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FAQs on Liner Constructed Water Feature Repair

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Leaking rubber liner      5/26/15
I have a 12 x 15 pond that for drops to 4 feet at its deepest. It has a rubber liner that has developed a leak somewhere. I have checked and checked but can't find the leak.
<Mmmmm; you're not likely to like this response>
Have had for about ten years and have too many glued down rocks (Quikrete construction adhesive) and plants around pond to replace or re-line.
<Unfortunately....>
Is there anything I can "paint" or sealer I can brush over the liner if I drain pond?
<None that will work really>

Would roofing sealer stick to rubber liner and be safe for fish? Is there anything I could spray on? Thank you
<Only replacement or laying a new liner over.... Bob Fenner>

Water feature water basin seeping 6/3/14
Hello Wet Web Media!
<Howsit Tom?>
I have a waterfall feature with a water basin that holds 50 gallons of water or so. It was built 10 years ago or so and works fine, but now the sealer/lining is seeping to where I have to keep refilling the water once or twice a week. In reading your posts, my plan is to buy the Henry 4.75-Gal. 107 Asphalt Emulsion and spread that all over the area where water stands.
Will that work?
<May be... Allow it (the emulsion) to dry a few days... IF this doesn't "do it"; I'd look to pouring a rather liquid colored concrete slurry in the nooks and crannies of the fall "trough". You've read through WWM re waterfall repair I hope/trust. Bob Fenner>
Thanks!
Tom
Re: Water feature water basin seeping 6/4/14

Thanks for the quick response. It¹s not the waterfall portion that is the problem. It¹s really a water wall that drips into a manageable basin, almost like a concrete tubŠ and that concrete tub (which has a decomposing thick
garbage bag-like liner)
is the problem. I also saw you mention Thoroseal. Is that better for my needs than the Henry 4.75-Gal. 107 Asphalt Emulsion?
Thanks again!
Tom
<Different application... won't likely adhere to PE. BobF>

Wicking EDPM liner      5/15/14
Aloha Bob (or whoever reads this),
<Howsit Tor?>
I have an above ground fountain that we put in as the centerpiece of a garden of raised beds. Construction is 24" high, 9' diameter ring of vertical Ipe 1x6 held with three hurricane strap bands. Within that is an EDPM liner with concrete bottom on top of liner. It's been up for a while and it looks as elegant as we hoped.
I went around and pleated the liner at each joint in the Ipe (an elegant way to deal with the four foot larger circle of liner than pond diameter), but we are having trouble with small rivulets coming up an inch or more, and working through the pleats to come down outside the fountain.
<Ah yes... sp3 hybridized... water... capillating if you will>

The fountain has been going down 1-2"/week, but we've just been using plumbing strap around the edge to hold the liner in place, and it seems to make the rivulets more numerous, if not slightly bigger as well.
I'm thinking towards sealing the pleats down with something, but it would be really nice to have something that could be injected into the wet pleat, rather than having to take the band off to dry out the pleats. Any suggestions as to the best method of sealing this?
<Mmm; I would take the water out, dry thoroughly. It's hard enough to get anything to stick to EPDM...>
Thank you,
Tor
<Do write back re your experience/s please. Bob Fenner>
Re: Wicking EDPM liner    5/16/14

Aloha Bob,
Thanks for your reply.
<Welcome Tor>
> I'm thinking towards sealing the pleats down with something, but it
> would be really nice to have something that could be injected into
> the wet pleat, rather than having to take the band off to dry out
> the pleats. Any suggestions as to the best method of sealing this?
> <Mmm; I would take the water out, dry thoroughly. It's hard enough
> to get anything to stick to EPDM...>
I kind of thought as much. Do you think there is a silicone or other caulk that would work, or would I be better off to open the pleat, put a piece of seam tape over the entire open width, and close the tape back on itself?
<Yes; the tape is the very best possibility... As stated previously, little sticks/welds to EPDM directly>
It is at least outside, but even with Ipe not having water dripping down is a good thing.
Thanks,
Tor
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Liner Replacement Questions    2/25/14
This probably will not come up for many years, but I was wondering about something.
My pond is an epdm liner pond (45 mil. thickness). It is a sunken pond. It is 3 ft deep in the middle. It is about t 500 gallons. It currently contains 4 goldfish. It has a concrete barrier wall around it. The barrier wall is on top of the present liner.
I was wondering, when I need to replace the liner, should I put in a new liner?
<IF this need ever occurs (which I doubt... would have to entail a mistake like someone walking in the pond, a large clawed animal getting in it...) I would follow the SOP outlined in WWM; of placing a new liner over the old... Which will necessitate draining the pond; possibly breaking out, or amending the current berm to hold it in place>
Would I put in a new liner like I did the new one (minus the concrete wall installation)? Would I put the new liner over or under the concrete wall?
<Over>
Would I need to install a new concrete wall?
<Yes>
 Would I be better off turning the pond into a concrete lined pond?
<Possibly; most folks "go larger, deeper" in time... perhaps trying Koi/Nishikigoi, natives...>
I have a 50 gallon container I can keep my comet goldfish in until the pond is ready for fish again. With water changes and airstones, would they be alright in this container for a few days? Thank you.
<Ah yes. Bob Fenner>
Re: Liner Replacement Questions   2/25/14

Thank you Bob.
<Welcome... one item per day>

Repeat "Whales" or Bubbles in Commercial Pond Liner     2/13/14
Hello WWM Crew!
<David>
I am working with a large pond that serves as a main water feature in front of a commercial facility.
<Ahh, our service companies did the same>
 The pond was excavated into a sandy lean clay soil that was pretty "clean" with no significant roots or other organic matter that would decay over time.  The pond has reinforced concrete inflow and outflow pipes and headwall structures that are submerged below the static water level.  The excavation was generally dry with minor seepage from a natural, wet sand layer in one corner of the pond footprint.
<Ok>
The entire pond has a commercial grade EPDM liner.  The liner system or cross section (front bottom to top) consists of a prepared soil subgrade that was sealed with a smooth-drum roller, a synthetic "felt" cushion material, the EPDM liner, and about 4 inches of washed stone ballast.  The liner was sealed around the concrete inflow and outflow pipes and headwall structures.
We have had repeat problems with large "whales" or bubbles in the liner. 
The largest bubbles can be about 10 feet in diameter and extend 1 to 2 feet above the pond surface. 
<Above? Unusual>

