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#555189 01/26/23 12:15 PM
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I’ve got an about 1/3 acre pond that just filled for the first time about a month ago. It’s currently losing about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch per day. Soil is red clay loam, was compacted in lifts. Is this normal early pond settling, or should I be concerned? I could either ride it out and see if it plugs, try Soilfloc for whatever leak is there, or pump it out and try to recompact (would really prefer not). I’m also planning to try alum in the next few weeks for suspended clay. Would dropping all that out possibly have a similar effect as Soilfloc in plugging leaks?

Last edited by Dylanfrely; 01/26/23 12:18 PM.
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A well-compacted clay lined pond will almost always lose some water after the initial fill-up.

Many of the clay minerals actually incorporate some water into their chemical structure. That causes the clay minerals to swell - which is why they make great material for sealing ponds.

It is probably too early to tell if you have a leak. Keep monitoring your pond after each rain.

If your pond is murky, then definitely try the "jar test" to determine if you have suspended clays.

In my opinion, using alum to drop out the suspended clay will NOT have any effect on a possible leak. That clay would just be settled particles, rather than compacted clay.

P.S. I would recommend getting your ground cover plantings started. Vegetation on your bare soils surrounding your pond is very important in preventing your pond from being perpetually murky.

Good luck on your new pond! I hope it turns out to be leak free.

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Thanks for the reply, FishinRod. I’ll keep an eye on it for now, it’s just tough to see that water level drop after all the time and effort put into digging and filling it haha. It’s definitely clay suspension, I did some bench trials and ended up calculating about 250lbs alum for clearing the pond. Maybe I’ll hold off until this summer, since the more I’ve looked into Soilfloc, it seems that it can help clarify clay too through a similar process. Hopefully I won’t need it, but we’ll see what happens.

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I guess it depends on your weather. Dry soils, dry air, etc can be a factor although 1/2” per day seems a bit steep. I wouldnt spend much money on leak theories until you have watched it a few months.

For the suspended clay, the thing that made the most diff for me was ag lime both in the pond and on the surrounding pasture. Then of course soil stabilzation around the pond(straw,grass,etc).


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Posting an update.

I ended up using a pail of Damit I was given by a neighbor on the dam, and so far have had excellent results. I was pretty sure I knew the area that was leaking, as I found a a wet spot on the backside. I applied heavily over a 20-30 foot area along the shore. By the time I did this we were losing around an inch a day due to the smaller surface area of the pond. The leak slowed over the course of the past week, and as of today our loss overnight appears to be essentially zero.

I know people have had bad experiences with damit and it’s longevity, so I’m going to keep an eye out for more dropping, but for now I’m starting to refill our lost 14ish inches with the well.

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At $350 per pail you have a very generous neighbor!! IT sounds like it worked well for you. From all that they are willing to make public on their webpage, it seems to be a polymer product. It isn't clear if it is a single part or 2 part, or maybe a 2 part premixed in the pail already?

I would be very interested to hear from Forum member T.J. how this might compare to the product called Soilfloc that he recommended for our pond. Both sound similar but probably have real life differences (in cost?) and success or life-span that causes him to recommend one over the other.

Glad to hear you are doing great with overnight losses.

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Oh yeah, we’re lucky to have them as neighbors. My wife and I bought our 40 acre ranch 4 years ago, and they have the adjacent 80 acre lot and have been out here for decades. They’ve kind of become our farming/ranch mentors and are phenomenal. He actually had pretty minor results with the buckets he used on their pond. I think it only worked so well because I knew more or less where it was leaking and applied the whole bucket very densely.

It’s a single layer application, which is nice. Some of the google reviews mention it only working for a week or two, so if it fails I’d try soilfloc next.

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Alum will not aid in sealing. The floc created from Alum is very light and fluffy. It (the floc)
slowly setles over a few weeks............1/4"-1/2" could simply be due to evaporation

Last edited by Bill Cody; 02/15/23 07:36 PM. Reason: spelling edit


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