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#487064 - 03/11/18 02:29 PM Re: New Pond Construction In Jefferson Co, Mo. [Re: Bobbss]
Bobbss Offline


Registered: 10/27/16
Posts: 319
Loc: Jefferson County Missouri
Thanks Jeff!I got up early this morning and finished raking before the snow got here.I plan to pick up the Bentonite after work tomorrow and will work on it after work this week until I get it done.As hard of work as this was, I don't see me doing something like this again if it doesn't hold.lol!
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#487067 - 03/11/18 04:11 PM Re: New Pond Construction In Jefferson Co, Mo. [Re: Bobbss]
John Fitzgerald Online   content


Registered: 10/27/15
Posts: 2010
Loc: S. end of Elkins, Arkansas
Bob, you will need to mix that Bentonite with the clay, and compact it in at least two feet deep on the bottom of your pond, to be fairly sure of it working. I tried lots of bentonite poured on the banks at the waterline and on the dam below the waterline, and it did not work for me. I have a leak from the full pool level, extending to about 30" below, and haven't been able to fix it. I am thinking of either a vibratory roller or a cutoff trench in the dam.
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#487077 - 03/11/18 07:38 PM Re: New Pond Construction In Jefferson Co, Mo. [Re: Bobbss]
Bobbss Offline


Registered: 10/27/16
Posts: 319
Loc: Jefferson County Missouri
John,the pond has been holding 1 1/2'-2' of water pretty good so I think the leak is 2' or so off the bottom.
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#487078 - 03/11/18 07:53 PM Re: New Pond Construction In Jefferson Co, Mo. [Re: Bobbss]
John Fitzgerald Online   content


Registered: 10/27/15
Posts: 2010
Loc: S. end of Elkins, Arkansas
Bob, that's a deep pond too, so the leak has lots of pressure on it, and will need a thick seal.
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#487084 - 03/11/18 10:01 PM Re: New Pond Construction In Jefferson Co, Mo. [Re: Bobbss]
Rainman Offline
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Just pouring bentonite into water will result in a sloppy, soupy mess of super slippery silt-like goo on the bottom, and will never seal. Bentonite has to be tilled into the soil at the proper rate, not too much and not too little. Then it has to be moistened and VERY tightly compacted in order to seal. And, if the bentonite dries out aeven a little too much, huge cracks form as the bentonite contracts, opening up huge holes for after to leak out of.
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#487085 - 03/11/18 10:02 PM Re: New Pond Construction In Jefferson Co, Mo. [Re: Bobbss]
Rainman Offline
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Oh...and, Bentonite is a colloidal clay...the smallest fines will often keep the pond perpetually muddy.
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#487086 - 03/11/18 10:42 PM Re: New Pond Construction In Jefferson Co, Mo. [Re: Rainman]
John Fitzgerald Online   content


Registered: 10/27/15
Posts: 2010
Loc: S. end of Elkins, Arkansas
Originally Posted By: Rainman
Oh...and, Bentonite is a colloidal clay...the smallest fines will often keep the pond perpetually muddy.


I put in Bentonite in combination with Soilfloc in 2016, and it all sank to the bottom fairly quickly, wasn't muddy for more than a few minutes. Last winter my pond had 10 foot visibility for a few days. The Soilfloc/Bentonite combo did not help with the leak long term. In fact, it seems slightly worse than it was in 2016.
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#487151 - 03/13/18 12:12 PM Re: New Pond Construction In Jefferson Co, Mo. [Re: John Fitzgerald]
Rainman Offline
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Originally Posted By: John Fitzgerald
Originally Posted By: Rainman
Oh...and, Bentonite is a colloidal clay...the smallest fines will often keep the pond perpetually muddy.


I put in Bentonite in combination with Soilfloc in 2016, and it all sank to the bottom fairly quickly, wasn't muddy for more than a few minutes. Last winter my pond had 10 foot visibility for a few days. The Soilfloc/Bentonite combo did not help with the leak long term. In fact, it seems slightly worse than it was in 2016.


