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Draining, Mechanical removal Muck, poor access
#512016 09/26/19 12:08 PM
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Hi everyone. I've got a 2 acre pond in Georgia with fairly steep wooded banks that's fed by small springs AND run off. I've been syphoning down during a drought with a 2" syphon. I'm down 5' with another 4 or 5' to go to about as good as I can given the springs. I plan to get an excavator and see what I can get out. Most of the 'muck' will have to come out at one place (the natural lower point/overflow location) which limits what I can actually get done. I can push some of this over the dam from this point. I walked out on the part of the pond that's drained (carefully) after being dry a month. With a small PVC pipe I've tested spots to determine depth of muck. Range is 1 ft-5 ft. I really don't know what I should do. Keep it drained and try to use excavator next summer? I don't want to rush it and get stuck. I suppose I can try a trash pump in the small footprint of a pond remaining or stir up the remaining pond as much as possible and let the syphon take it out??

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Last edited by JinComerGA; 09/26/19 02:30 PM.
Re: Draining, Mechanical removal Muck, poor access
JinComerGA #512055 09/27/19 09:20 AM
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Welcome to PB. Smarter guys than myself will have some good advice for you, but here's mine for what it's worth.

I de-mucked and made deeper a much smaller pond using a 70hp 4x4 loader tractor.
It took me all of four summers working on it in my spare time.
I had a skeeter hole 300' from the pond where I could dump the spoil.

I can tell you right now that swinging the muck up onto the dam and then pushing it over is not going to work for long. That stuff takes forever to dry out unless you spread it out pretty thin and then it still takes forever to dry out. With all those trees behind the dam you don't have room anyway for the mountain of goo that needs to come out.

You won't be able to keep the hole dry enough to work in unless you cut the dam. Even with that done you'll still have to pump water out so you can work in it.

My project thread is here:
http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=500175#Post500175

Most of the pics are missing thanks to tinypic shutting down, but I've gotten a few of them transferred to a new hosting site and a start on getting the pics back into the post. There are a few from the early work that will give you a bit of an idea what you're facing if you decide to clean out your pond.

Knowing what I know now, if I had another pond that I was determined to clean out, I'd call dirt guy and get ready to spend a lot of $$$.

Good luck with your project, however you decide to tackle it.

Re: Draining, Mechanical removal Muck, poor access
Augie #512061 09/27/19 10:45 AM
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If space permits, you might think about just building new pond closeby and using the existing pond as a settlement basin. Divert outflow from existing pond to new by piping or ditch. Probably cheaper than cleaning out old pond and then you can get away from so much leaf litter.

Re: Draining, Mechanical removal Muck, poor access
JinComerGA #512064 09/27/19 12:22 PM
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Thanks for replying. I don't really have any other options for another pond location due to the rolling nature of the land. This pond was built in the 60's and has a great spring and decent riparian buffer considering it's steepness. I plan to improve the riparian buffer this year. I guess I'd just like to know how hard it would be to perhaps use a trash pump for the remaining 1 acre (post draining) pond in conjunction with using a mini excavator and small skid steer on the dry portion based on the photographs I submitted. I don't mind putting in the work! Any expert or non expert opinions, advice and warnings are welcomed!

PS: It's in Georgia so we have good clay base!

Re: Draining, Mechanical removal Muck, poor access
Augie #512065 09/27/19 12:26 PM
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Thanks for your reply andproviding your link! I'm reading through now. Discouraging but not demoralized-yet. lol

Re: Draining, Mechanical removal Muck, poor access
JinComerGA #512067 09/27/19 01:54 PM
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A man can do pretty much whatever he sets his mind to with enough determination and $$$.

Seems like your biggest obstacle is where to put the muck after it comes out of the pond.

For sure it can be dug out, but if you dig it out you need a place to dispose of it.

For sure it can be slurried and pumped out, but it has to go somewhere. A couple acre-feet of slurried muck pumped over the dam would make a god-awful mess if a monsoon rain came before the weeds grew up on it and washed a bunch of it down the holler. Could cause serious downstream damage and result in unhappy neighbors or DNR types knocking on your door.

Do you or a neighbor have pasture or crop ground? Might be able to pump the slurry into a honey wagon and use it for fertilizer?

Re: Draining, Mechanical removal Muck, poor access
Augie #512069 09/27/19 02:15 PM
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Let it dry a bit and make a heck of a garden with it, believe you could sprout a broom stick itís so fertile

Re: Draining, Mechanical removal Muck, poor access
Pat Williamson #512072 09/27/19 02:37 PM
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I thought muck was highly acidic and anaerobic? I mean it looks fertile but I don't think it really is.

