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#548064 05/17/22 11:05 AM
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I was going to add this to my original thread but thought of starting a new one here related to the dam. I've lost 7" of water in 24 days and rain seasoning coming to an end, we are now in our 3rd summer without a full pond.

Last night, I drilled 6 test holes with a spud bar in the backside of my dam a couple feet below the current water line as best as I could tell. It has become clear the dam is not holding and was improperly built. The new "pond side" core trench helped and we feel that the bottom is sealed. We think there is rock (bedrock/sandstone) beneath the dam was not removed and certain the dam was not compacted in proper lifts.

We are now thinking of building a new dam, within/behind the first dam. Water is hard enough to come by so I want to do everything we can to keep what we have without pumping out.

Does anyone have experience in this type of repair?

HTNFSH2 #548067 05/17/22 11:41 AM
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I would talk to user, teehjaeh57, about Soilfloc first. He provides his time free to Pond Boss members. Hopefully he sees this and posts.

jludwig #548069 05/17/22 12:04 PM
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Yeah, I spoke to TJ a bunch, he knows the story. I just confirmed the problem yesterday and think it's bigger than just a couple of leech spots.

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HTNFSH2 #548073 05/17/22 01:27 PM
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I can't remember your dimensions.

How big is the pond? Length and height of the dam?

Pumping out the water and repairing the existing dam might be much cheaper than building a second dam. However, you do lose one year on your pond.

Building the second dam adjacent to the first dam might be a little dangerous with water seeping though the first dam. While you are working on the core trench you would have saturated, unstable soils above you. Trench collapses kill lots of construction workers.

If you are building a second dam, is there enough room to move farther down your waterway and make it a second pond?

If the elevations work out, then the leak in your first pond would only drain the water level down to the water level of the second pond. As long as your second dam is well sealed, then your first pond will also hold water.

Just spitballin' ideas to get your creative juices going since I expect you are chomping at the bit to get your pond fixed!

Good luck!

HTNFSH2 #548082 05/17/22 03:54 PM
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Ryan - .3" daily vertical loss and likely .10-.15" due to evaporative loss this Spring, so you may be looking at .2" daily loss due to dam seepage. I would seriously consider whether it's worth further investment of rehab or polymer chasing such a minor leak. Anything 1/3" or less daily loss we consider in the pond construction business as a successful project provided you're living in an area with decent annual precipitation [25" or greater]. It's your $, and I'll always help however I can, but if it were me I'd count my blessings and adopt a holding pattern.

However, your scenario is unique that you can't pop a well for supplemental irrigation and your watershed is limited, so if you elect to do pursue addressing the poor dam construction/seepage I suggest comparing the cost of core trench work vs. treating the dam face with a polymer application. I'd wager 3-4 units would address your dam seepage successfully at a fraction of the cost/time of rehab. I know you've already spoken to Drew Hay out of PA [one of the best pond builders on the planet], and he could likely provide a rough estimate on dam rehab project.

I'm glad your main basin is holding well following rehab and polymer - we just never anticipated your dam also being an issue. Reach out whenever you need me.


Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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My contractor was down there today and said all of my test holes were full of water. They average 2ft deep. The dirt spanning at least 50% of the width (115 ft) appears to be saturated half way down outside face.

I'm honestly worried about the dam sliding apart at this point. Even thought I don't see any sign of running water.

HTNFSH2 #548098 05/18/22 07:51 AM
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New to forum. How do I ask a question or start a new thread please? Thanks

HTNFSH2 #548101 05/18/22 08:04 AM
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PP24, see Thread Options in blue above. Click on it and New Thread will be there with other options.

BTW, welcome to Pond Boss.


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
HTNFSH2 #548115 05/18/22 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by HTNFSH2
My contractor was down there today and said all of my test holes were full of water. They average 2ft deep. The dirt spanning at least 50% of the width (115 ft) appears to be saturated half way down outside face.

I'm honestly worried about the dam sliding apart at this point. Even thought I don't see any sign of running water.

In the case of the dam sliding apart, then I'd say yes to building a new dam behind the existing one but make double durn sure that it is done correct this time. Then breach the old dam and once the water level stabilizes, remove as much of the old dam as you can, which probably will entail an excavator and a dump truck. .


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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).
HTNFSH2 #551476 08/17/22 10:09 PM
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Well, my #2 crew has come and gone. They spent last week clearing trees and brush from about a 1/2 acre to access more dirt then dug out a new core down the entire 230' center of the existing dam. The top 18-24" was dry dirt then we found gray wet mud (not sloppy) down10 feet before we hit dry dirt again. He lifted and compacted with better material from our new borrow pit and used a sheep's foot and the weight of 100k rock truck to get the tightest compaction possible.

It appears the first contractor built the dam from muddy/ garbage/ pond bottom material and covered his tracks with a foot or two of better material. I've reseeded with 250lbs of grass seed, some food plot forage and finished off with some fertilizer. This is the 3rd iteration of planting grass. The last step is straw, which I am leaving to the crew to come back a blow into place before the end of the week.

There was no significant sign of leaking other than the dam material was a lot wetter than should have been. It was junk material and not compacted at all. We've lost about 4" of water since last Tuesday until today, but hope it's just from the saturation into dry material.

I've also will be applying 2 units of soil floc to the inside face of the dam (below the waterline) before the end of the weekend.

Fingers crossed....

HTNFSH2 #551477 08/17/22 10:30 PM
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Sounds like an excellent build THIS time! I am glad the repairs were made safely.

Too bad you had to get a crap job the first time around.

HTNFSH2 #551573 08/20/22 08:45 PM
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It sounds like you will be fine from now on out. Great news!


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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).
HTNFSH2 #552439 09/27/22 02:03 PM
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Well, does anybody want to take a guess as to the status of this pond project?

HTNFSH2 #552445 09/27/22 09:39 PM
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Don't tell us it is still leaking?

I like happy Pond Boss stories and pictures!

HTNFSH2 #552510 Yesterday at 02:45 PM
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Unfortunately yes. I've lost about a 12-13" of water in the last 6 weeks. We haven't had much in the way of rain so I suspect some evaporation.

The pond was in a constant state of filling from August 21' until about March 22'. Any rainfall we had rose the water level. Of course, the surface area was much smaller then. Even with a wet spring and summer, would come up a 1-3" and fall back down. The only real way I think we'll know is when the ground freezes again. Lack of run-off has always been an issue especially since half of my runoff acreage is covered by trees.

I figure we still need 1-1.3 million gallons to achieve full pool. If the pond fluctuates a foot or so over the summer from full pool, I wouldn't mind that all.

HTNFSH2 #552515 Yesterday at 05:12 PM
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12-13" loss in 6 weeks sounds bad, but that is only 0.29" per day.

When re-filling a pond after construction, some portion of your water went to fully saturating the pore spaces in your bottom and side material AND rehydrating the clay minerals.

I hope you get it full next spring, and it holds "almost" like a bathtub!

HTNFSH2 #552528 Yesterday at 11:16 PM
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.29” daily without factoring atmospheric influences (evaporation) and you’re likely under .20” daily of leak loss. In my industry we don’t even consider that a leak. IIRC Your pond was constructed too large for the watershed to support and there’s no opportunity for supplemental irrigation (well) aside from creek pumping. Going from 2-3” daily loss to .25” is in my opinion money very well invested and nothing short of miraculous. You reduced your loss by 95% or better - what were your expectations? Your results sure blew my predictions out of the water.


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