense of the issue. This is a bowl shaped area in the front of my home that I wanted to try and make hold water. We dug some test holes and found we had what we believed to be adequate clay to hold. I have access to a dozer so we scraped top soil out and worked clay from the middle (which was our most prevalent source) outwards up the banks putting a 4-6 inch layer mostly, with much deeper clay towards the center of pond. We did start to run out of clay the further we went up banks hence I believe is my problem with it not holding. After construction it was tracked in with a dozer and a heavy rubber tired farm tractor. I understand compaction wasn't performed with sheepsfoot or vibratory roller so yes you are correct we may not have adequate compaction. Either way after construction we were lucky enough to get 8 inch rainfall off of Hurricane Harvey which nearly completely filled the pond first rain. The pond held at about 12 feet deep center and stayed for around 5 days before it started to slowly dissapear. The pond now is down to around 9 feet and holding pretty steady. The only problem with that is i have a 10-15 foot dirt/clay ring around pond that will not seem to hold and water will not rise to my crest area. At this point I was considering bringing in tons of bentonite and working it into banks and compacting or possibly bringing in natural clay to work the banks in holds up bringing water level on up. The fact that the water holds steady at current level leads me to believe that water is going out of the banks possibly above current level? The only other theory is that once the water depth is higher the weight of the water is able to work through the clay lined bottom due to more pressure? So at this point should I start working on the banks and work with what I got to bring it on up?? Ive had ponds in the past in this area that have taken a season of rain fall up and down to "settle" in and hold properly, but I know that is contrary to popular professional pond construction belief. I would love any comments or recommendations from the professionals! Thanks in advance!

Link to photos here -----> https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B8o-bWRG4isqX3ZibUZHTWVUOWM


Edited by Brian E (10/11/17 11:03 AM)

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#480957 - 10/11/17 11:00 AM Re: HELP!! New Pond leaking! [Re: Brian E]
John Fitzgerald Online   content


Registered: 10/27/15
Posts: 1575
Loc: S. end of Elkins, Arkansas
My pond was reworked in August of 2015 and is in ALL CLAY, and still leaks around 5/8 to 1" per day until it gets down into the "excavated bowl". Compaction my be my issue, point is you never know. Building a pond in many areas is kind of a roll of the dice. Some around here built just like mine leak like mine does, some seemingly built with less care don't leak any appreciable amount. Most agree you need to have a minimum of 18" of good compacted clay to hold well.

My pond has never "settled", and in fact may leak a little more now than initially.
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#480958 - 10/11/17 11:29 AM Re: HELP!! New Pond leaking! [Re: Brian E]
Bill Cody Offline
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Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 12014
Loc: Northwest Ohio - Malinta OH
IMO your thinking is correct primary leakage is in the banks above the stable water level which is almost always the case.
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#480961 - 10/11/17 12:27 PM Re: HELP!! New Pond leaking! [Re: Brian E]
canyoncreek Offline


Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 1602
Loc: West Michigan
search for threads on soilfloc or ping TJ.

Soilfloc application to the tilled soil above the current water line, followed by a way to fill to full pool (or wait for some big rain events to temporarily fill to full pool) and reapply the product will help seal by using the hydrostatic pressure of the water to embed the polymer sealant into the soil.

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#480962 - 10/11/17 12:58 PM Re: HELP!! New Pond leaking! [Re: Brian E]
John Fitzgerald Online   content


Registered: 10/27/15
Posts: 1575
Loc: S. end of Elkins, Arkansas
Some claim good results with soilfloc, some do not. It's not without risk, and is expensive.
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#480965 - 10/11/17 01:20 PM Re: HELP!! New Pond leaking! [Re: Brian E]
canyoncreek Offline


Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 1602
Loc: West Michigan
Agree soilfloc is not perfect, read the forums, talk to TJ. I'm not aware of any risks to your pond life or water quality. Cost is trivial. Certainly cheaper than the amount you would spend on Bentonite. Most people with your situation just live with it and it always grinds them at the painful spot inside. But they know doing it over with the heavy equipment costs to do it right can be a 10 fold cost increase over the initial pond build or initial rehab costs.

