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#3010 05/08/03 11:28 PM
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i built a 14 acre lake(hole)with a 25' dam across a wash that is normally a dry creek look. the soil off each side is excellent hard clay that went into the dam and my only concern was a little sandy in the middle where the old wash bed was and where the water began to pool first below the dam. its been record dry and i only have about 110 acres of watershed so i was ok that i never had but 3 or 4 feet of water pooled in the middle. as far as it ever got was about 100 yards of water up on the bottom edge of the foot of the dam. i started pumping water from a live creek below the dam at about 3.5 days per acre foot. there was only about a foot of water left at the bottom area when i started in a very small pool. the first week it came up about 3' and in 10 days was about a foot higher than it had ever been- really getting up out of the middle hole and up on to the the foot of the dam. in one day it dropped about 4" and then a few more and seems to be holding its own at about the same level as the old high- the problem is that i am adding about 75 gallons a minute 24/7. its creeped up barely but i am loosing a lot of water. it was Saturday when it dropped big(the pump ran all that day too.)the pool is about 3 or 4 feet . 100-125yards by 50or 60 yards. we bought 3500 lbs of bentonite at only 5 dollars per 100lbs and then realized we dont know what to do with it. Can we dump it in the pool. should we drain it and till in the bentonite. how much do we need. where is the leak. are we wasting that that is applied not on the leak. is it the foot of the dam or the relatively sandy hole in the middle of the pool. we cant find anything wet below the dam. Should i be thinking of a key along the dam edge or just pouring the bentonite on. If i can just throw in the pool then how much until i gave it a good chance to work. how do i apply it. is it even close to as good as tilling it in. thanks and sorry about the length. i am panicked. i envision that every day i am washing out a bigger leak hole and want to act fast.

#3011 05/09/03 06:39 AM
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Mark, nobody can really tell you where the leak, if one exists, is coming from. New ponds have a lot of dirt to saturate. It is common to fill a new hole with water and have the water level drop. However, if you hit a sandy area, most likely it won't hold water. Sand is the usual strata of an aquifer and generally the source of leaks. The Bentonite sellers recommend that you till it into the soil. However, I have never seen one that would guarantee that it works. Do a search on this site for bentonite. You can also do a full www search and learn a lot plus talk to some pro's. Good luck.

#3012 05/09/03 08:39 AM
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thanks Dave. i will try tilling it in up the wash bed in the bottom of my ravine. i was always afraid that the bottom was too close to a sand level underneath- the south canadian river basin is only about 30' below me and 1/4 mile north. buuut, what about the small pond thats there. can i dump bentonite right in the water in that middle section or should i drain it and till it in.

#3013 05/09/03 11:24 AM
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Mark, I have had lousy luck with Bentonite but there has to be a right way to do it. Tossing it in the water and hoping for the best has never worked for me. Cecil Baird just finished doing that but used granular instead of the flour kind. He has just finished using it and I would exdpect it to be a little early to know the results. At a recent seminar, Bentonite was discussed. They said that what you are asking about is called Sprinkling and is the least desirable way to use it. I thing I would drain it, use more than is recommended and till it in. However, you might have to wait until it has dried up. When that stuff gets wet, it is slicker than snot. Interestingly enough, they said that the best Bentonite comes from Oklahoma.

#3014 05/11/03 09:18 PM
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Dave, i appreciate the input. i had already bought the flour kind so it was sprinkled in the pond all over with a canoe this weekend- what a mess. i figured i could till it in later with more fresh if this doesnt work. i would definitely recommend granular for anyone putting it in the water. my pump is still running so i will let you know if i see any difference. let me hear what cecil baird experiences. i would like to try ess-13 next before draining it to till bentonite. however the guy i called, shawn at seepage control said they dont just sell you a barrel to dump on your own. they only do it with their techs over the entire area of the pond. i have a 3/4 acre, 4 foot puddle in a 14 acre hole. i would like to just dump a few barrels and see what happens. i have good clay and most of my hole wont seep. i just need to seal this bottom middle sandy part.


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