Re: Draining, Mechanical removal Muck, poor access
Augie #512073 09/27/19 02:40 PM
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it's got plenty of opportunity to displace downstream into a swamp. No farming or homes south of me. Just a timber swamp.

Re: Draining, Mechanical removal Muck, poor access
JinComerGA #512074 09/27/19 02:45 PM
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Problem solved!

Pat's idea of using some on the garden patch is a good one. Pond muck is very fertile stuff. You could think of it as underwater compost made from everything that ever fell in or died in the pond.

I wish that I had hoarded some back for that when I first started cleaning my pond out.

Re: Draining, Mechanical removal Muck, poor access
JinComerGA #512081 09/27/19 03:59 PM
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I used some of my pond muck to level the yard and it grew grass very well. Be warned, however, that some pond muck can be too fertile and burn new plants (like over fertilizing your tomatoes). Some recommend mixing in other soils to tame it back some...I got lucky, I guess, that and I let it set for 6 months to dry out before using.


Fish on!,
Noel
Re: Draining, Mechanical removal Muck, poor access
JinComerGA #512084 09/27/19 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted By: JinComerGA
I thought muck was highly acidic and anaerobic? I mean it looks fertile but I don't think it really is.

It is somewhat anaerobic in its current state but if piled up and left to dry out for several years it can become very fertile, tons of natural nitrogen in the stuff.

Having cleaned out a few ponds in the past, and you say there is no fragile area behind it, I would cut the dam and let it dry for a year or two, then the muck can be dug out and piled up somewhat for future use and the dam refinished just like new.


All the really good ideas I've ever had came to me while I was milking a cow.
Re: Draining, Mechanical removal Muck, poor access
JinComerGA #512175 09/30/19 06:31 AM
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Jim, that stuff is going to be the consistency of pudding and doesn't pump at all well. Hate to say it, but I would break the dam or just live with it.


It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP
Re: Draining, Mechanical removal Muck, poor access
JinComerGA #512181 09/30/19 08:49 AM
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I agree with Dave. I am sure that some ponds have been de-mucked by pumping the water out and keeping it pumped out over the course of the drying season, but that has got to be very hard to do given you have 5 foot of muck...you pump all the water out, but the 5 foot of muck will still be wet and will never dry out. My pond had 8 foot of muck, broke the dam to let the 2 foot of water out in May, then came back and broke the dam further below the muck line down to the original depth (or very close) so that the muck could de-water. The pond was left to set like that for the summer. It rained regular, but the water that flowed in...flowed back out the break. It was de-mucked in October, took 3 days to de-muck and a day to pack the break back in.

Muck is amazing stuff...kinda like quicksand. It still flowed like lava as it was being put on the back side of the dam and we couldn't do any dressing until the next year. It takes forever to really dry out.


Fish on!,
Noel
Re: Draining, Mechanical removal Muck, poor access
JinComerGA #512193 09/30/19 11:35 AM
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I am going to say the opposite. Fill it full of water and then use a flexable syphon pipe to suction the muck over the dam and down to a place you can deal with it.

Water can move just about anything. I would use it like a vacuum. Just know you need a place below the dam to settle the muck out and then it can be dealt with on your schedule.


Brian

The one thing is the one thing
A dry fly catches no fish
Try not to be THAT 10%
Re: Draining, Mechanical removal Muck, poor access
JinComerGA #512198 09/30/19 02:10 PM
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This one is kind of big for it,but I've always wondered why you couldn't use the longest reach excavator you can get and dig out all you can. That area would become the deepest and wouldn't the muck kind of be self leveling and keep filling the area you cleaned out back up? Then you could just keep relearning that area, even if you you have to give it a few months in between cleanings? I'm sure it wouldn't be as good as breaking the dam,but I would think it would be a lot cheaper?


Bob


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Re: Draining, Mechanical removal Muck, poor access
Bobbss #512208 09/30/19 06:09 PM
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I have thought the same thing, but digging under water can be difficult.

Re: Draining, Mechanical removal Muck, poor access
JinComerGA #512213 09/30/19 07:36 PM
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Unless you hit some man made structures under the water what can you really hurt. Well never mind I guess you could bust thur your clay layer. Hit rock bottom (which happened to me). I didnt have water in it so I packed it with 2 feet of kansas clay. So unless your being careful and only taking small layers at a time you want 2 be careful. When your on the bottom you will be able to tell from how much drag you got on the bucket. Slow n steady will win that race. like I have said before I'm no pro but my advice (opinion) is free.

Last edited by RStringer; 09/30/19 08:39 PM.

