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#501308 - 01/29/19 03:50 PM Removing colloidal bentonite
Augie Online   content


Registered: 10/29/18
Posts: 169
Loc: Boone County Missouri
I'll start by saying that I've read every muddy water thread on the PB forums and haven't seen anything that specifically addresses my somewhat unique situation, at least in a way that my Lamont brain is able to process, so I'm going to ask it.

My little puddle has not yet completed filling, so for ease of figuring let's say current volume is .1 acre x 10' deep = 1 acre/foot of water.

I used a healthy amount of sodium bentonite while re-coring the dam after I finished de-mucking/making deeper. The water that's in there now has a distinctive dark gray coloration to it. After a big rain it will turn a more typical reddish-brown from the clay that washes in, but that clears in just a few days returning the water to the previous gray coloring. (the problem)

I have not yet stocked anything - no forage, no fish. That will begin this spring. (nothing to kill)

I've place 125 ton of crushed limestone in the basin and along one bank, and will be lining the inside face of the dam as weather and ground conditions permit. (adequate buffer)

I've seen postings here and elsewhere that state hydrated lime, applied in sufficient amounts, will turn water gin clear. Would it be effective (and practical), given the statements above, to spread hydrated lime on top of the ice in order to floc the suspended bentonite? (the first question)

Assuming the answer to the first question is "yes" or "it depends" how much hydrated lime would I want to use in this situation? (the second question)

The pros as my limited understanding allows me to see them:
1)Cost - Hydrated lime is $12/bag vs aluminum sulfate at $34.75/bag.

2)Effort - Scattering a few hundred pounds of dry material on the ice will be much less work than mixing and pump-spraying 2000 or more gallons of alum slurry into the water after the pond thaws out.

3)Weather - I want to accomplish the floc treatment before I stock fish, and right now there is good ice to work on.

The cons as my limited understanding allows me to see them:
1)Derp - It won't work.

I'm interested in your thoughts. If it's a stupid idea just say "Hey Lamont, ya big dummy! That's a stupid idea and it won't work." If it's an "it depends" idea I'm willing to spend a couple bucks and be the crash test dummy who tries it.

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#501309 - 01/29/19 04:55 PM Re: Removing colloidal bentonite [Re: Augie]
Quarter Acre Offline


Registered: 06/10/16
Posts: 1419
Loc: West Central Missouri
I'm no expert by a long shot here, Augie, but I can say that it takes some time (a couple of years or more) for a pond to settle into itself. We all know that a pond never stops changing...It starts off very unstable, levels off, for the most part, for most of its middle life, then degrades at the end.

My advice to myself, if I was in your situation, would be to have patience and see where the following year or so takes the pond. I do not have endless funds, nor endless back muscles, to tackle every "potential" problem.

You have sustainably wreaked havoc on that hole in the ground and may find that takes care of itself without the extra money and effort.

On the flip side, a more dedicated pond meister will find advice on these forums for steering a BOW in every way possible. I look forward to reading those suggestions as they are added to your thread.

I can say that rock (rip rap) at the shore line will greatly reduce the muddying of the water due to wind and wave action, but your pond has not gotten to full pool yet and I would hesitate to rock the whole pond.
Just my thoughts which were not derived from experience,
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#501310 - 01/29/19 05:46 PM Re: Removing colloidal bentonite [Re: Augie]
Snipe Offline


Registered: 10/26/18
Posts: 500
Loc: NW Kansas
I would not use Hydrated Lime alone..That's a buffering agent to be used WITH Aluminum sulfate as a pH stabilizer. I'm no expert either so best have someone like Rainman hopefully post here.
As QA says, I don't believe you want rock substrate to cover entire bottom either.. you need to have interaction between water and soil for certain parts of the foodchain to develop and I'm sure there are other chemically related issues as well.
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#501311 - 01/29/19 05:47 PM Re: Removing colloidal bentonite [Re: Augie]
DannyMac Offline


