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Packing clay bottom
#529987 01/24/21 10:47 PM
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I just had a half acre pond built. There is good red clay on bottom but they didn't pack it down very good. Main area that it wasn't packed down was at the deepest end where dam is. Should the bottom be packed? Just got 1st rain since it was built and had small area of water about a foot deep but only lasted 1 day now it's gone.

Re: Packing clay bottom
ReidB #529988 01/25/21 12:29 AM
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Welcome to the forum!!

I think you answered your own question. Short answer, yes. Look for any sand/gravel areas, dig those out, fill and pack with clay and try to pack the whole area that will be under water, not just the bottom.


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Re: Packing clay bottom
esshup #529991 01/25/21 08:08 AM
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If I didn't pack it down do you think it would hold water if I fill it up? It's all clay no sand. What should I pack it down with? All I have is a 25 hp tractor and 4 wheeler, which is why i paid someone to build the pond.

Re: Packing clay bottom
ReidB #530003 01/25/21 01:47 PM
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Call Sunbelt Rentals in Warner Robbins 1-800-667-9328 and see if they have any compaction equipment. I see that they have a compaction plate for a backhoe and for an excavator, but that might be a slow process. Typically the ground would be packed by a multi tired wheel scraper that was loaded or a sheepsfoot roller.

The pond is showing you now that it's not holding water by that foot of water leaking out.


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Re: Packing clay bottom
esshup #530013 01/25/21 03:56 PM
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If it doesn't hold water then I'm calling the guy that built it. He can compact it or do whatever it needs. I asked 2 different guys multiple times about packing down the clay and both gave me the same answer which was no. It was ran over by the giant excavator not sure what size it was, so 75% of it is packed, there's just some loose dirt areas at the deep end where the dam is. I was told when we get a hard rain it will make it settle and that red clay will harden. Half an inch of rain is not gonna do it, which is what we got here last week.

Re: Packing clay bottom
ReidB #530014 01/25/21 03:58 PM
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I would treat the sand/gravel with quality, high expansion rate bentonite or polymer first then compact 4-6" lifts of high plasticity clay over those areas. One can even treat the sand areas with additive, clay, additive, clay, etc. Lasagna style. I sealed my gravel veins using polymer and compacted clay in this manner. Here to help anytime - tj@hudlandmgmt.com


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Re: Packing clay bottom
teehjaeh57 #530015 01/25/21 04:04 PM
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Theres no sand or gravel, it's all red clay

Re: Packing clay bottom
ReidB #530017 01/25/21 04:39 PM
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First rain?

It will take some time for the soil in the pond basin to become fully saturated.

When my pond was filling after renovation it would drop a foot in just a few days after a big rain.
Once it filled up those big, fast drops no longer happened.

Re: Packing clay bottom
Augie #530018 01/25/21 05:01 PM
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That's what I was hoping thanks for responding Augie

Re: Packing clay bottom
ReidB #530020 01/25/21 07:44 PM
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A dug pond, with good clay and proper compaction, not a bulldozer, when filled up will stay full very similar to water in a bucket. It requires no time for saturation of the soil. Loose soils and poorly compacted clay will produce or cause a saturation period. When you get the pond full of water it will quickly tell you the nature of the soil and how well the soil was compacted. Sandy and loose soil veins in some areas of a compacted clay basin can cause leakage problems. This is where expert experienced pond construction becomes VERY IMPORTANT.


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Re: Packing clay bottom
Bill Cody #530021 01/25/21 07:49 PM
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Well in my area there's not alot of pond builders, and it's not my specialty nor do I have the equipment to do it. Thanks for your input though.

Re: Packing clay bottom
ReidB #530024 01/25/21 10:31 PM
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I won't say that it won't hold water just because it soaked up the first small rain, but I will say if you want to compact it you want to do it as soon as you can. It won't take much rain to make it a muddy mess in the bottom, which will make it hard to compact.
How thick do you think your clay is? How long was it dry before you got the rain?


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Re: Packing clay bottom
Bobbss #530028 01/26/21 08:39 AM
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Only clay that's not compacted is in the deep end about 25% of the pond. The clay is very thick throughout the pond. It's been dry over a week after it was dug out. We haven't had much rain.


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