The ballast rolls off of these bubbles leaving an exposed, black liner visible.  The bubbles are usually in one or two spots and the rest of the pond liner functions well with no leaks or "floating" where the liner separates from the pond bottom.
We have completely drained the pond two times, cut the liner to allow the air and/or water below the liner to escape, patched the liner, and refilled the pond.  The bubbles have returned each time.  I suspect that the bubbles are caused by slow infiltration of minor groundwater displacing air that was trapped between the liner and the underlying clay-based soil - primarily within the synthetic felt cushion material.  The air collects at a high point(s) and eventually creates sufficient buoyancy to lift the liner.
<Yes; this is a reasonable guess; summation>
Ducks like hanging out on the bubbles.  My idea of living with the problem and calling the bubbles eco-friendly waterfowl habitat was not well received.
<Heeeee! But I like it>
Do you have any suggestions or recommendations on how to "permanently" rectify the bubble/whale problems?  Our initial thought was to document the position of the bubble, drain the pond, install a vent pipe with a rubber "boot" - similar to a typical roof penetration - that extends to or slightly above the static water elevation, and then refill the pond.  Our hope is that we can permanently vent whatever air or water is causing the bubble and prevent similar occurrences.
Any comments or suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated!
<The first thing that came to my 40 some percent awake mind was the opportunity here of erecting some other structural elements over these imperfections in the water feature... Likely either real or artificial rocks/CRFs... Even a bridge/gazebo sort of structure. Any chance of selling the powers that be/are on such improvements? Otherwise... no to continuously draining, doing the cutting, repairing of the liner, relief underneath... There is nothing practical that I know to remedy the underlying sediment. Bob Fenner>
David

question about leaking pond, liner     8/31/12
Sir,
<Angie>
I got your email off a website while I was searching ways to fix the pond in my yard.  I am a renter.  My landlord allows me to do what I want as long as it increases the value and looks good.  He is going to sell as soon as we get our military orders to move in the spring.
Well,  he built a pond several years ago and I found it to have a leak because the water was not pumping anymore.  The water level would go down just enough for it to be just below the pump.  I filled it thinking it needed more water because of the lack of rain last year.  I sure did not want the mosquitoes it was festering. To my frustration the water level kept going down so I knew it had a leak.  I've never had a pond so I went to the local pond supply shop.  I spoke to a lady there and told her my issue and she said I needed to replace the liner.
<Likely so. These are hard to effect lasting repairs to, no matter the material they're constructed of>
 I asked her how I was to get the water out and remove the liner.  I know
what you are going to think with this next statement.....she told me to use a pitch fork and stab the bottom
<?!>

 and sides to get the pond to start draining the water....I listened to her...BIG mistake...how stupid could I be???  I thought it would be easy however the pond is 10ft in length 4 ft deep and about 7ft wide. with a water fall made of real boulders.  I did not realize until I got down in the pond that the boulders were cemented together.
<Mmm, see WWM re... the liner needs to be a component of the pond waterfall "trough": http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/h2ofallconstr.htm
Ok so I cant move that.  The pond has rock some large and some small stacked all around the edge of it.  I am fairly strong for my age but it's taking it's toll.  I can move some of those rocks.  But my landlord told me how he put the liner down and there is no way I can pull it all up and replace it.
<Likely no need, not advised. Better to just lay the new liner in over the old>
 Since I used the pitch fork and stabbed the bottom...not too many times...and I stabbed the side that was leading up the ledge of the pond...not too many times...I bought the pond tape and sealant from the pond shop.
<These rarely work...>

 I cleaned the pond out completely using a shop vac...yes I said shop vac a one gallon shop vac.
<Wow! Better to use a submersible pump... and hose...>
 I waited for it to dry which took a long time because of course there was now water under the liner where I had stabbed it.  I even used a paint brush to brush away the dust that were in between the rocks that I could not move. 
I got it all dried out and cut and placed the thick pond tape and sealed around the edges.  I found the tears that were at the seams of the liner where I believe the original leak had began.  I made sure they were completely sealed.  thinking that I had accomplished this great task I filled it with water and turned on the pump.  Everything worked.  The waterfall worked great and all was good. I wish.  Ok so evidently  I had missed a couple of holes. 
Started the process all over again.  This has taken me a good year to try and fix.
<Yikes... no fun>
 So I have bought this gallon of stuff that you mix together and paint it or roll it on and it's supposed to seal the pond. 
<... won't work either>

It's like roofing tar I guess.  I cant seem to get the pond dry enough for me to apply it.  In one side of the pond water is pooling so obviously I sealed that side well enough.  And when I suction it out..yes with  my small shop vac...it tends to start raining at least one day a week.  Just enough to get it wet again and I have to wait for it to completely dry out again.  I am totally at my wits end.  So now that you  know how ridiculous I have been trying to do this on my own with the advice of someone who I should have known clearly didn't have my best interest at heart.  She wanted me to buy a new liner after I told her what was going on...she just about made me have a heart attack with the $500 price tag. 
<I'd ask the landlord to purchase this>
This is why I have struggled to do it myself because I cant exactly afford to buy that big liner or hire someone to fix it for me.  I made the  mistake and am trying to fix the pond for my  landlord. He is an awesome landlord and trusts me completely and I need to fix this. 
My questions to you are, what is my best recourse?
<Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/linerpdrepfaqs.htm
and the linked files above>
Can I buy plastic cement and fix this pond?
<No... unless you lay down a new liner first>
  Will the cement be ok if there is still a small amount of wetness in the bottom of this pond? I've been looking into Gunite but that is expensive too. There are no holes where the boulders are cemented together.  I removed the rocks that were stacked up the slope leading to the boulders and there are no holes there either.  The holes are bottom of the pond and on the sides that slope up to the ledge.  I am thankful that I didn't put a bunch of holes in it  but what I did were enough. I really need to fix this before we transfer and winter is coming so I know it has to be done soon.  Any thoughts would be great.
Thank you. 
Respectfully.
Angie
<Having done many of these repairs, installs commercially... been a landlord for years... written articles and books on water feature design, construction, maintenance... I'd have the owner/landlord decide... EITHER they will pay for the repair (installing a new liner over the old, including up onto the falls... OR abandon this pond/basin and convert it to garden. Bob Fenner>

problem with pond liner   12/29/10
I have a fresh water, water feature/waterfall in my backyard (installed 2005) that recently developed air bubbles under the liner. What could have caused this all of a sudden, and what is the fix for this?
<I suspect that water has gotten behind your liner and either this has "liberated" (by displacement) air around it, or perhaps sped up biological decomposition of organics... outgassing the air. I would leave all as it is for now... see if it auto-corrects, and if not by Spring, carefully, and I mean CAREFULLY, using your hands, work the gas pockets up toward the surface of the pond's edge>
I hope you can help.
Cynthia and Dana Suverkrop
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Attaching rubber pond liner to rock 10/16/09
We are in the process of constructing a small feature pond with a waterfall cascading down natural rock into the pond. We have tried several different methods of attaching the liner to the rock and all have been unsuccessful.
(silicone caulking, PL Premium etc.) the force of the water always manages to 'tear' the liner from the rock. Any info would be helpful. We have built 2 other ponds from 'scratch' in the past and consider ourselves
inventive; this is beyond our imaginations however.
Thanks for any help.
afatbird
<It's very messy, but one of the heavier-bodied asphalt emulsions (Marvin's, Henry's), aka "roofing tars" from Home Depot, Lowe's e.g. will do it... let the rock dry out entirely, lather the emulsion on, push the
liner completely on to a continuous seam right to the edge of the rock, above the water level, let set up a couple days. Oh, and do buy some thinner and rags (even if you use gloves), and wear olde clothes... as the tar is the Dicken's to remove/clean-up. Bob Fenner>
Re: Attaching rubber pond liner to rock 10/17/09

thanks so much - when it stops raining here in Victoria, B.C. this will be job #1 - will let you know. have used many times on ' roof' so will be prepared to 'discard everything we use to apply. jcp
<I do know what you mean... this stuff is incredibly sticky... but cheap, readily available, chemically inert once cured/dried... BobF>

