I was hoping to get some advice on options to be able to fix the leaking issue in this pond.
It has been well below its intended level for at least 10 years and has been neglected in its maintenance (excessive cattail growth has almost taken over all little remaining water). The water has receded about another foot or two in that time.
Are there any cheaper options to try first (bentonite -- would addressing the cattail problem first help at all)?
I'm really new in all this as we've just inherited this problem in our community.
I know price varies across the country, but does anyone have an idea how much a pond this size would cost to fix -- or days breakdown of equipment needed?
My advice would be to remove the cattails first with an excavator. You will need a plan and a place to put all the excavated material. Then you can see what soil material you have to work with. It's been dry the last few years, and without rain and runoff the pond will struggle to keep water in it if it is not sealed. What was the purpose of the pond? Is it a storm runoff catchment pond or was it supposed to be a feature of the subdivision?
There is a polymer product on the market that will help seal it if it's not a ground water based pond ( To my knowledge the jury is still out on how well it works with a groundwater pond.) Once the type of soil is determined, and the watershed calculated, it can be determined if there is enough watershed to keep the pond full if it was sealed. Hopefully TJ will chime in.
The Porter County NRCS office was a great place to go to for pond information, unfortunately I haven't worked with them since the head pond guy there retired. I don't know how they are now, but they were 1,000 x better than the NRCS office in Starke County. Give them a shout or stop in there, they should have a list of dirt movers that say they can work on ponds. That should get you started in the right direction, at least with some pricing on what they'd charge.
Porter County NRCS Office 2602 E Chicago St, Valparaiso, IN 46383 (219) 462-7515 Saturday Closed Sunday Closed Monday 8AM–4:30PM Tuesday 8AM–4:30PM Wednesday 8AM–4:30PM Thursday 8AM–4:30PM Friday 8AM–4:30PM
If you want to give me a shout, send me a PM and I'll PM you my number. We are relatively close, near SR 23 and Rt 30.