The people who say I can't do it can just sit the @^#% down and watch me. Friends call me Rusto I also subscribe to pond boss mag. http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=504716#Post504716
Re: Draining, Mechanical removal Muck, poor access
JinComerGA #512236 10/01/19 04:48 PM
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I got out in the kayak at half drained level and used my paddle on the water's edge. The stuff stirs up like mud soup pretty easily! I think I will use a trash pump at the dam side periodically as I lower the water level. Lots of exposed tree stumps now as well as the shape of a small creek that the springs fed before creating the pond. I'd say the median is 1.5 ft of sediment with several areas being 4-5 ft.

Re: Draining, Mechanical removal Muck, poor access
JinComerGA #512246 10/01/19 08:23 PM
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I'm trying to rap my head around demucking a pond with a trash pump, or get a visual. What keeps appearing is a 2 acre mud hole with a small figure with a straw working that straw up and down, and this little cocoa colored pee stream coming out over the dam. Say you get through the wettest of the muck, you even get through the looser pudding. around here the major accumulation of muck is thicker than pudding. your not going to insert a stick and stir that stuff up. Only way I can envision getting it pumpable is blasting through it with water pressure, like the gold miners done the mountain sides like 100 years ago.

I would take the advice given and use a more petroleum based hydraulic removal process. Cut the dam. Get a long reach and dozer out there, or regular excavator and dozer, heck if your pond is 2 acres you really need a couple excavators to get it done in a reasonable amount of time. Man your talkin 2 ACRES! That is a mountain of mud if that hole has any depth to it.

Please don't take anything I say the wrong way, I can be a motor mouth. lol I applaud you for trying to think of a way to save some doe. I just think there are better ways to live life then sucking mud through a straw. If you do accomplish removing 2 acres of muck through a trash pump that should be on discovery channel right after how the great pyramids were built.

Re: Draining, Mechanical removal Muck, poor access
mikepjr #512259 10/02/19 07:16 AM
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Originally Posted By: mikepjr
I'm trying to rap my head around demucking a pond with a trash pump, or get a visual...


Me too!

I know there are companies that suck muck, but they are using massive pumps in massive BOW's. The photos I have seen actually have tiller like appendages that churn the muck up before sucking it out. I believe part of their success relies on relatively endless amounts of water as they are not just sucking mud. Drawing a small BOW down first would defeat some of that advantage. I've not seen/read where the most innovative pond meister has had any success throwing a standard trash pump at the problem. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see otherwise, but I just can't imagine NOT giving up after and hour of struggling with a heavy hose in a muddy hole with no stable footing (Not to mention the stink).


Fish on!,
Noel
Re: Draining, Mechanical removal Muck, poor access
JinComerGA #512260 10/02/19 07:35 AM
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I hear you on using water to blast the muck; makes sense. I looked online for what the maximum dissolved solids is for water with no luck. I'm curious what 1 acre pond (half drained) can hold if you start mixing the "soup" and how long it stays "in solution". During this project I am also sealing off a top drain (galvanized 60 years old-asking for problems) and putting in a syphon drain. If I oversize the syphon a bit the turn over would be fairly high. Just a thought! LOL @ me and my straw-you're right about that! Sounds more like a hard job for a 1/4 acre pond.

Re: Draining, Mechanical removal Muck, poor access
JinComerGA #513324 10/26/19 04:17 AM
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Hi Jim
I recently drained my pond and right before digging we had a huge rain dump 2inches partially filling it back up. I rented a 4 inch trash pump but our equipment was already there. The 4inch pump made quick work of the remaining water. Iíll tell you my bulldozer operator was very skillful. He pushed new dirt onto the muck, created big piles and slowly chipped away at it. It added a day or two to the dozer but we were able to renovate a wet pond solely with the dozer. Itís possible.

Re: Draining, Mechanical removal Muck, poor access
JinComerGA #513342 10/26/19 08:51 AM
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Being in the excavating business I have cleaned out a few ponds over the years, the the easiest way, if you have room behind it to accommodate it is to cut the dam and push the really slimy muck out through the cut, then repair the dam, which is not a problem in the least if done properly but definitely has to be done correctly, in several cases we were not able to do that because of property line restrictions, in which case we had to let the water out slower, and still cut the dam so it stays empty for a summer or two, that old muck gets just stiff enough where you can bucket it out and carry it up away from the property line. cleaned one out behind an old barn lot that had 5' of muck in it, that took a couple years to get stiff enough to carry in a loader bucket.
I agree, a pump in a 2A pond is like a fart in a hurricane, better have a lot of time on your hands.


All the really good ideas I've ever had came to me while I was milking a cow.
Re: Draining, Mechanical removal Muck, poor access
JinComerGA #513392 10/27/19 04:40 PM
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GREAT catch phrase "like a fart in a hurricane". Gotta love that description!

Last edited by Bill Cody; 10/27/19 08:40 PM. Reason: word edit

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