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#480969 - 10/11/17 03:13 PM Re: HELP!! New Pond leaking! [Re: Brian E]
Brian E Offline


Registered: 10/11/17
Posts: 4
Loc: Kentucky
I've been adding a product called Db200 which has seemed to help quite a bit. So if my math is right take 15 feet width x 350 linear feet around the pond which is 5250 sqft. At a rate of 1 pound per square foot that's 5250 pounds of bentonite ..holy cow! And really I should go 2-4 per foot. What cheapest source found for bentonite? And how much is application of soil floc for an area my size? Thanks guys!

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#480970 - 10/11/17 03:51 PM Re: HELP!! New Pond leaking! [Re: canyoncreek]
John Fitzgerald Online   content


Registered: 10/27/15
Posts: 1575
Loc: S. end of Elkins, Arkansas
Originally Posted By: canyoncreek
Agree soilfloc is not perfect, read the forums, talk to TJ. I'm not aware of any risks to your pond life or water quality. Cost is trivial. Certainly cheaper than the amount you would spend on Bentonite. Most people with your situation just live with it and it always grinds them at the painful spot inside. But they know doing it over with the heavy equipment costs to do it right can be a 10 fold cost increase over the initial pond build or initial rehab costs.


Soilfloc can kill fish if it gets on/in the gills. Care should be taken to keep fish away from the direct treatment, if possible. I do not agree that cost is trivial. It might be trivial for some of more means, but not for me. It would cost over $1,500 to PROPERLY treat my 1/4 acre pond all over. It's not trivial to me. With the uncertainty involved, it's like gambling at a casino with $1,500.

After nearly two years of research, anything to stop a leak is really uncertain, even draining and a complete re-do, short of an impervious liner that's not punctured in installation. There are so many ways a pond can leak: Into the water table through the bottom, into a spring seeping in partway up the sides, wicking into highly absorptive soils along the edges, under the dam (even under a core trench), through roots left in a dam, small sand or gravel seams, seeps through areas of low compaction in the dam, and probably several others I missed. Even in all clay, it still depends.....

I just use a gasoline pump, when my creek has water, and hope for a lesser leak sometime.

I am not purposely being negative, rather being real.
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#480971 - 10/11/17 03:54 PM Re: HELP!! New Pond leaking! [Re: Brian E]
canyoncreek Offline


Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 1602
Loc: West Michigan
Bentonite has to be worked in with the clay and then compacted in to work. Not sure how you can do that on the sides of the slopes with a water level right below where your equipment is trying to work. I can't recall a recent bentonite success story on the forum when used as an after the fact surface application.

TJ can give you application rates. IT depends if you work it in soil or do both dry application in soil combined with filling pond to max capacity and then applying to the water around the perimeter. If you were able to get the pond to full and overflowing, you would focus the product on the shallow water and banks all the way around but while your at it most would advise covering the full pond at the same time to fill in any potential gaps in the bottom as well.

Your google dirve pictures are blocked by our work firewall so I can't get an estimate on your pond size, but 350 linear feet around pond has to be around 1/3 acre or so? My pond is about that size and I'm thinking your costs for product would be around $1000. I did 3 units of product which was I think about $1200-1300 and I had enough to treat my entire pond twice. I probably could have gotten by with 2 units (A unit being a 50 something pound bag of part A and a an equal size bag of part B with part A and B being applied to the pond in equal portions) Pricing may have changed since I bought it. Hopefully TJ can help you, his advise, review of my specific pond situation and experience with dozens of other projects like yours was invaluable.

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#480972 - 10/11/17 04:14 PM Re: HELP!! New Pond leaking! [Re: John Fitzgerald]
Brian E Offline


Registered: 10/11/17
Posts: 4
Loc: Kentucky
I would be fine with laying down $1500 if I thought it would fix the issue. I dont have any fish or wildlife so thats not a concern. Are you able to see my photos from google drive? I wasn't sure how to post photos on here, it wants a link.

Thanks.

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#480973 - 10/11/17 04:16 PM Re: HELP!! New Pond leaking! [Re: canyoncreek]
Brian E Offline


Registered: 10/11/17
Posts: 4
Loc: Kentucky
This is great information! Who is TJ and how do i contact him? You bring up a good point on the bentonite, there is really no good way to compact it with it being silty, slick, and wet around banks and steep! Is there another way to share photos? Google drive was only thing I could figure out? I'm thinking my pond is closer to half acre or larger when full of course.