Pond Liner lifted
attached picture is not finished pond, it is just to give you an idea of what the pond looks like. waterfall covered with large slate, liner trimmed and a lot of ground cover. approx. 7'x9' before the rocks
<No pic attached>
Hi there,
I'm really at a loss as to what to do next. We had a small pond constructed in August '09 and still haven't been able to clear up all the problems. The outfit (supposed to be professionals) who installed it do not return calls until they have had about 5 phone calls from us. When they return a call, they say "be over this week" and rarely show up. The first problem was mud seeping into the pond and we were told to put in ground cover - and we did just that - still mud. They cemented the rocks, still mud. Now cemented under the edge of the liner - Big Mistake! We now have water under the pond. The original pond size was approx. 800 gals. When it was finished, it was only 550 gals. At least the water bill won't be too high.
<Ha!>
We have drained this pond three times. Our ground is level, but our neighbors are a little above us. We used liner in a ditch or moat completely around the pond. (about 10" deep. Filled it with rocks and then soil. (as suggested) As I said there is no mud in the pond, but the liner has lifted. What next?? Any help would be appreciated. This entire project has taken the heart out of what has been a 'wish' for three years. I do so much want to be able to put a few Koi in and enjoy the pond. BTW, there is a 2500 gph. pump. filter, & waterfall.
Thank you so much for any help you can offer. Sincerely, Fran
<Mmm, not a complete surprise to you that this liner/pond was mis-installed... And not much hope IMO for ameliorative repair here. One (not me) could try draining the water from the backside of the liner... (Ideally by tunneling a drain line to a lower elevation...)... But what really needs to happen is the whole thing removed and re-done properly... to where water doesn't wick out/leave the pond and/or fill the backside area behind the liner. Bob Fenner>

Does this product work? Liner pond, repair/coating  9/21/09
I have a fish pond that is probably 35 ft. long stream with 2 6ft across ponds at both ends..It leaked slowly for years so I Put in the rubber lining. and it didn't seem to work.
so I am slowly emptying all my water out since I lost all my fish to Raccoon ..GRRR
<Dang!>
I want to coat & seal it hopefully permanently any suggestions you can give me I would appreciate..I found this company Sani Tred and it sounds perfect, so I wanted to know if have heard anything about it for recoating my pond.
here is the site:
http://www.sanitred.com/WaterFountain.htm
Sincerely,
Charr Cook
Napa CA
<Have never used it, but reading over their site, it does look like it will work... I take it the space under your liner is pretty well compacted by now. Bob Fenner>
Re: Does this product work? 9/22/09
Thank You for answering me. Yes it is concrete under the liner an it was put in 15 yrs ago.
so I will try it and let you know..might be next year though..
Thanks again
Charr Cook
<Thank you Charr. BobF>

Re: repairing & refilling Koi pond  8/20/09
Hello Crew!
<Mark>
I desperately need some help, suggestions & answers re: repairing & re-installing a Koi pond. After a frustrating search for the source of the leak(s), we have faced the conclusion that the pond will need to be re-lined rather than repaired. Here are the basic facts:
. in-ground, rubber liner, about 1600 - 1800 gal, about 7 y/o.
. using an exterior biofilter from Tetra which has never been back flushed; pump to biofilter more than adequate for turnover of water, about 2000gph
. water quality is clear, algae-free, water chemistry is good (ph, nitrate, 02 etc.)
. currently stocked w/5 Koi (9" - 16") + 3 baby Koi <4", + 1 comet (6").
All are healthy, vigorous, beautiful!
. planted w/Anacharis, water lettuce, water hyacinth.
This pond is also contiguous to a "bog" area, rubber-lined & separated from main pond by rocks, planted w/thriving iris, pickerel weed, arrowhead etc.
The main pond has been losing about 6" water daily & have been re-filling w/garden hose every 48hrs or so.
Currently in the NYC area, the weather is very hot, 90+ w/no real end in sight to the heat wave. It's also been raining often & heavily, so between the heat & the rain, it's been hard to be able to get at the pond. We've tried unsuccessfully to identify the leaks, so are now planning to dismantle the pond, re-line & return the fish, plants etc.
The dog work of removal of rocks, plants etc. will be daunting, but we are willing to do this ourselves. The tricky questions are about how to "warehouse" the fish & how to re-store quality to the pond water.
<Big "wading pool">
Due to budgetary concerns, we are definitely going to have to improvise how to hold the fish & do all the work ourselves.
1. How to store the fish safely? In 55gal plastic garbage barrels?
<Nah>
Small (450g) wading pool?
<Much better>
Water would come from pond, itself.
2. What kind of aeration system will we need to keep oxygen levels in water? What kinds of pumps, airstones etc.?
<Best to use what you have currently...>
3. How to keep water temp low enough? Shade w/patio umbrella? Floating plants? Bags of ice?
<All the above>
4. How long could the fish survive in this environment?
<Easily a week or two>
5. What are the best ways to re-store pond water quality?
<Return the stored water and filter sans cleaning>
How long would it take before it's safe to return fish to their pond?
<... immediately. Add some water conditioner for the remaining 1k or so gallons you're adding new>>
There'll be some microbial benefit from returning water that the fish have been kept in, also from plants, running the biofilter & pumps. What about adding commercially available de-chlorinators, microbe-lift chemicals? Suggestions for brand names?
<Kordon/Novaqua or API equivalent... Microbe-Lift's products are very good>
6. Am I crazy to even think about trying this myself?
<Not crazy at all. Just need some strong help to lay down/over the new liner (Oh, and do take care when stepping inside the current one... treacherously slippery>
The pond, the fish, the plants, the water have been a labor of love & a are great source of pleasure. The pond was made by myself & another friend, ourselves. We made all the classic beginning mistakes, but the pond has been thriving & flourishing. I bought the fish when they were small at a local aquarium shop & they have grown into beautiful beautiful creatures.
I would hate to lose any of them.
<Should do fine... just take your time>
After an internet search, I was very happy to have found your site, it's the most helpful & knowledgeable of any I've read. I hope to hear from you soon.
Thank you for your time & consideration.
-- Mark Harada --
<Glad to help. Bob Fenner>
Re: repairing & refilling Koi pond  8/20/09

Wow, thank you so much for answering so quickly & in such detail!
Feeling much better about the whole thing, now. My main fear was that we'd end up poaching the fish!
<Not to worry>
The only thing I'm not clear about is your suggestion to use the same pump that we use for the pond for the kids' wading pool. Won't it be too strong for a much smaller volume of water?
Thanks, again,
-- Mark --
<Will not be too strong, I assure you. BobF>

