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Overflow pipe leak, could lose the pond
#528288 12/01/20 05:16 AM
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New to the forum. I'm here because my 1 acre pond has an overflow pipe leak that could take the whole earthen dam. Pond is 1 foot above level of the overflow and I went to inspect overflow pipe expecting to see it flowing at full force. There is water coming from the pipe (probably 20 vertical ft below dam) but not what I expected. I see 20 feet from the output of the pipe there is water streaming out of a hole. It's an 12-18 inch pipe (not sure), not sure of material, white, doesn't feel metallic. There's a break in the pipe towards the dam.

Without repair this could take the whole pond out as it's eroding dam from the back side. Investigating at this point. Very hard to get a backhoe in this place. Bought the farm 3 years back. Previous owner built dam probably in 1995. No easy fix likely. Looking for ideas. Thinking of some way to snake a camera with a light up the pipe could help me understand how far up the problem is. Just because I see the water bubbling up 20 feet back doesn't mean that's where the problem is. More likely further back where all the weight of the dam is.


Tom Coleman
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Re: Overflow pipe leak, could lose the pond
Tom_Coleman #528298 12/01/20 08:49 AM
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I assume you have a low enough elevation beyond the dam to run a siphon? If so, get one started ASAP to get the water off of the overflow pipe. Use the biggest piping you have available.

Link to video how to siphon with cheap 4" corrugated plastic pipe.

https://youtu.be/x4JmX4gHUiQ

Unfortunately, it will take 9 of the 4" pipes to equal the flow that is currently going through your 12". However, every little bit helps.

You must have a lot of water still moving through your watershed. Anyway to divert some of the flow upstream to go around your pond?

Hopefully, the experts can give you some advice to fix the problem after you determine the exact cause.

Re: Overflow pipe leak, could lose the pond
Tom_Coleman #528344 12/01/20 10:23 PM
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Another vote for a siphon system to get you through the tough times.


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Re: Overflow pipe leak, could lose the pond
Tom_Coleman #528408 12/03/20 08:20 AM
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Thank you for the videos on putting a siphon in place. I was away for a few days and upon return the pond is back to normal level and the flow on the back side through the pipe looks normal. There is a slight flow separate from the pipe (bad) but it's not aggressive. I'm going to put a siphon in place today or tomorrow. I need to get below the overflow and take a look at the issue.

Does anyone have advice on a camera/light on a pole or something similar as the diagnostics on my overflow pipe could dramatically change my actions. If the breach is 20 ft in it's in a very good place to fix it. If it is 40ft in or 50 ft in (below the dam) it's a very different proposition. I imagine its much further in as that's where the pressures would be greater. The water at the surface was only 20 feet back but this is the key part I'm trying to understand. The exit of the overlflow is approx 80-100 feet from the opening in the pond. I was thinking a camera to connect to a phone on a wire or similar..

Tom


Tom Coleman
704-756-5659
Re: Overflow pipe leak, could lose the pond
Tom_Coleman #528409 12/03/20 08:36 AM
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I am glad you are currently out of "emergency" status.

I do not know of a good DIY video inspection solution. (You need a very good light source also.)

Around here, it is the sewer repair guys that typically have that kind of system. Their cameras are very good to view the line from the house to the city sewer main. I think our guy had a spool that reached out to 150'.

Good luck!

Re: Overflow pipe leak, could lose the pond
Tom_Coleman #528443 12/03/20 03:55 PM
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Plus one on the sewer camera idea, it will be worth every penny to have a plumber send a sewer camera up your overflow and be able to tell you exactly where your failure is and how bad it is, them things are made for exactly that kind of issue in pretty much that size pipe.


All the really good ideas I've ever had came to me while I was milking a cow.
Re: Overflow pipe leak, could lose the pond
Tom_Coleman #528497 12/04/20 11:44 AM
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Just got the best possible news here on the pond. My neighbor came up to take a look at what was going on, after poking around some he asked if I had a shovel so we could uncover a bit more of the pipe to see what was there. The final 15 foot of pipe was fully exposed (12 inch PVC) but there was about 2 foot of dirt on the next 20 feet. after moving more of the uphill dirt we found the end of the exposed pipe and it wasn't connected at all to the next section. There was a 3 foot section between this lower pipe and the next section. Guessing they came disconnected a few years back and the space has increased. So where I was seeing the water breaching the surface and all the sink hole effect I saw looks to be tied to this separated section. For now I've left the two disconnected. Once we exposed the upstream section of pipe a whole bunch of water came spewing out...interesting to see how water spreads out when stopped up.