Maybe there are other sources or types of Bentonite, or the water chemistry may play a part in the colloids, but I have been called to add Alum on over 20 ponds that used Bentonite
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#487164 - 03/13/18 03:52 PM Re: New Pond Construction In Jefferson Co, Mo. [Re: Bobbss]
keifer Offline


Registered: 05/21/17
Posts: 16
Loc: SW Pennsylvania, USA
John and Rainman:
As the owner/builder of a small-leaky pond, I appreciate your knowledge and experience with both soil floc and bentonite. While I'm hoping for a magic bullet remedy, I'm beginning to realize no one has found it yet.

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#487171 - 03/13/18 05:18 PM Re: New Pond Construction In Jefferson Co, Mo. [Re: Bobbss]
Bobbss Offline


Registered: 10/27/16
Posts: 319
Loc: Jefferson County Missouri
Rex and John,I heard you guys loud and clear!But,my pond build seemed convinced that it would help.I figured it would be hard for me to complain about his work if I didn't try what he was saying.lol!So, for good or bad,whether or not a total waste of time and money, I put a half a pallet of bentonite down today.I walked around and put deep foot prints in the mud before putting the bentonite down then used a shovel to chop and mix things up the best I could.I tried to tamp things down with a 10" tamp but it was to muddy.If things dry out some before the next rain I'll try again.I think my pond builder is hoping it will slow things down and hold water longer so cracks from the drought will have more of a chance to close,and the bentonite might help fill in cracks.
I've heard of people having leaky ponds,then after letting livestock in the area,the pond would stop leaking from the livestock packing things down.Whether or not that is true,I don't know,but maybe me tromping around in the mud will help.lol!
At least now I can say I tried.lol!
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#487175 - 03/13/18 07:46 PM Re: New Pond Construction In Jefferson Co, Mo. [Re: Rainman]
John Fitzgerald Online   content


Registered: 10/27/15
Posts: 2010
Loc: S. end of Elkins, Arkansas
Rex,
I don't know what it is with the water chemistry, but my older pond that was renovated in August 2015 will not stay muddy for very long even if you stir it up, sprinkle Bentonite in, or after a heavy rain. After a big flood, it's cleared up in two days. Dye doesn't last long either. I wonder what causes it to clear so fast? I wish it would stay a little muddy to combat the bad FA problem.
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#487182 - 03/14/18 12:20 AM Re: New Pond Construction In Jefferson Co, Mo. [Re: Bobbss]
Rainman Offline
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Loc: St Louis, MO area
Originally Posted By: Bobbss
Rex and John,I heard you guys loud and clear!But,my pond build seemed convinced that it would help.I figured it would be hard for me to complain about his work if I didn't try what he was saying.lol!So, for good or bad,whether or not a total waste of time and money, I put a half a pallet of bentonite down today.I walked around and put deep foot prints in the mud before putting the bentonite down then used a shovel to chop and mix things up the best I could.I tried to tamp things down with a 10" tamp but it was to muddy.If things dry out some before the next rain I'll try again.I think my pond builder is hoping it will slow things down and hold water longer so cracks from the drought will have more of a chance to close,and the bentonite might help fill in cracks.
I've heard of people having leaky ponds,then after letting livestock in the area,the pond would stop leaking from the livestock packing things down.Whether or not that is true,I don't know,but maybe me tromping around in the mud will help.lol!
At least now I can say I tried.lol!


Bob, your pond builder was convinced it wouldn't leak...sorry, but he is wrong.
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#487183 - 03/14/18 12:23 AM Re: New Pond Construction In Jefferson Co, Mo. [Re: Bobbss]
Rainman Offline
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Registered: 06/06/07
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Loc: St Louis, MO area
Originally Posted By: Bobbss
Rex and John,I heard you guys loud and clear!But,my pond build seemed convinced that it would help.I figured it would be hard for me to complain about his work if I didn't try what he was saying.lol!So, for good or bad,whether or not a total waste of time and money, I put a half a pallet of bentonite down today.I walked around and put deep foot prints in the mud before putting the bentonite down then used a shovel to chop and mix things up the best I could.I tried to tamp things down with a 10" tamp but it was to muddy.If things dry out some before the next rain I'll try again.I think my pond builder is hoping it will slow things down and hold water longer so cracks from the drought will have more of a chance to close,and the bentonite might help fill in cracks.
I've heard of people having leaky ponds,then after letting livestock in the area,the pond would stop leaking from the livestock packing things down.Whether or not that is true,I don't know,but maybe me tromping around in the mud will help.lol!
At least now I can say I tried.lol!


