I had a new 1.5 acre pond dug in Missouri Ozarks about 18 months ago. It feeds from a seasonal creek on our property that only runs a few times a year. Deepest spot near dam is around 15 ft deep. Initially we had problems last year, filled all the way up in spring time and lost about an inch a day through the summer; finally drained it the rest of the way last Fall to hopefully diagnose the problem.
Had our builder look at it again and decided it was an issue with clay liner and compaction. So we dug more clay out of hillside, tilled in 22 tons of bentonite and compacted with a large sheep's foot roller. I had high hopes that this would solve the leak problem.
Posting several pictures of the pond empty after being re-worked and when full taken just this week.
Seems we now have a new issue that is near the mouth of the dry creek after heavy rains this week, water is pushing through the newly packed liner and boiling to surface. Also posting pictures of these problem areas that you can visibly see water coming from. Concerned that when things dry out this summer the water will seep back down the way it has come up. I guess the good news is that since it is at the mouth of the creek we still have quite a lot of depth below the problem area but this may keep pond from staying at full pool.
Has anyone dealt with a similar issue? Does it sound like we still have a compaction issue.
If I understand your situation...at the point where the wet weather creek enters the pond (or near), it has created a spring-like hole that is producing water? I this is the case, I believe what you are seeing is the portion of the creek flow that you don't normally see. My wet weather creek will have flowing portions while others are stagnant. This is the underground flow that skips some high pools. I would bet that your creek is flowing underground and has enough pressure to pop a hole up through the clay and is continuing to feed the pond. Optimistically, this spring-like hole will dry up as the underground flow drains off and not cause any back draining. Given enough watershed for the pond to maintain full pool, the spring-like hole will merely back up with water and saturate the underground gravel bed or shelf that it is coming from. One question to help satisfy this optimism is...did that area flow water like a real spring would when the rest of the creek was dry? If not, I suspect it's just underground flow that is coming down downward and not coming UP from a deeper spring that could reverse and suck water back down. My place does this all over. I think there is an impervious underground shelf of rock and/or clay that allows water to seep out of hillsides that comes from up the hill, NOT from deeper ground.
Thanks for your reply. Your description is correct - the problem area (at least that we can currently see) is within 20 feet of the mouth of the creek. I suspect you are right that the creek is continuing to run underground and has pressure behind it to find places to penetrate the surface. Much like you describe the dry creek before we dug pond would often have areas of standing or flowing water that were lower than other high spots. I do not recall this area, or any area for that matter, that consistently pushed water up similar to a spring.
I like your optimism. What you describes makes sense - I am hopeful that the water just backs up underground into the mouth of the creek just like it will on the surface when pond is at full pool. Not much we can do at the moment but wait and see when things dry out.
A little more optimism...Directly after renovating my pond and before any rain had the chance to make it muddy, it seeped water into it. Right smack in the middle near the deepest part (the worst possible place). I worried as you are that if water is coming in, it could go back out. My pond holds water like a bucket (4 years now).
Here in central MO I am having a similar problem, we built about half a dozen small ponds in the area for customers, all seem to be doing great except one, it was built about a mile from a known sinkhole area, there is a pond right beside it thats 20 yrs old or better that is fine, but this one will drain apparently right out the bottom slowly, the soil was great for pond building and good tight clay, its not going thru the dam but seems to have found a seam in the bottom that is letting the water seep out slowly.
All the really good ideas I've ever had came to me while I was milking a cow.
mofish I am no expert, but have an idea. If you only have one spot where water is coming out forcing its way through the clay layer. Maybe make a larger hole where water wants to force the clay up, then make a trench up hile to the ponds full level. Put a 4 or 6 inch pipe in the trench and fill hole with gravel, put 2 feet of clay over pipe and hole, but leave the upper pipe end exposed. This may keep enough pressure from the spring pushing up threw your clay liner in the dry times. May not work if you have to force the water uphill to far. May not cost much to try if you have some equipment. Everyone knows springs give water and take it. Water will find the easiest way to go, hopefully threw this pipe would be easier than through your clay liner. Good luck and maybe my idea is full of holes