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How would you tackle this hole?
#511505 09/12/19 03:09 PM
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Ryan P. Offline OP
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(Go to the bottom of this post for the hole if you don't want backstory)

About Dec 2017, I had this pond dug renovated (it never held water before) by a local excavator that digs ponds, I assumed he'd do it "right" and I couldn't find any other options so I went with him ( side note, I'm amazed I can find no reputable companies around here that do this).
The biggest thing he did wrong, as pointed out by Pond Boss alumni, TJ (who is freaking awesome by the way, so much knowledge...) is he used the treads on the dozer to pack and did not use a sheepsfoot roller to pack the clay. He in fact did all of the work with the dozer.

December 2017:
image broken

almost full by February 2018 you can see the black drain pipe on the left, I was super excited by this point.
image broken

down ~8 feet by July 2018, much less excited.
image broken

The pond never dried up but kept fluctuating with the rain, this is September 2019, I pumped it nearly dry, see what I discovered below the photo.
[Linked Image from img.fae.ro]

(end of backstory)

The culprit has revealed itself. I found this hole, and then one smaller about 10ft from this.
This hole is not on the dam side, it's actually on the opposite side of the pond from the dam.


I've had several contractors out to look at this, now keep in mind, these guys are like Jim-Bob from back in the hollar who just happen to do dozer work for a living, so they aren't what I would consider experts. One suggestion was rebuilding the entire dam and digging the dam down deeper, another was to go find clay somewhere nearby on my property and repacking the pond in about 2ft of clay, and yet another was to put a liner in the pond and covering the liner in clay. Someone else said dig down find the rock seam and blast it, this one sounds the most fun :p .
These all sound super expensive.

How would you suggest attempting a fix, have any of you seen a hole like this develop? what did you do?
Here are some of my cheaper ideas.
-I could fill it full of sodium bentonite + pray.
-I could pour soilfloc down in it and let the next rain carry it on into the hole (hopefully plugging things)
-Dig down with a track hoe, exposing the issue, repack it with clay -or- determine another option once I see where the water is going.

Last edited by Ryan P.; 06/22/20 10:20 AM.

"No Fish were to be catchd to day neither."
George Washington, Diary entry, 14 April 1760
Re: How would you tackle this hole?
Ryan P. #511507 09/12/19 03:45 PM
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Holy drain hole! that's impressive. Might even be a sinkhole? looks like it may go right down into a cave. I think I would try to pump all the water out to see if there are any other drains.

Then it sure wouldn't hurt to try packing it/them with a $300 worth of bentonite 1,000 lbs? Need to get the first couple bagfuls way down in there before any clogs temporarily plug it. Then probably better to dig out a 10 foot circle(?) with a trackhoe, lay in a impervious fabric layer to prevent soil going down if a suck-hole develops and cover it with more bentonite on it, then pack with clay. Then you haven't spent much $$ before the big cost of packing the entire pond bottom with clay.


Re: How would you tackle this hole?
Ryan P. #511508 09/12/19 04:24 PM
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Probably the wrong thing to do, but I would be inclined to dig down and see what I was dealing with. I would be concerned water would just find a way around any type of plug you created and drain again.

Re: How would you tackle this hole?
Ryan P. #511509 09/12/19 06:51 PM
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Thanks for the suggestions guys! It's much appreciated!


"No Fish were to be catchd to day neither."
George Washington, Diary entry, 14 April 1760
Re: How would you tackle this hole?
Ryan P. #511515 09/12/19 09:13 PM
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Agree with Roundy. Figure out the whole/hole problem.


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.

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Re: How would you tackle this hole?
Ryan P. #511525 09/13/19 05:06 AM
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I have seen something similar to this around here once. Perfect black fertile farm ground developing sink holes. There it was underground coal mining for the power plant. Don't happen to be in a mining area do you, those rascals can go quite a ways underground horizontally from mine access point. If that is case, digging deeper could get interesting to say the least.

Re: How would you tackle this hole?
Ryan P. #511529 09/13/19 07:39 AM
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If you dig a hole with a track hoe deeper than 4 foot. Do not crawl in it to inspect it. Sides can cave in and there is no way to get you dug out fast enough to save you.

Last edited by nehunter; 09/13/19 07:40 AM.

61 acre water shed lake. bass, channel cat, black crappie, wiper, walleye, redear sunfish and bluegill. To many bullhead and common carp
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Re: How would you tackle this hole?
Ryan P. #511543 09/13/19 09:14 AM
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This is all excellent advice, really appreciated. smile

So far it sounds like the best route it to dig down and try to figure out what I'm dealing with.

This morning I took a fence post, placed it into the hole, and drove it ~2ft before I hit solid rock, so right now I'm thinking it might be a rock seam.

Also I think 'Coal country' is further east of me, and I have no other sinkholes on the property.


