Pond Boss
Posted By: KrisAhrens Compaction Question - 12/06/21 01:05 AM
We are on the process of trying dig out and compact a ~1 acre pond that has leaked significantly for years. It is located in eastern Nebraska and the soil is supposed to have sufficient clay. The pond also has a significant amount of bentonite that my grandpa put in there trying to get it sealed.

We dug all the muck out and are now compacting it with a double barrel sheepsfoot roller and a jd 5100E. Most of the pond is packing pretty well and is now getting to the point where the sheepsfoot barely even makes a mark. There are like 3-4 spots though that seem to just be mushing under the weight of the track tires and roller. You can see the soil squish out away from the load points rather than press down and compact. We tried digging a hole with an excavator and to get to what looked like good soil and mixed it into those softer areas but it still just seems to never firm up. My question is so you think this is a moisture problem (too wet) or should we dig those areas out with an excavator and put in different soil and compact again?

I will say too that when we were digging we ran into a lighter color material that seems more greasy/slimy and mushy. I don’t know if it is another sort of wet clay. It seems to make a ball fairly easy but doesn’t seem to compact like some of the other soil or the bentonite in the pond.

Additionally, if anyone has an contacts in the Omaha area that are good soil or pond building guys that I could contact about hiring as a consultant for a day to come take a look at our project that would be awesome. We have gotten this far we just don’t really have the knowledge about soils to get it across the finish line.

I highlighted the soft areas in red. The other areas seem to be compacting fairly well. I also had a post on another thread that explains another thing that seemed to happen in these same areas where the tire of the tractor would fall into a “hole” and feel like it was going to tip over. There is also some photos of the soil difference in that thread.


[Linked Image from i.ibb.co] [Linked Image from i.ibb.co]
Posted By: FishinRod Re: Compaction Question - 12/06/21 10:55 PM

teehjaeh57 is a good consultant based out of Lincoln. I don't know if he is swamped right now, or if things are slow.

You might try sending him a PM and see what he suggests. He should know your soils fairly well, and may be available for a site visit.

(His email address is also available in his profile, but I don't want to print it in the forum.)

Good luck!
Posted By: esshup Re: Compaction Question - 12/07/21 03:39 PM
I would say that the areas are too wet. If the soil is dug out from that area, and it's let sit for a day, does water collect or bubble up in those areas?

Maybe if you can get some good compactable soil that is on the dry side, put that in the hole, then start the compaction process you might be able to get ahead of the excess water problem. Those areas are probably the areas that you had problems with water exiting your pond. Now that there is less pressure from the pond side, the water is seeping back in. I don't know if putting a layer of SoilFloc down, then covering it up with good clay and compacting that would work - ask TJ.
Posted By: KrisAhrens Re: Compaction Question - 12/10/21 12:36 PM
We ended up doing just this. It does seem like the material, once dried a little, is good clay as it picks really well. When it is wet however compressing the ball in your hand makes it just squish out your fingers. We dug the area out and packed back with dryer good dirt under the top soil of a side hill around the pond. It is solid now. We pulled up the saturated wet material and are letting it dry before be scatter it back across the pond floor and compact for another layer. We have successfully got a hard compacted on in the bottom now so we figured even if it is not the right material it will be on top of our already compacted pan. I have been talking with TJ and do plan on getting some polymer but we are kind of racing the weather holding out here in Nebraska. We want to get this as far as we can before we start getting snow that will hopefully start filling the pond back up.

Thank you for the responses. This forum and TJs help has been extremely beneficial. I plan on writing up a full story on what we did at the end of this project as it may be helpful for others with similar situation.
Posted By: Bob Lusk Re: Compaction Question - 01/04/22 02:31 AM
Hey Kris,
We'd be interested in publishing your story in Pond Boss magazine.
For others interested in submitting stories, here's what we like:
What you had to work with,
What you did to "fix it".
1200-1500 words, Word document, single-spaced, one space after a sentence, indent each paragraph, Times-New Roman, 12 pt font.
5-7 photos that help tell the story.

Email me with story ideas.
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