Pond Boss Magazine
https://www.pondboss.com/images/userfiles/image/20130301193901_6_150by50orangewhyshouldsubscribejpeg.jpg
Advertisment
Newest Members
NEOHIO, TxMudbug, VinniR333, VENUS GIRL, Humminbird Cente
17,520 Registered Users
Forum Statistics
Forums36
Topics39,280
Posts533,558
Members17,520
Most Online3,583
Jan 15th, 2020
Top Posters
esshup 25,939
ewest 20,783
Cecil Baird1 20,043
Bill Cody 13,882
Who's Online Now
6 members (HTNFSH2, Bill Cody, wbuffetjr, Shorty, tim k, Quarter Acre), 162 guests, and 125 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
#540255 10/03/21 07:01 AM
Joined: May 2020
Posts: 6
K
OP Offline
K
Joined: May 2020
Posts: 6
Hello everyone

I am in the process of trying to fix a leaky farm pond located in Nebraska.

First some history:
The dam and pond held water great for years pre-1998 or so but had filled in with silt so my grandpa hired a contractor to dig out the slug, raise the dam a couple feet, put all the silt on the back side of the dam. He also had a number of smaller dams created above to catch most of the sediment before it made it to the large dam.

The dam itself is about .75-1 acre and probably 20 feet deep when full to the overflow.

Ever since the pond was dug out it has not held water. Recently (2019-2020), the pond did fill all the way up to the overflow and then quickly began to drain again. I tried throwing bentonite out into the water and also used a trash pump and siphon device to spray a bentonite slurry out into the water with no success.

It has gotten to the point now where in was only 1.5 feet deep in the deepest part. I decided to just bite the bullet and drain the rest of the water out so it can start to dry and this would also allow me to inspect the rest of the bottom for any abnormal marks or depressions that may show me where the weak spots are. The edges don’t seem to have a ton of muck but the deepest part seems to have about 1.5 feet of soft sludge/muck.

I dug some test holes and found that 6-8 inches down you hit a very hard layer that is fairly hard to dig into. I took some of that soil and did the bucket test and the results were very good. It has maybe dropped 1/8” in like 4-5 days. I assume this can be attributed to evaporation. The soils packs extremely well in the bucket and smells like clay. The soil map shows that it is all silty clay loam with 21-27% clay. I don’t have a lot of details about the original construction of the pond/dam as it was constructed before I was born and my grandpa has since passed. My dad did say that prior to digging it out it held water very well.

My question for the group is what should I do next? I have been in talks with TJ and also beginning some talks with some local contractors to get some quotes to clean it out and try and re-compact to seal it but don’t know if I will be able to able to afford all that. I haven’t gotten any quotes yet but if they do come back high what would be the next steps for me to try an fix this issue.

Thanks

Joined: Oct 2016
Posts: 951
Likes: 40
B
Offline
B
Joined: Oct 2016
Posts: 951
Likes: 40
I would say if your already talking with TJ, you will have a hard time getting better advise on a leaking pond! What is TJ's take on it? Do you have a tractor or other equipment to do some of the work yourself?


Bob


I Subscribe To Pond Boss
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 817
Likes: 93
F
Lunker
Offline
Lunker
F
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 817
Likes: 93
Kris,

If the pond held water well before it was dug out and the dam raised, then those actions are most likely the cause of your leak(s).

I suspect they either dug through the original clay seal or damaged the area around the overflow pipe. (Is there a bottom drain?)

When the pond re-filled and then drained did you notice a wet area around the overflow pipe exit or at some low spots on the downstream side of the dam? If not, then I will discuss piercing the original clay seal - but that doesn't mean that is the cause of your leaks.

A silty clay loam with 21-27% clay should be a suitable material to form a good seal. However, even good material must be scarified and then compacted.

Basically, your original soil profile was composed of many separate layers. Some may have been 50% clay and some may have been 97% sand with only 3% clay. That thin sandy layer is capable of leaking a lot of water. (Your average is 21-27% clay!)

When they originally built the pond, they probably disked or tilled the bottom of the pond to a depth of 12-18". This breaks up and disrupts all of the layers, which were then compacted to form the seal.

When they dug out the pond again at the later date, they may have excavated through this seal in a few spots. However, that is all it takes to cause a leak if you have any layers with high permeability.

Do you have heavy equipment on your farm? If so, then one possibility is for you to continue drying out the pond. You can then disk the bottom and sides (where safe) with your own equipment. You might be able to compact with whichever vehicle has your highest ground pressure at the tires. However, it would be much better if you could pull a sheepsfoot to compact, or rent a vibratory soil compactor (like a self-propelled padfoot roller at $500-$800/day). You will need a way to spray water on the soil during your compaction work.

Keep working with TJ and follow his suggestions. However, if you could solve 90% of the leak problem with disking and re-compacting, then a proper sealant application would be much more likely to get you close to 100%.

Good luck on your project!

Joined: May 2020
Posts: 6
K
OP Offline
K
Joined: May 2020
Posts: 6
Originally Posted by Bobbss
I would say if your already talking with TJ, you will have a hard time getting better advise on a leaking pond! What is TJ's take on it? Do you have a tractor or other equipment to do some of the work yourself?

I have a call set up with TJ tomorrow to discuss more. My dad is a farmer so yes we have access to jd 2520, jd 5100e, and a very big 8000 series tractor.

Joined: May 2020
Posts: 6
K
OP Offline
K
Joined: May 2020
Posts: 6
Originally Posted by FishinRod
Kris,

If the pond held water well before it was dug out and the dam raised, then those actions are most likely the cause of your leak(s).