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#480974 - 10/11/17 04:28 PM Re: HELP!! New Pond leaking! [Re: Brian E]
canyoncreek Offline


Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 1602
Loc: West Michigan
photos have to be hosted on a 3rd party photo sharing site like IMGUR and others. Then the forum software if you look at the 3 buttons under the reply box you will see one that says 'switch to full reply screen' which allows you to attach a picture (hover over the icons to see the one that allows you to link to a picture) by pasting a hyperlink to the place on the web where the 3rd party is hosting your picture for you.

that allows for linking picture for viewing right in the body of your message post. There are several threads here with step by step instructions. Most people used photobucket for this but lately that site has screwed over thousands of people by asking for $400 a year to continue to get access to their pictures so some recent threads discuss some alternative picture hosting sites. I'm not aware that you can use google drive to host pictures but I bet others can see your pictures. My work just really has everything locked down.

Or in full screen mode you can attach a picture to your message (see File Manager hyperlink under the composition window) and folks can then click on the attachments to see the pictures in a new tab one at a time.

Go to this thread:

Soilfloc thread (one of many)

About the 4th post down is TJ's post. You can click on his name on the left upper corner of his post and one of the items to do after clicking is to send him a private message (PM) that will send an email to him via the forum.

Not all of us have had fabulous results but most have seen great improvements with a very simple process done from shore or in a boat that can be repeated if additional results are needed in the future.

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#480975 - 10/11/17 04:30 PM Re: HELP!! New Pond leaking! [Re: Brian E]
canyoncreek Offline


Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 1602
Loc: West Michigan
Oh, one more thing. That thread depends on pictures that are hosted on Photobucket which may show up as blocked when you try to see the pictures. For Chrome and Firefox browsers there is a free add on extension called 'Photobucket Hotlink Fix' (search for it) which when added in to your browser will show all the pictures that users have hosted via Photobucket. That is a must when browsing all the old posts on PondBoss as many/most used Photobucket to host their pictures.

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#480986 - 10/12/17 08:08 AM Re: HELP!! New Pond leaking! [Re: Brian E]
TGW1 Offline


Registered: 09/19/14
Posts: 2046
Loc: Harrison Co. Texas
Brien E, I have been selling and using Bentonite for reducing water loss for close to 40 yrs and I have used TJ's Soil Floc on the banks of my sediment pond, so I have used both. My experience with Bentonite has been in the Exploration of Oil and Gas drilling and not so much in the use of ponds but still used it to control water loss into Geological formations (dirt) lol. I am no expert when it comes to ponds leaking and how to stop water loss in ponds but I am pretty sure I can reduce the losses using Bentonite. As per cost of Bentonite, it will run pretty close to $15.00 per 100# bag plus transportation cost. Bentonite is a high quality clay that will absorb water and swell to form a seal. Think most will recommend an 18" clay liner to hold water so most likely it might be the same with Bentonite and I suspect most people who use it don't use enough of it. I also seem to remember some used a combination of both soil floc and bentonite.
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Do not judge me by the politicians in my City, State or Federal Government.
Thank The Good Lord the government in Washington DC gets little done.
Outlawing guns will make a lot of us down here in the South
Outlaws and proud of it

Tracy

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#481434 - 10/21/17 09:22 PM Re: HELP!! New Pond leaking! [Re: TGW1]
esshup Offline
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Ambassador
Field Correspondent

Lunker

Registered: 01/26/09
Posts: 24014
Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
Tracy, you are correct in the 18" (to 24") clay liner. It needs to be compacted in 6"-8" lifts, not placed at 18"-24" thickness and then compacted. The compaction process won't travel that thickness.

When I re-did my pond, there was no clay in the area, and I priced it and a liner. Both were about the same price, and in the $30,000.00 range, which was out of my budget.

I've heard of more success stories with SoilFloc than with Bentonite, but I don't know if that is due to the people following the application procedure more closely with SoilFloc or not. I know that a 1/4 pound too little per square foot is about the same as not doing anything at all..... I'd rather over apply it than under apply it.

With a new pond, before much organic debris gets into the pond, and any fish are added, now is the time to address the leak.

To the OP, send a private message to teehjaeh57
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