Leaking Pond question 5/13/09
Hello,
<Hi there>
I have a perplexing problem. I have a pond with a stream and three small waterfalls that was constructed about 10 years ago. The pond is about 15' long by 12' at it's widest point and 1.5 deep (for water), though the sides of the pond are higher than the water level.
<Thank goodness>
The stream runs about 30 feet with a molded plastic basin at the "top".
The water is filtered in the basin and runs out (first waterfall with a 12" drop) to the stream. About halfway down the curving stream, the water reaches the next very small lip which creates a 6" waterfall.
Finally, the water falls into the pond from the stream (third waterfall). Water is pumped from the pond through a flexible PVC(?) pipe up to the basin. The pump sits in a plastic basin that also filters the water and catches debris in a black mesh net.
Now to the problem. We are losing a significant amount of water every day. The water level drops as much as 6".
<Mmm... could be a leak in the plumbing (I'd pressure test or have someone do this for you... not hard if you have the gear...) Or just turn the pump off... see if any one basin or perhaps the plumbing is the source here.... or...>
We thought that since the water drains out of the pond so quickly, that the problem was with the liner.
<Most likely so>
We had all the rocks removed, as well as the river rock that the contractor placed in the bottom of the
pond. We found a large hole in the EPDM liner. We thought that was the problem. It's not. Rather than removing the old liner, we decided to lay a 20 mil PVC liner on top of the old liner, that has an under-layment.
<The best approach. What I would have done as well>
We replaced the boulder walls and have nothing but the black liner exposed on the bottom of the pond.
We ran pump for the pond. Yippee! It looked great...the pump worked...the waterfalls looked lovely. Low and behold, it leaked!
There is no visible damp soil along the stream.
<Mmmm>
We thought that the flexible hose could be damaged; that there might be a lose connection at either point from the piping to the basins; that the waterfalls had leaks, but after we turned the pump off, the pond
still lost a significant amount of water overnight, even with the new liner in place.
<I see... a mystery for sure>
We are totally perplexed. Do you have an suggestions on how to repair this leaking pond? Thank you for your consideration.
Marcia Marshall
Illinois
<I do... I would call in "experts" here... in the swimming pool business...
Do see your in-print and electronic yellow pages/directories for such... Am very sure there will be some in the area who do such diagnostic work (for pools)... with listening gear, dyes et al. that can be applied and tested for outside the basins... Oh, and please do write me/us back with your results. Bob Fenner>
Re: Leaking Pond question

Dear Bob,
<Marcia>
Thank you very much for your thoughtful response. I was hoping for some magical diagnosis that would allow us to zero in on our problem.
<Mmm, well, the test gear is "kind of magical"... we owned some "super ears" years back... that could actually sense very small water leaks... to pretty close to their source...>
Because money is so tight, we are going to try the "milk trick" that I gleaned from a couple of websites. You put droppers full of milk all around the edge of your water and look to see if the milk is drawn to the liner/hole in the pond.
<Yes... hard to see... but worth trying>
Right now that's more economical that hiring an expert. If the milk doesn't lead us to the hole, we'll save some money for the next step in this project. We'd fill the pond with dirt but we love the sound of the moving water and it's such a beautiful feature in our yard.
<A painful source of memories for me... Many of our water features have subsequently been filled in...>
Thank you for you input.
Marcia
<Certainly welcome. BobF>
Re: Leaking Pond question 5/13/09

One more thought Bob, on why I am reluctant to bring in an expert with "ears"....we have a septic system and water lines, including the lift pump are all _very_ close our pond. If they hear water, it could be a
component of the septic field instead of the leak. Wouldn't that be likely? Would that make their "ears" ineffective?
<Mmm, don't really know anymore... some of these devices can be pushed into the ground near the suspected source...>
Thank you again! I really appreciate your responsiveness! Want to come over for coffee and look at our pond? * : ) * (I bet you get many invitations!)
Marcia
<Ahh, thank you, but no... am out for the next six weeks giving presentations, attending a trade show and diving in the Far East... BobF>