I suspect they either dug through the original clay seal or damaged the area around the overflow pipe. (Is there a bottom drain?)

When the pond re-filled and then drained did you notice a wet area around the overflow pipe exit or at some low spots on the downstream side of the dam? If not, then I will discuss piercing the original clay seal - but that doesn't mean that is the cause of your leaks.

A silty clay loam with 21-27% clay should be a suitable material to form a good seal. However, even good material must be scarified and then compacted.

Basically, your original soil profile was composed of many separate layers. Some may have been 50% clay and some may have been 97% sand with only 3% clay. That thin sandy layer is capable of leaking a lot of water. (Your average is 21-27% clay!)

When they originally built the pond, they probably disked or tilled the bottom of the pond to a depth of 12-18". This breaks up and disrupts all of the layers, which were then compacted to form the seal.

When they dug out the pond again at the later date, they may have excavated through this seal in a few spots. However, that is all it takes to cause a leak if you have any layers with high permeability.

Do you have heavy equipment on your farm? If so, then one possibility is for you to continue drying out the pond. You can then disk the bottom and sides (where safe) with your own equipment. You might be able to compact with whichever vehicle has your highest ground pressure at the tires. However, it would be much better if you could pull a sheepsfoot to compact, or rent a vibratory soil compactor (like a self-propelled padfoot roller at $500-$800/day). You will need a way to spray water on the soil during your compaction work.

Keep working with TJ and follow his suggestions. However, if you could solve 90% of the leak problem with disking and re-compacting, then a proper sealant application would be much more likely to get you close to 100%.

Good luck on your project!


Thanks for the suggestions. We suspected for years that they dug too far and broke the original seal. I don’t think they ever got it dried out enough to get machine back in to compact the deepest part which is where we suspect the leak is.

The original overflow was never touched so we don’t think it is causing any problems. There is a damp spot on the back side near the overflow outlet but it is also directly across from the deepest part that we think they dug out too far.

My dad actually just talked to a guy he knows that has a sheepsfoot roller and is going to let us rent or borrow it for a for a while.

Any suggestions on how to get the muck to dry out quicker? The faster we can get it dried out the faster we can get equipment in there and disc it and then compact it like you said.

Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 817
Likes: 93
F
Lunker
Offline
Lunker
F
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 817
Likes: 93
The advice I gave is only relevant IF that is the CORRECT diagnosis of the problem! (My background is geology.)

The best way to dry out the pond is very specific to your exact conditions. Use the search function and read some of the threads about cleaning out muck. If nothing is an exact match, then you will at least learn what are the most important factors. You can then start a new thread with an in depth description of your conditions.

That way you might be able to get some good advice for your pond from some of the experts!

Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 15,026
Likes: 48
D
Moderator
Lunker
Online Content
Moderator
Lunker
D
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 15,026
Likes: 48
Agree with both of Rods posts.


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
Joined: May 2020
Posts: 6
K
OP Offline
K
Joined: May 2020
Posts: 6
Update - Started clearing out muck out of the bottom of the pond with a FEL and it was fairly obvious when you would hit the clay bottom because the color turned from dark black to a lighter grey and was hard enough for the tractor to drive on without sinking in. Randomly as I was backing out out after getting a full bucket of muck, the front left tire of the tractor fell abruptly up to the axel into the soil like I drove into a hole. In order to get out I had to dump the muck and push myself up and out with the FEL then back out. After getting out you could see that the soil changed significantly in this spot. I filled this hole in with some grey clay material and drove over it a few times so I could continue working. I had this happen a couple other times in other locations in the same area of the pond.

I am curious if anyone knows what this lighter color material is under the clay. It was very soft/mushy and easy to dig through with a shovel. It also did not form like the clay did when you tried to compact it. Could these areas potentially be my weak points in the clay bottom that are leaking my water out when the pond is full.

I may post this in the soil forum as well.

Thanks
Kris

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]
[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

Last edited by KrisAhrens; 11/23/21 10:17 AM.

Link Copied to Clipboard
Today's Birthdays
BULLGILL
Recent Posts
Fish & Construction Help - For a Stream "Pond"
by Dave Davidson1 - 11/28/21 05:52 AM
Remove large trees from dam?
by esshup - 11/28/21 01:38 AM
Large Pond Excavation
by esshup - 11/28/21 01:34 AM
aerators and cormorants
by Quarter Acre - 11/27/21 06:16 PM
New pond owner, where to start?
by Dave Davidson1 - 11/27/21 07:07 AM
Flood zone.
by FishinRod - 11/26/21 07:23 PM
Old new pond... new user
by HTNFSH2 - 11/26/21 06:42 PM
How to keep Deer away.
by RAH - 11/26/21 05:32 PM
to aerate or leave well enough alone!
by esshup - 11/26/21 02:57 PM
Happy Thanksgiving!!
by azteca - 11/26/21 02:11 PM
Vegetarian Yellow-perch.
by esshup - 11/26/21 11:01 AM
Newly Uploaded Images
New Old Pond v3
New Old Pond v3
by HTNFSH2, November 19
Tilapia indoors and out
Tilapia indoors and out
by highflyer, September 29
Naiad vs chara?
Naiad vs chara?
by marlin304, September 26
spreading bentonite
spreading bentonite
by Guppy1, September 20
Hurricanes and wildlife 1
Hurricanes and wildlife 1
by Stressless, September 1
pondr 5a
pondr 5a
by Stressless, August 18

� 2014 POND BOSS INC. all rights reserved USA and Worldwide

Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5