"No Fish were to be catchd to day neither."
George Washington, Diary entry, 14 April 1760
Re: How would you tackle this hole?
Ryan P. #511562 09/13/19 01:41 PM
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My wife's uncle told me about a leaking pond that developed a hole so big he lost a calf in it. Took a couple years to plug it but he stuffed in bales of hay and they'd wash down into the hole. Finally dumped in concrete and its been holding strong ever since.

Re: How would you tackle this hole?
Ryan P. #511624 09/16/19 05:17 AM
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The hay is a good way to go when looking for a bridging agent to seal off seepage in a big hole . I would break up the bales though. Add all the bales you can get in the hole and then add a lot of bentonite on top of it all. One way to look at it is to consider the hay as a fiber material. If you ever played pixie sticks and dropped them in a pile on a table, that is what a bridging agent might look like. And then do a very thick cover of bentonite to seal off the small holes in the pixie sticks. If the hole is large enough you might try doing all this in layers.


Do not judge me by the politicians in my City, State or Federal Government.


Tracy
Re: How would you tackle this hole?
Ryan P. #511630 09/16/19 10:01 AM
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Great archer and TGW! Once I can get a track hoe and see what I'm dealing with that's definitely something I'll consider.

If anyone else has any other suggestions or things I may need to consider let me know smile

Last edited by Ryan P.; 09/16/19 12:03 PM.

"No Fish were to be catchd to day neither."
George Washington, Diary entry, 14 April 1760
Re: How would you tackle this hole?
TGW1 #511635 09/16/19 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted By: TGW1
The hay is a good way to go when looking for a bridging agent to seal off seepage in a big hole . I would break up the bales though. Add all the bales you can get in the hole and then add a lot of bentonite on top of it all. One way to look at it is to consider the hay as a fiber material. If you ever played pixie sticks and dropped them in a pile on a table, that is what a bridging agent might look like. And then do a very thick cover of bentonite to seal off the small holes in the pixie sticks. If the hole is large enough you might try doing all this in layers.


Wouldn't the hay rot away after a couple of years and allow the hole to open up again? I think geotextile with gravelly "parking lot" clay over it, then bentonite over that might be a better option. Just an opinion.

Re: How would you tackle this hole?
Ryan P. #511640 09/16/19 04:23 PM
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I think I would mix two or three sacks thin mortar and pour into the hole, then cover with however many bags of bentonite it takes and see what happens. If it continues to leak you know know where the hole is and can drain it back down.


1.8 acre pond with CNBG, RES, HSB, and LMB
Trophy Hunter feeder.
Re: How would you tackle this hole?
Ryan P. #522795 06/22/20 10:18 AM
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(Sorry for resurrecting this. Thought some people would like to know the progress)
FYI I ended up digging out the 2 holes by hand. I dumped a bag of concrete in the bottom of the holes and filled them with sodium bentonite the rest of the way (I used about 10- 80lb bags.
It filled up right after that. It's definitely holding *better* now but it still has a slow leak. It still hasn't filled up all the way.
It has dropped about 4ft since it's highest in January. We haven't had a lot of rain
I spread 180lbs of soilfloc around the area of the suspected leak 2 days ago. Now we wait again smile
Current photo
[Linked Image from img.fae.ro]

Last edited by Ryan P.; 06/22/20 10:19 AM.

"No Fish were to be catchd to day neither."
George Washington, Diary entry, 14 April 1760
Re: How would you tackle this hole?
Ryan P. #522808 06/22/20 08:38 PM
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Please keep us posted. I havnt to this day had a hole. But always read these types of post because in the pond game who knows.


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: How would you tackle this hole?
Ryan P. #522820 06/23/20 07:46 AM
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Oh cool thanks for following up, I remember reading this post. I would have done the same thing with hand digging. I would have worried the excavating equipment would do a lot of damage getting into and out of the basin, or just needing to wait too long for conditions to get right.

It is always amazing the geology under our feet. Under my house from what I have researched is something like this:
~150ft of glacial mix. ~50ft of oil shale with natural gas, ~100ft thick mix of shale transition to limestone with natural gas, ~25ft to ~100ft thick layer of rock salt, limestone on down to who knows what.

That layer of rock salt is mined in Geneseo nearby, where it is thicker. There is an underground city with massive equipment down there. There are few collapses around the area where the pillars were not big enough to support the land above. I own my mineral rights, so that should not happen here. If it did, we would have to worry about those collapses.

Water drillers in the area always worry about hitting the salt. It is not a flat layer, and when they hit it, they have to back-fill the well with concrete and try again or the salt will contaminate the ground water.

The slower leak you may have, should hopefully be remedied by the Soilfloc. It has so far worked wonders on my seepage issues.

Last edited by liquidsquid; 06/23/20 07:48 AM.

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