Pond Liner Bubbling up 5/10/08 Hello Bob, <Bob is off with no/minimal internet, Scott V. with you. I apologize for the delay in getting to your query.> Your advice seems spot on and I hope you can help me. I installed a large pond last summer with my cousin (30'X20' 4' deep in the center). Everything was great until severe weather hit at the end of the summer and destroyed my pond. <Sorry to hear this.> I have cleaned everything up by draining the pond and disposing of the mulch and excess dirt. However, there is one lingering issue; The liner keeps bubbling up due to water trapped underneath. It goes nearly 100% after storms, but bubbles up to the top again after any significant rain fall. I read your suggestion to install some sort of pump, but it would be impossible to get underneath the liner without removing 15-20 tons of rock! <A pump underneath is one option, a natural gravity fed drainage system or diverting the water away to begin with being two more options.> What if I put large heavy rocks on the bottom to hold the liner down? My fear is that it will just spread the problem to other areas. If I push the liner down in one spot, it naturally lifts another. <This will be the case.> I hope we have not made an irreversible rookie mistake. My cousin and I have put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into this thing (not to mention time and money). Is there any other suggestion if I cannot divert the water (I would have to build a moat around the pond) or install a pump? <Installing a drainage system would be your best option if you cannot divert the flow to prevent the problem. Sorry, no 'magic bullets' here. The water will do where gravity tells it to go. You will either have to take advantage of this or employ a pump as you mention.> Thanks in advance for your time and consideration, Bill <Welcome, I hope this helps, Scott V.>
re: Pond liner bubbling up 05/14/08
Hello Scott, <BobF this time> Thanks for the response. What would you recommend using for a diverter? <Can be of use> We dug a French drain around the exterior of the pond. There is still one location that I could use some sort of diverter to channel the water to the drain. Gravity can be my friend on this if we can figure out a way to divert the water. We built the pond in what used to be a run off ditch, so the water naturally wants to go there. <Ah, yes> In addition, I am looking at using a well digging service to put some drainage under the pond. This should help with the bubbling up of the liner. <Agreed> We had a huge storm and once again it bubbled up, but 12-16 hours later the liner resubmerged itself. The backside of the pond is a man made wall (remember it was a drainage ditch before we cam along), so it is easy to access on one side. Have you ever heard of using this method and do you have any recommendations before I attempt this? <I have done such work before. Our companies used to lay down (Mainly PVC) waterproof barriers in advance of reinforcing mesh and cementaceous material. Sometimes there would be displacement twixt these... particularly with a failure in the surrounding soil> Are you sure you can't send me some magic bullets? <Mmm, there are none> Just kidding and thanks for helping me brain storm. I am learning a lot about drainage and water flow (more than I ever cared too!). In the end the years of enjoyment will be worth all of the blood, sweat and tears. <Again, we are in agreement. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Floating pond liner, reading  - 1/31/08 Hi, I am in Texas and have had my pond over ten years, now I am having episodes of my vinyl liner floating, the water is getting underneath and I have to drop a little pump alongside the liner to pump it out. The pond is about 24" deep, has a main drain, and is about 10' X 8", there is a magnolia tree that has grown up over the years by the pond, Do you have any suggestions for a fix? Thank you <Mmm, well... your options come down to... doing nothing... or something... The last, into diverting water around the basin, providing a sump/lower area with a pump with a float switch... Or providing a cement plus mesh... coating on top. See here re: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/linerspdconst.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Reconstructing old concrete ponds  12/16/07 Hi, Bob and company, <Sarita> The project in question is an 80 year old meditation garden with several small (10' - 20' widths) ponds and a stream bed, all with cracked concrete. A recent attempt was made at fixing them by simply covering the old concrete with pond liner, but not the good EPDM rubber liner ~ rather the much stiffer, wrinkle ridden polyethylene liner. <Neither attractive nor lasting> This has resulted in an aesthetic challenge, among other problems. Tons of head size and slightly larger stones have been piled along the edges to cover the liner with questionable results. <... and a maintenance nightmare> My redesign involves removing the small stones and bringing in big boulders (that exist on the property ~ they are fortunate to have an amazing supply of natural boulders and stone!) . In the process, I will need to bust the concrete out at least around the edges of the ponds and stream bed in order to accommodate the boulders in a naturalistic way (digging them partly into the stream banks). <Mmm, yes...> I would like to save the owners some money in redoing the work. Where possible, it would be economical to reuse the lining which they already spent a good deal on. <Not likely... they and you would be better off starting new... removing the existing, breaking the edge and making "islands" where you intend to mount the new large rock, laying in a new liner with mesh, shotcreting all, placing the boulders, mortaring in around these... with the liner higher than water level behind... all within the basin...> I have some questions: I will be mortaring my stonework and am considering using mortar to cover any exposed liner (with a Quikrete colorant to simulate the stone/local soil color) and will use an acrylic strengthener. Will that be enough over the poly lining? What thickness do you recommend? <20 mil plus> Should I paint the liner with a cement glue first? <No... no advantage> Mold aviary wire over the liner surface? <Yes... or stucco, chicken... wire> How about adding fiber mesh to the mix? <If there's money in the budget, this won't hurt... I'd rather spend the money on better and more (plasticized) cement> This is at an elevation that typically has +25° lowest winter temps, 100+ summer highs. I believe soil heaving is mitigated by the many tree roots of the surrounding forest, but I would like any advice you have on mortaring for cold weather, and mortaring over liner, especially as I intend (though not by preference!) to re-use the poly liner for the water containment. <Mmm... is the feature to be drained, water-less during the freezing weather? If not, I would not be concerned especially... Again, I would plan on replacing the existing liner... it is VERY likely perforated, will suffer further piercings with the new work... I would remove it rather than lay over the new one... Butyl would be best...> Thanks so much for your website! Contribution forthcoming! Sarita <Yay! Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Re-install Large Pond In Clay Soil, Pond Near House Re Installed After Collapse  11/15/07 Dear Crew. Put in 4' deep x 8' wide x 33' long Koi pond about 3 years ago. < Wow, that is a really big pond.> Concrete block mortared together for side walls. In bottom we put 2" sand, then underlayment of carpet backing, then EDPM vinyl liner. We included a large biological waterfall (using a 150 gallon rubber water tank filled with filtering materials). The pond lays 4' from the house and stretches along the length of the front sideway between the house and the sidewalk. The soil here is clay and develops very deep wide crevices during the heat of summer. < A typical expansive clay.> About a year and half ago we drained the pond because our house foundation fell. We had a contractor put concrete piers along the perimeter to re-level. We don't know if the pond had anything to do with it, but don't believe it did, although we continually had quite a bit of water loss that we feel was the waterfall. <The house fell for a reason. The piers transfer the load of the foundation from your house down past any influence from the pond. Hopefully the soil there is much stiffer.> In the meantime our two gorgeous Koi have been living in 150 gallon tank, and we want to go ahead and re-install the pond, but want to take extra precautions against any possible leaks as it is so close to the house. Do we need to do anything extra than your suggestions of liner, then concrete, etc.? My plan is to keep the old liner in (although not trustworthy as re-modeling materials during structure tear down were thrown into it), go ahead and put a new liner in and proceed from there. Also, we have decided to bring the pond up to a 2' depth and need advice as to what material would be best to do this......just dirt or what about pea gravel......or sand?? This would go over the old liner, and then we would continue per your site instructions..... Sorry to be so lengthy but would appreciate any thoughts before we do this. Thanks Darla McLeroy <Any material that you use to bring up the pond bottom needs to be compacted to prevent differential settlement. Use whatever is the most cost effective and densify the material in 8" lifts using a mechanical hand whacker up to the grade you desire. The last lift or top material needs to be a material that is recommended by the manufacturer of the liner. If you use a pea gravel as fill then a sand used on top will just fall through. If you use soil it needs to be free of any sharp objects like stick and stones. Pea gravel is almost self compacting but holds lots of water between the pore spaces.-Chuck>

Liner bubbles -- 10/18/07 I tried to register on the site, but the username field is not operable. <WWF... we (WWM) unfortunately do not control...> I have developed air bubbles under the liner of my 900 gallon pond. I do not wish to rebuild, will the trapped air damage the liner, or pond integrity? <Likely not...> The liner was the heaviest available 3 years ago when constructed. Thanks in advance, Barry <The air (or more likely water there) may well "go away" in time. In the meanwhile, try to avoid "poking" the areas. Bob Fenner>

Pond question - 8/17/07 Mr. Fenner- <Mr. Agins> I recently installed a pond with approximate nominal dimensions of 13'L x 16'W x 2.5' D. Because of the rounded corners, and such, it is less than the 3900 gallons the dimensions would imply, perhaps by 20%. So, let's say that it's roughly 3000 gallons. The pond is EPDM lined with EasyPro aquafalls at the head, and skimmer on the wall opposite the waterfall. The waterfall feeds a stream approximately 3'W x 10'L x 9"D. I am using a PondMaster 5000 GPH Mag drive pump. <Okay...> When I first assembled everything, following the manufacturer's directions for through-the-liner installation of the skimmer weir door, the water level drained to exactly the bottom of the weir, leading me to conclude that the weir connection was the culprit. <Likely so> I called the supplier from whom I bought the materials, who told me that silicone would not adhere to EPDM <This is correct> (contrary to the manufacturer's instructions) and to use EPDM caulk for the connection. When I called my local roofing supplier, they told me that EPDM caulk is just a temporary material and, instead, to used a particular waterproof EPDM tape. <If the space/gap is very small, this may work...> I have applied this tape - very carefully, after cleaning the EPDM liner with a solvent and rolling the tape with a roller after application - but still notice a slow drop in water level. I have checked the seam where the stream liner meets the pond liner and have re-taped that junction, also. When I turn off the pump (which has a check valve in the line to prevent backflow), the Aquafalls remains full, leading me to believe there is no leak in the bulkhead fittings or the flexible PVC connection to the Aquafalls. <Seems reasonable> The run of flexible 2" PVC connecting the skimmer to the Aquafalls is about 30' long and runs 8-10" below ground level, in newly laid topsoil. I don't see any evidence of wet ground around the path of the PVC tubing. Question (after this very long preamble): Is it possible that the drop in water level could be the result of evaporation? <Mmm, over how much time how many inches of water? And then it virtually stops? It's the skimmer...> Any help you could provide would be most sincerely appreciated. Thank you. Richard Agins <Please send along a link to the actual product if you can... and I will do my best to help you. Bob Fenner>
Re: Pond question, through-put/skimmer leak  - 8/17/07
Here is the link to the skimmer - I have the small (which isn't all that small): http://www.justliners.com/easyproskimmers.htm and here is the link to the extension tube: http://www.justliners.com/easyproextentube.htm <I see... the material the "clamp mechanism's faces" are made of is some sort of plastic... likely PVC sheet...> I didn't mention that I installed the extension tube to the skimmer using a double bead of silicone. <This is what I would have done as well... a few "squigglies"/lines on either side, waiting ten minutes or so...> Both the skimmer and the extension are made of a resin or polymer of some sort, are rigid, and bolted together quite tightly. <No need to be "too" tight> In response to your question, 2-3 inch drop in water level in 2 days with the pump running. I can't imagine that there isn't a reliable way to make the skimmer connection without leaks. This has taken more time than any other aspect of the construction. Thanks again. Richard <And you've tried leaving the system w/o the pump running with the same water loss I take it... 2-3 inches in two days is a bit much... unless there is a good deal of splash, spray involved... and or very dry/high winds... Myself, I would try taking this all apart (yes, once again) and re-Siliconing both faces... and let set up for a day w/ the water low to let set. Bob Fenner>
Re: Pond question - 8/17/07
Thank you. I left the pump off today. I'll review the situation when I get home tonight to see whether there's been a further drop. Your advise is much appreciated. <Real good. BobF>