Penning in hoofed animals in an area is where the name came from for a "Sheep's Foot Roller"
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#487219 - 03/14/18 10:31 PM Re: New Pond Construction In Jefferson Co, Mo. [Re: Rainman]
Bobbss Offline


Registered: 10/27/16
Posts: 319
Loc: Jefferson County Missouri
Originally Posted By: Rainman
Originally Posted By: Bobbss
Rex and John,I heard you guys loud and clear!But,my pond build seemed convinced that it would help.I figured it would be hard for me to complain about his work if I didn't try what he was saying.lol!So, for good or bad,whether or not a total waste of time and money, I put a half a pallet of bentonite down today.I walked around and put deep foot prints in the mud before putting the bentonite down then used a shovel to chop and mix things up the best I could.I tried to tamp things down with a 10" tamp but it was to muddy.If things dry out some before the next rain I'll try again.I think my pond builder is hoping it will slow things down and hold water longer so cracks from the drought will have more of a chance to close,and the bentonite might help fill in cracks.
I've heard of people having leaky ponds,then after letting livestock in the area,the pond would stop leaking from the livestock packing things down.Whether or not that is true,I don't know,but maybe me tromping around in the mud will help.lol!
At least now I can say I tried.lol!


Penning in hoofed animals in an area is where the name came from for a "Sheep's Foot Roller"
It is funny how some things and old sayings got their names and got started.
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#487220 - 03/14/18 11:05 PM Re: New Pond Construction In Jefferson Co, Mo. [Re: Rainman]
Bobbss Offline


Registered: 10/27/16
Posts: 319
Loc: Jefferson County Missouri
Originally Posted By: Rainman
Originally Posted By: Bobbss
Thanks guys!I think or at least thought Rex was talking about the bottom of my pond needing compacted.My pond builder says that the problem has to be in the bottom,maybe a gravel seem opened up do to the drought.He says he knows the dam is packed good and holding.I can't find any water behind the dam.


I mean the entire pond's pool area. if the dam WAS properly constructed and compacted, and the leak is in the bottom, then the core of the dam was not deep enough to block off water flow upstream. A LOT of ponds leak out the sides and go around the dam because again, the core was never built into the sides to block lateral flow. Leaking ponds can be a nightmare!
I keep reading back over this.Rex,are you saying that if a core is deep enough and goes far enough into the sides it can still hold water after everything is fully saturated in between the leak and core?
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#487229 - 03/15/18 11:02 AM Re: New Pond Construction In Jefferson Co, Mo. [Re: Bobbss]
Rainman Offline
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Loc: St Louis, MO area
Originally Posted By: Bobbss
Originally Posted By: Rainman
Originally Posted By: Bobbss
Thanks guys!I think or at least thought Rex was talking about the bottom of my pond needing compacted.My pond builder says that the problem has to be in the bottom,maybe a gravel seem opened up do to the drought.He says he knows the dam is packed good and holding.I can't find any water behind the dam.


I mean the entire pond's pool area. if the dam WAS properly constructed and compacted, and the leak is in the bottom, then the core of the dam was not deep enough to block off water flow upstream. A LOT of ponds leak out the sides and go around the dam because again, the core was never built into the sides to block lateral flow. Leaking ponds can be a nightmare!
I keep reading back over this.Rex,are you saying that if a core is deep enough and goes far enough into the sides it can still hold water after everything is fully saturated in between the leak and core?


Yes, the purpose of a well compacted core is to block any flow of water upstream of the core....the water can spread out laterally to saturate soils, but is unable to drain beyond or below the core. This is why a pond should be dug beyond the final grades, then brought back to grades creating a well compacted clay blanket. If you are in good clay, and stop without refilling, how could you know that "good clay" is not only a quarter inch thick on top of sand or gravel....?


Edited by Rainman (03/15/18 11:03 AM)
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#487235 - 03/15/18 01:25 PM Re: New Pond Construction In Jefferson Co, Mo. [Re: Bobbss]
Bobbss Offline


Registered: 10/27/16
Posts: 319
Loc: Jefferson County Missouri
Thanks Rex!That's the way I was thinking it worked but the way I was reading some of the post on here I started taking it as the bowl had to hold all the water or it would leak no matter what.
I don't know how much water soil will hold?I know I read somewhere, someone said the ground around a pond can hold as much water as the pond it's self.Considering we've been in a bad drought every since it was built,I don't know if I've lost enough water to saturate all the soil in front of the core.
When we dug the test holes we hit the best clay at around 2.5' and we went down to 8' and the clay was still good but it started getting harder packed.He said that was the depth that he wanted to cut the core trench, and he claims he stuck with that plan.