Getting 2 inches of rain tonight, should help to clear all the crap out of the pipe and I think I can leave the bottom 20 foot of pipe off...or I could reattach, more of an effect on the stream, not so much the dam. Thank you to all for the comments and thoughts along the way. This IS why I joined this group. Feels like a bunch of been there done that type of people who will help me understand how to care fo this pond I like a lot and don't yet know how to care for it.

I have a 50 foot semi-rigid cable camera delivered on Tuesday and I am going to snake it up the pipe to get a feel for what the rest of my pipe looks like. I'll update you all next week. I was going to post pictures of this but the site didn't accept JPEGs (surprising). Anyway, thank you all for the feedback.


Tom Coleman
704-756-5659
Re: Overflow pipe leak, could lose the pond
Tom_Coleman #528499 12/04/20 12:03 PM
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Tom, that is good news.

That was also an effective use of the ol' "shovel-cam"!

(Without seeing any pics), I think I would still recommend re-attaching that 20' section of pipe.

Your 12" overflow will move significantly more water in siphon mode. Siphons are much happier to whatever degree you can get the outlet end of the pipe to a lower elevation.

After you are out of the emergency window, you might consider installing an "anti-seep collar" when you dig out around the pipe to make your repair. If you get another problem in the future, the collar makes it more difficult for the water to create an easy path to cut out the back side of your dam.

Re: Overflow pipe leak, could lose the pond
FishinRod #528505 12/04/20 12:37 PM
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Lunker,

Yes gotta love the old shovel cam.

I was thinking the same thing about the section of pipe but am going to leave it disconnected for now, let this storm come through and see how it flows. I do think it's smart to keep the exit as far away from the dam as possible. The whole area at the end of the pipe us just muck, lose your boot kind of muck. Now that the block is gone I do expect this whole area will dry up. I'll look into an anti seep collar (just googled it, keeping the water in the pipe and off my backfill). Thank you for your thoughts.


Tom Coleman
704-756-5659
Re: Overflow pipe leak, could lose the pond
Tom_Coleman #528527 12/05/20 12:28 PM
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Lunker,

You were so right on putting the pipe back. I was buried again this morning. The overflow has probably 5 inches to move so we are pretty much at max flow and the end was buried again. I just realized part of the problem was that the pipe above this last section comes downhill at probably 15-25 degrees and the last pipe is mostly flat. No sort of bent section connecting them together, no anti-seep collar either. I have them close together, not joined or coupled yet.

Last new observation, I've probably a 6 inch overflow pipe, not 12. Looked larger than I thought but probably 6 inches. Another flow observation the two 90 degree turns on the surface of the water (inverted p-trap) allows water in and keeps from getting clogged but may restrict flow more than I need. Will monitor this to see if it was designed well to handle the flow.


Tom Coleman
704-756-5659
Re: Overflow pipe leak, could lose the pond
Tom_Coleman #528528 12/05/20 12:56 PM
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Glad you have things headed in the right direction!

Shoot some photos next time you are there. It will help you get better advice.

Here is the link for instructions to post photos:

https://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=92443#Post92443

Re: Overflow pipe leak, could lose the pond
Tom_Coleman #528552 12/06/20 01:11 PM
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Here is a picture of the overflow pipe as I started this project a week ago:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/F1XgXFV6NtP7ZMtT9

Here is the following day after I removed the lower pipe and let the water run.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/SdX2ndVfTapU2tV59

This is what it looked like the following day

https://photos.app.goo.gl/obXS6cGYjPgGtcQ27

After reinserting the lower pipe:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/WSp8W1iREXJ62j7b7

In this photo you can really see the effects of the ground surrounding where the pipe had become separated.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/D1H1WxopMhHMx83c8

Here's a panorma from top side looking down (on the right) to where the overflow pipe is.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/NHYWjtPgb17Up1SZ8

Last edited by Tom_Coleman; 12/06/20 02:06 PM. Reason: Added panorama

Tom Coleman
704-756-5659
Re: Overflow pipe leak, could lose the pond
Tom_Coleman #528553 12/06/20 01:15 PM
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Last photo, here's the kucklehead contractor working here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/YfbMKcAqSgJEF84Y9