Tired pond liner   8/10/07 I have a 14 x16 pond (rubber type liner ?) <Likely so if it's lasted this/that long> that I put in about 13 years ago in a Koi pond. it is not very level, and part of the liner has been exposed. I have little dogs that go down the slope to drink from the pond, and I think they and raccoons may have punctured the deteriorating liner, <Does happen> There are no visible holes. Where the water has receded and the liner is dry there is a band of uneven chalky looking residue, it may be a little flakey. <Likely an accumulation of solids from the water over the years ("scale") along with some biological and leaf litter material accumulation...> I cannot afford to replace whole liner at this time. Is there anything I could paint or spray on the damaged area to give it a little longer life? <Mmm, yes... but not advised. Not likely to work or "band-aid" this basin for long or well> I could wash off some of the residue with a not very powerful "power wand". Am 73 year little old lady. Thank you. V <Mmm... Are there some folks who might help you? Carefully drain the basin, remove a good deal of the overburden ("muck") to take a closer look? One must be very careful in getting in/out of established ponds as they are treacherously slippery... and it is very easy to tear even a new, thick liner with stepping on something sharp... But such work can be done (and is periodically needed). Please ask about in your local garden centers to see if there is a "Pond" or "Water Garden" club in your area... contact these folks... as they in turn should know who might help you here. The materials that can be applied to an old/er EPDM/Butyl/Rubber liner need to be placed in exacting conditions... with the liner very clean and dry... Please feel free to re-contact me, or have the folks who will help you do so if I may be of further service. Bob Fenner>
Re: pond repair, liner    8/20/07
Hi! I wrote to you recently about a pond liner that has reached its end. I think it is a kind of rubber? Now you can see a grid, and it empties itself rapidly. It is approximately !5ft by 16ft, and about 3ft at its deepest. when I built it, I lined it with cement, but it didn't hold water so I put in a sub liner and the liner. I was hoping I could patch it or reseal it, but you said it wouldn't work. Now I want to put in a new liner, having found a young man with muscle who could do the job. what I need is some guidance for him. <Please have him contact me here> I was thinking of cleaning the pond out very well and using the existing liner as a sub liner, for what good it is. What material do you recommend? Longevity is not particularly important at this point as I am a little old lady, 73. <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/linerspdconst.htm and the linked files above... Embossed EPDM would be best...> I had a box filter outside the pond: sort of a Rubbermaid box with turning foam rollers which didn't turn, and that crunchy white sort of wiry white pad on top. Cant remember what it's called. Polyfiber? Fed from the top by a pipe with y joints and holes .It never worked really well, and I would like to make/ buy something more efficient, preferably biologic. I have a half wine barrel available. Price is a factor. <Please see WWM's Pond Subweb> I would really appreciate some guidance here. Have arthritic hands, and typing for web research is very painful and slow,, so I'm hoping you can give me some answers although I am sure the information I seek is available in your FAQs Thank you! Vivienne <Is... that and articles archived. Bob Fenner>

Re: Pond   6/5/07 Dear Bob, We're in Poway (just barely), right near Poway and Pomerado. <Oh! Just across the 15 from us... We live in East La Jolla... Okay, Mira Mesa... on the poor side of Penasquitos> The basic structure of the pond is theoretically in place. The existing (bad) equipment should be removed soon. <Agreed... I see evidence of "pool technology" in your photo... doesn't work... and expensive to operate to boot!> Not sure what to do about the liner which already has roots growing through and pond is losing water. <... We built many such ponds in our years of business... several locally... NEVER with just a liner...> As I mentioned before, our goals would be low maintenance and safe for frogs, fish and other critters in our area. <Can be done...> I have read some of the website you provided, especially on the filters but I definitely need smart advice and good, knowledgeable pond construction workers. <Mmm, I'd get around to the local (San Diego) Koi Society for a visit with like minded folks... with histories to share...> A photo is attached here, if that's helpful. We like the basic structure but the equipment part has been a big mess. Thanks so much, Shane <Well... I'd treat what you have as a basic hole... and lay in a new liner, reinforcing mesh, shotcrete or such... and first plan/devise a working bio-filter... Not hard to do, but does take some study... You can hire folks to do this all for you, but... I would at least read-up, find out what your options are ahead of actual work... There ARE several variations on a theme here, as you will find. It might be worthwhile (along with reading, gathering data) to look at the local Yellow Pages (under "ponds") and have a handful of folks come on out, bid on what they would do here, for what sum of funds... INCLUDING their prospectus on ongoing cost... to help you sort all this out. I would be looking for a LARGE gravel type, reverse-flow bio-filter... a Sequence brand pump... likely an ozonizer or UV... Bob Fenner>

PVC pipe cement to adhere patching material  5/30/07 Hello, is it possible to use PVC pipe cement to adhere patching material (Tetra Pond PVC) to a punctured liner of the same type liner material? <If it is made of this... Tetra Liners used to be EPDM... Rubber... http://www.aquatics-online.co.uk/acatalog/Online_Catalogue_Pond_Liners___Repair_Kits_and_Tape_23.html> If so, does/could PVC pipe primer also need/may be used prior to applying the cement? <If using PVC solvent... yes> From the "Home of Low Over-head" do-it-your-selfer, Joe in Kansas <This liner is made of other material I believe... I would "test" only a small piece... where it won't be noticed. See the above link for other repair technology. Bob Fenner>
Re: PVC pipe cement to adhere patching material, not reading...  5/31/07
Wow, thanks for the quick response. I say the liner is PVC, because I described it (black on one side and green on the other side - like flattened out garden hose) to a local landscape/pond company and they thought it was PVC. <...> Does the that description sound to you like PVC. I did try a test, and other than a little shrinkage, it seemed to work OK. I'll check (bench tested) it again at 24hrs post application. What kind of waiting time to refill would you recommend. Thanks again for your timely response. <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/linerpdrepfaqs.htm , and the linked files above where you lead yourself. BobF>