Registered: 04/15/18
Posts: 110
Loc: Bexar county Texas
I suggest you look at an ionic liquid flocculant, once your ice thaws. I used two gallons ($62.50 each) for my one tenth acre seven foot pond. Suspended sediments included some clay and limestone dust. The first gallon took it to about two feet clear within a day. So I spread another gallon. Dumping diluted along edges and tossing out diluted from a bucket. The second gallon got me another foot of clarity. I found my blue dye was blue, not green. The fish on the bottom are stirring the water and the sediments, but they still settle out. I have bentonite but I'm out of the floc or I would try an experiment to floc and sink bentonite. I will be getting more floc come spring...love the stuff for my small pond.
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#501318 - 01/30/19 01:09 AM Re: Removing colloidal bentonite [Re: Augie]
Rainman Offline
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Registered: 06/06/07
Posts: 7022
Loc: St Louis, MO area
Augie, without fish or vegetation, Hydrated lime alone can probably accomplish what you want. To know "if" Hydrated Lime will work or not, do a simple jar test. You can buy a bag of Type S Hydrated lime at home depot for about $9, or you can go to a grocery store that sells McCormack seasonings and get a small container of Alum (If alum clears your water, so will Hydrated Lime alone)....Or the easiest method for application is to call me LOL...probably not the the lowest priced, but certainly most effective...lol I can pump 2000 gallons in about 45 seconds...lol

If you recently "demucked" and the muddy inflow clears, returning to a grey color, I'd lay odds your water also smells like sewage, because it essentially is. Hydrated Lime will help decay the remaining organics disturbed by heavy equipment.

I would highly suggest waiting till the water thaws and creating lime slurry to pour into the water.....dry product would require far more lime to become effective, if effective at all. On the bright side, the lethally high pH created by hydrated lime only lasts a couple weeks and will not delay stocking plans....Bentonite is a common colloidal clay and H lime will quickly take it to the bottom. I'd also try waiting till the pond is full to avoid new inflow suspending due to bare clay soil.


Edited by Rainman (01/30/19 01:11 AM)
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#501344 - 01/30/19 11:41 PM Re: Removing colloidal bentonite [Re: Augie]
Snipe Offline


Registered: 10/26/18
Posts: 500
Loc: NW Kansas
This is why Rainman gets the big bucks..Knowledge!!
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#501392 - 02/01/19 10:55 AM Re: Removing colloidal bentonite [Re: Rainman]
Augie Online   content


Registered: 10/29/18
Posts: 169
Loc: Boone County Missouri
Thanks Rex. That's the kind of answer I was looking for.

After several days and nights of single-digit temps the pond is quite safe to walk on.
I'm going to cut a hole in the ice today and dip out a bit of the liquid stuff that's underneath for a jar test.

The de-mucking and cleanout was thorough. There's not a trace of nasty odor to the water.

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#501404 - 02/01/19 10:08 PM Re: Removing colloidal bentonite [Re: Augie]
Rainman Offline
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Registered: 06/06/07
Posts: 7022
Loc: St Louis, MO area
Originally Posted By: Augie
Thanks Rex. That's the kind of answer I was looking for.

After several days and nights of single-digit temps the pond is quite safe to walk on.
I'm going to cut a hole in the ice today and dip out a bit of the liquid stuff that's underneath for a jar test.

The de-mucking and cleanout was thorough. There's not a trace of nasty odor to the water.


Then the grey may be Lime dust from all the ag lime you added....the jar test will let you know what works best.

Be really careful on the ice. I installed a 250 pound grate over an overflow box today...Ice started at 6 inches at noon and was down to 2 inches by 4:30. My foot slipped through a hole in the ice along side the overflow vault...I was already holding to solid structure since I was on top of a 16 foot depth...could ruined my whole afternoon! Wait till the 70 degree temps come Sunday and let the water mix before gathering your jar test


Edited by Rainman (02/01/19 10:14 PM)
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#501419 - 02/02/19 12:48 PM Re: Removing colloidal bentonite [Re: Rainman]
Augie Online   content


Registered: 10/29/18
Posts: 169
Loc: Boone County Missouri
I fell in the ice hole a few times back in my younger days while chopping holes for the cows to drink. It ruined my day every time it happened. I'm glad you didn't go in.

It hadn't occurred to me that the gray color might be from all of that lime dust, but it makes perfect sense. A whole lot more crushed limestone went in compared to the amount of bentonite.

I used my chainsaw to cut a hole, gave it some time to settle, then went back out and dipped up a sample. To me it just looks like nice clear pond water with a bit of a bloom going on. The lighting wasn't the best for the picture, but the water in the bucket has a green tint to it.

I'm thinking the best thing to do right now is to do nothing.


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