Tom Coleman
704-756-5659
Re: Overflow pipe leak, could lose the pond
Tom_Coleman #528554 12/06/20 01:17 PM
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I imagine I can post video too. Here is the full flow through the mostly connected pipe as the overflow had 5 inches to move. The two pipes are not connected yet as I need to get my anti-seep collar and I want to let the whole area dry up a bit.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/W7kfuzxdfHzR6qW8A


Tom Coleman
704-756-5659
Re: Overflow pipe leak, could lose the pond
Tom_Coleman #528555 12/06/20 01:17 PM
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Here is the topside inverted p-trap

https://photos.app.goo.gl/tEfD41JRvFcmxbX66


Tom Coleman
704-756-5659
Re: Overflow pipe leak, could lose the pond
Tom_Coleman #528556 12/06/20 01:22 PM
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Here's a video from the very beginning of the project. First day I noticed the water bubbling to the surface with one foot of water to drop down.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/MkQFMkMqJg7LS5pU9

Close up of the water on the surface before any of the work was done.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/Kzx6zaN3s5dne4PF6


Tom Coleman
704-756-5659
Re: Overflow pipe leak, could lose the pond
Tom_Coleman #528563 12/06/20 03:49 PM
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Photos definitely helped.

I liked the last one with your dog. I knew that some breeds were classed as "water dogs", but I had no idea they had dogs now that could diagnose spillway pipe problems! laugh

After it quits running, I would definitely re-attach that last section of pipe. It looks like you also need a way to stop erosion at your pipe discharge.

One way is to build a little splash pool - if it would hold water most of the year. The other way is a splash block or splash pile. (I can't remember the correct term.) You could make a little depression and roughly line it with some of the flat rocks in the pictures. You want the running water to splash off of the rocks instead of eroding your soil.

Looks like your dam is much safer now that you are addressing the problem!

P.S. Beautiful pond and location!

Re: Overflow pipe leak, could lose the pond
Tom_Coleman #528606 12/07/20 12:56 PM
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Thank you for the comment (your PS).


Tom Coleman
704-756-5659
Re: Overflow pipe leak, could lose the pond
Tom_Coleman #528626 12/08/20 04:43 AM
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Is the p-trap vented? If not, won't it form a air lock until the pond goes much higher and then siphon down once it "flushes".

Last edited by RAH; 12/08/20 04:44 AM. Reason: fix
Re: Overflow pipe leak, could lose the pond
Tom_Coleman #528642 12/08/20 08:01 AM
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RAH,

It does have a notch at the top, not a large cut, but air can get in. Until I saw that notch I didn't understand how it could work. I thought it wouldn't allow anything in. With it notched I can see how the water level is forced into the open end and then pours over the exit pipe...but it's not as fast as an open ended pipe.

My day to day flow is fairly low because it's only a small stream. I measured the pond today and its just at one acre (~100 yards x 50 yards). Now that I have the overflow unstuck I can see what this design can handle and see how often it gets over the top of the overflow and if I ever get close to needing the spillway. Good question, this group is getting me just what I need, helping me think through this.


Tom Coleman
704-756-5659
Re: Overflow pipe leak, could lose the pond
Tom_Coleman #528649 12/08/20 10:19 AM
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As an FYI, exit pipes that slope down more steeply carry more water when full of water. Having the p-trap at the top can also help if you do not have an anti-vortex shield in place to keep air from being sucked into the pipe during high water.

Re: Overflow pipe leak, could lose the pond
Tom_Coleman #528685 12/09/20 02:36 PM
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RAH, I think I need to look into this. If water goes over my pipe (as it has) air can no longer come into the pipe, does that stop water from being able to flow naturally? Anti-vortex shield...another thing for me to look into.

Thank you,

Tom


Tom Coleman
704-756-5659
Re: Overflow pipe leak, could lose the pond
Tom_Coleman #528686 12/09/20 04:19 PM
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Since the disconnected joint was so far back from the dam and the water itself, i'm not sure an anti-seep collar would do much good back here?

Re: Overflow pipe leak, could lose the pond
Tom_Coleman #528694 12/09/20 06:37 PM
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Don't think that ;ack of air getting into the pipe is an issue for maintaining flow, just need air to escape.

Last edited by RAH; 12/11/20 05:06 AM. Reason: clarifying

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