Pond <repair> Question    5/11/07 I have a 7000 +/-gallon pond with a waterfall and coping around the rest of the area. This has been set up for about 5 years and from a biological POV has been very successful. The problem we are having is the coping stones are tipping into the pond. Although they are set in mortar and grouted in between  they are no longer stable. <Mmm, wondering what became of the mortar base> I have spoken to my mason who helped me build the pond and he said we could pin them in but we have a EPDM liner. Do you have any suggestions to lock them into place.    Thank you for any advice you might be able to offer.    Michael Jove <I would lower the water level, remove the present work and lay in a new mortar (actually I'd use concrete and reinforcing mesh... chicken wire or stucco wire... that you can cut with shears... let this set up for a day, and mortar the coping stones with mortar the next day (maybe with a bit of lime or white glue (the mason will know what I'm referring to...) to make all a bit "stickier". Bob Fenner>
Re: Pond Question    5/11/07
Thank you for responding so quickly.< I wish all consult/repair services were so timely>. The mortar base is still there but because it is set on the liner which has give I am sure that shortened its lifespan. Your suggestion of either lath or a rebar equivalent is something we have been mulling over and now will probably use.      Thank you once again. <Welcome... I have done such repairs before... If the present mortar is substantially adhered to the liner, I would just leave it there, remove the coping stones, re-sent in a new foundation built over the present stuck-on mortar bed. Bob Fenner>

Pond Liner Lifts   2/20/07 Good Day, <And to you> I have searched through your great site and, unfortunately, have been unable to find any information pertaining to our problem.  Our outdoor pond is 8' x 11".  It is 3' deep at one end, 2' at the other.  The pond has a liner.  During our rainy season ground water seeps under the pond and lifts the liner so a lot of pond water drains away. <Yikes... really need to make a drain away from this "underneath" area... to even lower ground... rely on gravity is best... a pump with a float switch if need be> When the ground water dissipates, the liner drops and the pond needs to have water added.  This has been a problem since we purchased our house ten years ago.  The liner now has holes <Yikes...> and we need to install a new liner ASAP as we have loads of fish temporarily housed in an upper pond which is too small for the long-term. We are currently working on replacing the liner but we can't seem to get the area to dry out.  We have the pond drained in the afternoon and then next morning there is a foot or more of water in the deep end. <Yes... same sort of situation, challenge as above... need to either have a purposeful drain, or set up an automated (electrical) pump/switch...> With the water constantly coming in, we are not sure if we can install the new liner and achieve a good close fit. <Not likely, no...>   Do you have any ideas or suggestions how we can properly install a liner and/or resolve our lifting liner problem?  (We live near the ocean and there are numerous underground streams making their way from the mountains to the ocean.) <Ah, yes...> Thank you kindly for you time and any assistance you can offer. Margaret Maringgele <Mmm, if you had a small pump, you might be able to "sink" this into the ground next to the existing hole (digging), place the pump in a plastic bucket... and allow it to pump out the water while installing the new liner... but really the only permanent fix is the drain or automated pump/switch mentioned. Bob Fenner>
Re: Pond Liner Lifts   2/20/07
Bob, <Margaret> Thank you so much for your quick response and possible solutions.  My proposed solution, involving dump trucks and fill, wasn't well received by my husband. <Yikes!> Hopefully he'll like your ideas better and we'll have a liner that stays on the bottom of the pond. <I hope so!> Margaret <BobF>

Sealing EPDM liner to cement... possible, but messy  2/19/07 Hi, Bob <Eric> I am redirecting an existing waterfall through a narrow gap between two very large hard to move boulders into a new creek, so I need to link between two sections of EPDM with concrete between them (concrete to serve as "pond liner" within the narrow 3"-4" gap between boulders and extend several inches out in both directions. I do not want liner to be visible in gap between boulders. Can I bond the liner to the smooth cement with asphalt emulsion UNDER the water level? <Mmm... possibly... a real mess though... wear your absolutely worst clothes... very long, up to the elbow and beyond... "ladies" dishwashing gloves or similar for chemical handling...> If  not, what's the best adhesive? <This really is (amongst what is widely available) the best material... there are a few formulations... You want the very "viscous" material... likely labeled for roof patching...> Or alternatively, if I were able to dress the EPDM thru the crack between the boulders, how can I seal it to the rock BELOW the water line? <A VERY good idea to do this at the "low water level" time of the year... BEST by far to divert or dam the water for a day...> Asphalt emulsion , construction adhesive calk, RTV calk, polyester resin??? <Only the first will work IMO> If I go the cement route, is there risk the bond between cement liner and the boulders will crack from settling or whatever creating a leak? <Always, yes... best to fit this with large, well-shaped rock... and fill the gap (best to actually make a "form" first, and build to fit closely OUTSIDE the system), with a very fast settling cementaceous product like Thoro's "Water Plug"...> Perhaps I should cast in a 1/2" gap between the concrete and boulders on each side and calk it with flexible sealant like that used on swimming pool decks? <Bingo! A wise choice> Thanks, Eric <Welcome, Bob Fenner>

45 mil EPDM liner repair   12/11/06 I have to patch my pond liner, it is heavy EPDM rubber made by Firestone, it is a very large project we use for swimming with chlorine added to the water, we have excess material we can use for patches is there any product we can buy for an adhesive or product we can order ? Thank you Barbara <Mmm... there are various patch kits... but I and others don't hold these in high regard... Better to buy a new, whole piece to use. You can read here re: http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&gfns=1&ie=UTF-8&rls=PCTA,PCTA:2006-31,PCTA:en&q=epdm+rubber+liner+patching Bob Fenner>
Re: 45 mil EPDM liner repair   12/11/06
Thank you... I had a feeling this liner was going to be a problem, the man that sold it to a few of us has closed the business and probably is hiding, <!?> can you send me a link to the home page of your site, I can't seem to get back there, thank you Barbara <Ah, yes my friend... www.WetWebMedia.com There is a bit here re Liner Repairs: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/linerpdrepfaqs.htm Bob Fenner>

Leaky Pond - 10/08/06 I had a beautiful pond with seven goldfish until yesterday when landscapers cut a branch off a near tree and part of it landed in the pond.  There is now some kind of leak because all the water, down to three inches or so, is gone. <Yeeikes... is this a liner-only pond? Will have to be repaired, perhaps the liner replaced>   Two fish died.  The guy came over and took out the surviving fish. They are in a bucket with the pond plants now but I don't know what to do.  He says he can't find the leak.  Since the winter is coming, I could let it go except I don't know what to do with the fish.  Is there a body of water into which they can safely be released? <Not the wild, no... a very poor idea> I live by the ocean but obviously that is not a solution.  I have to do something fast because the bucket is no solution either, and I can't fill the pond back up without finding the leak. Help! RBonne <For the livestock, if you don't want to try to over-winter them indoors... perhaps a space in the garage... I would call local "fish stores" (see "Aquariums", "Ponds" in your Yellow Pages...). BobF>