Edited by Bobbss (03/15/18 01:57 PM)
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#487336 - 03/18/18 11:52 AM Re: New Pond Construction In Jefferson Co, Mo. [Re: Bobbss]
Bobbss Offline


Registered: 10/27/16
Posts: 319
Loc: Jefferson County Missouri
I figure there isn't much more I can do but wait for enough rain that there is no doubt what is going on.I thought we was going to get a good rain on Friday but it turned into another drought rain.It broke up as it got near me and we only got less than a .10".They say tomorrow we may get up to 1.5" but I won't hold my breath.lol!
I did start a little test with my soil to see how much water it can hold, just for fun.I'm doing it at my work so I won't finish with it until tomorrow but it was holding well over 50% of it's own weight of water so far.That is a lot of water!


Edited by Bobbss (03/18/18 11:53 AM)
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#487337 - 03/18/18 12:18 PM Re: New Pond Construction In Jefferson Co, Mo. [Re: Bobbss]
John Fitzgerald Online   content


Registered: 10/27/15
Posts: 2010
Loc: S. end of Elkins, Arkansas
We have not had any rain here since the big one that broke the drought the last few days of February. For nearly three years now, we have had drought broken by floods, drought again, flood again. Never consistent rainfall. My leaker is now down about 17 inches from its high mark.
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#487346 - 03/18/18 08:06 PM Re: New Pond Construction In Jefferson Co, Mo. [Re: Bobbss]
Bobbss Offline


Registered: 10/27/16
Posts: 319
Loc: Jefferson County Missouri
John are you getting rain down your way now?The radar I just looked at showed some rain down that way.
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#487349 - 03/18/18 08:35 PM Re: New Pond Construction In Jefferson Co, Mo. [Re: Bobbss]
John Fitzgerald Online   content


Registered: 10/27/15
Posts: 2010
Loc: S. end of Elkins, Arkansas
We received just over 1/10 of an inch. Rain has moved off to the NE now. No more chances for several days.
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#487359 - 03/18/18 11:24 PM Re: New Pond Construction In Jefferson Co, Mo. [Re: Bobbss]
Bobbss Offline


Registered: 10/27/16
Posts: 319
Loc: Jefferson County Missouri
Last night they was saying 1 1/2" for tomorrow around here and now they've changed it to around 1/2".I hate to see what it is dropped to by morning.lol!
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#487361 - 03/18/18 11:57 PM Re: New Pond Construction In Jefferson Co, Mo. [Re: Bobbss]
snrub Offline


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 5098
Loc: SE Kansas
Had a nice shower here in SE Ks but I do not know how much. Should have put the rain gauge out today. According to the radar summary (which can be way off) it is within the half inch range. My guess is that is close to right.

We have another chance just before sun up. We need it here for corn planting. Getting a bit on the dry side. An inch would be perfect for corn planting. Two to three inches would put the ponds back full. Down about 6" right now.
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#487371 - 03/19/18 09:23 AM Re: New Pond Construction In Jefferson Co, Mo. [Re: Bobbss]
SetterGuy Offline


Registered: 10/30/13
Posts: 1292
Loc: NE Missouri
Still saying 1" for St Louis area. Of course, 1/4" up by our pond.
Our pond has been lower in the past than it is right now, so we've had worse droughts.
Bob, are you ready for some rain? Looks like rain again Friday, then on and off for a week.
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#487381 - 03/19/18 10:59 AM Re: New Pond Construction In Jefferson Co, Mo. [Re: Bobbss]
Bobbss Offline


Registered: 10/27/16
Posts: 319
Loc: Jefferson County Missouri
Jeff, I'm about as ready as I'm going to get for now.lol!I've done what I can for now, even if it was a waist of time, at least I tried.lol!I need enough rain that it leaves no doubt whats going on.So the more, the better.
I'm glad you heard that we should still get a 1" around hear. Channel 2 last night showed .6X" on their map I thought, but I could be wrong and I know they could be.lol!
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