Sealing edges of rubber liner fix  12/21/05 Hi,   I live in NC and purchased 10 beautiful acres with a 50 year old, 1 acre pond on it. It is filled with runoff water. When It rains it fills up nicely , then after a few days the water level drops about 2-3 feet. I see where the water drains out on the backside of the 20 ft. wide dam. Large trees sat on top of the dam and spillway which I recently cut down. I do know the reason for the leaking is the large caverns these roots have caused. I can't afford to redo the whole pond and a farmer suggested laying a piece of 10' X 100' rubber liner across the dam area and down below the surface a few feet to stop leakage or cover holes. My question is, once I put this down and secure it with rocks here and there, won't water just seep under it around the edges and the leaking will continue just as bad as before? <Likely so, yes> Do you think this might slow it down to a natural leakage pace? <Doubtful...> By the way I do know cutting down the large trees will cause the roots to die and make more ways for water to escape, but the amount of leaves falling into the pond each year is tremendous and trees and root systems were hanging out over pond ready to one day fall in. I'm sure the leakage and/or holes is below the root balls sticking out. Please help, the few fish remaining need some deeper water to survive. Becky <Mmm, I suggest you "let your fingers do the walking"... have some local contractors (likely to be found under "landscaping" in the Yellow Page Directory)... and have them tell you your options. Maybe a clay-based material can be dished into your "over-burden" (the unconsolidated material on the pond bottom), or this overlain over the base of the liner on the dam... Bob Fenner> sp;

Leaking 25ml polyethylene liner 8/17/05 Hi crew, I've had a leaking pond for 7 years. It is made of 25 ml polyethylene and I know where the leak is at. I have tried to clean it very carefully and re-tape it with 6" tape from the company I bought the liner from several times. The tape has worked great except for one place. It is on the north side of the pond and it almost never dries out. What type of solvent is best for cleaning the liner to prepare it for tape? <... alcohols are about the safest, most thorough...> I have been using rubbing  alcohol, since it dries so fast, but I'm thinking there must be some type of solvent that is specifically suited for polyethylene. Also since the area that has to be re-taped has many curves and 25 ml  polyethylene is so rigid is there a better material that can be used to go over the polyethylene, but will stick to it. <Not as far as I'm aware> My pond is approximately 120'x30'x9'deep. Replacing the entire liner is out of the question, it has a  shelf all the way around it with rock placed in the shelf and a rock walkway all around the top of the pond. I have spent literally hundreds of hours of my time getting it to this point.  The repair has to be made in place. If you can give me some suggestions I would greatly appreciate it. Dynamite is my next option. HELP Thanks in advance Tim <I wish I had better news for you, but there is nothing that I'm aware of that will help, or repair a polyethylene liner... One of the reasons I am so opposed to their use in biological ponds, basins. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/linerspdconst.htm Bob Fenner>
Re: leaking 25ml polyethylene liner 8/17/05
That sure made my day, your site is a great source of info. thanks <Am very sorry for your troubles... we replaced many "poly" liners over the years... no fun, to put it mildly. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Repair Question (Liner Pond) Robert, This is Doug Carrion. I live in Los Angeles Ca. About 2 weeks ago I had some trees cut back on my property, only to find that one of the branches while trimming punctured the bottom of our Koi Pond.  <Yikes> I had just bought the house, so I am brand new to the world. It looks to me like it is a black liner of some sort. How would I know which material this pond is? <It may well be printed/embossed on the material itself (if you can pick enough of it up to take a look), or at least the name of the manufacturer... Likely a Tetra product, green on one side, black on the other... 32 mil PVC... EPDM and Butyl Rubber have definite feels, looks to them...> Also, for repairing, do I take the chance of melting the material if I choose the wrong patch? Well if you could point me in the right direction, I would greatly appreciate the help, Thanks Carrion <Cutting to a/the chase here, do have one/two "pond service companies" come out and bid on this repair... They should be able to detail your possibilities quickly. You can then decide to DIY or no. Not much chance of melting the material if choosing wrong patch technology though. As I say, check through the "Yellow Pages" here. Bob Fenner>
Liner Pond, leaking...
I checked through existing questions and could not find the answer to this specifically. We have a large (about 15,000) gallon pond (it is also varying heights from two to six feet deep) it is three years old. Every year we try to get it to run but the liner leaks where it was joined to fit. We resealed all the bottom drains so that is not the problem. We have resealed the seam but it keeps failing. Due to the large size it is not easy to repair. Is there some sort of a spray or brush on sealant that we could apply to the seam to permanently seal it. I was thinking something like a roof type sealer? P.S. we want to put fish in the pond so it would have to be safe.  Thanks. <Good question... I have extensive experience with poly(ethylene), butyl (rubber), EPDM, and vinyl liners... some are repairable, others are a bear, the first, impossible. If yours is vinyl, you may be able to attach a wide swath of material... with it clean, dry (the pond empty) and the use of a solvent (e.g. THF... toxic, flammable... unpleasant to breath, get on skin...). Have you considered laying in reinforcing material and shot- or concreting this basin in? Or even placing another liner (whole) over the existing? These possibilities are discussed in articles, FAQs files on our pond Subweb. I'd be reading there. Bob Fenner>

Repairing a pond liner, literacy HI,    We have a pond in our back yard that has a rubber like stiff liner. And it has a leak. Is there anything I can use to repair it.     thank you  Marty Soloman <Please see WWM re... the Pond Subweb... Liners... Depends on the make-up of the material, the nature of the tear... Bob Fenner>
Re: pond liner
Thank you for your response. How can I tell what kind of material I have. I'm completely new at this.        Marty Soloman <Ah, good question. Best to snip a small piece off, and take with you to the nearest "garden pond shop"... Maybe take a look in your "Yellow Page" phone directories under "Ponds"... the folks there should be able to tell you if it's EPDM, Butyl, Polyethylene... and whether they have patch kits, solvent for such a repair. Bob Fenner>

Liner leak Hey Crew,   I asked a question previously about a liner leak with no positive remarks or help. I found a site that has an additive for ponds, etc. They " Say" it works. Site is http:///www.seepage control.com It takes about 1 gal for 2,000 gal. and is $125 for 5 gal. Has anyone had experience, etc. with this ESS-13??? Chuck <This site doesn't come up for me, but am familiar with similar products... They're not for liner type ponds... If you can detect the actual tear/puncture in your liner you might be able to drain the system down, clean the area and anneal/melt/weld a piece of material over the break. Please use the search feature on our site: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ (Pond Subweb) re liner construction, repair. Bob Fenner>

Pond Liner Bubble We have a 1 acre pond which was lined with a nice thick liner a while back. <Nice> In the past few days however it has developed a 25' diameter bubble in the middle (see attached picture). Any ideas on how to fix the immediate problem and prevent a future recurrence? <Yikes... I wonder as to the cause... the make-up of the gas itself... Some way needs to be devised to install a vent...like a "sideways drilling" operation... a pipe to the area directly underneath this bubble, water, liner... to allow the gas to escape... Perhaps a well-drilling co. in your area can help... If you had known of the gas problem, perhaps shaping the basin to be more conical would have prevented this condition. Good luck, and do have the gas checked... it could be something flammable. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Glenn A. Hartzog

Leaking Pond Liner Do you know of any product that can be sprayed or painted onto an existing pvc liner to make it water tight? The liner is only a few years old but it no longer holds water. <There are no such "miracle cures" as far as I'm aware... but most liners can be repaired pretty easily by solventing (aka "welding") a new piece/sheet of material over the cuts. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/linerspdconst.htm re pond/liner construction... and the links, other files beyond. Is yours a Butyl, PVC, EPDM liner? You will need to know this, and find a compatible/matching material to anneal to it, and solvent to do so. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Fiona Casarini

Aquatic Gardens

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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