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  1. #1

    Exclamation Please Help - professionally built pond is leaking

    Please advise:


    When I moved in to my current house I built a pond with railway sleepers + a butyl liner. It was gravity fed to a Cloverleaf filter and never leaked. After 15 years the sleepers rotted and it needed replacing. I engaged the services of a local professional pond builder to build a new pond out of concrete. It has a bottom drain and is lined with butyl which has been cut and glued/welded together. Initially my existing filter was used; and the area for the filter was always damp so some of the pipework was leaking slightly.

    The pond looks great but it started loosing water in February. The builder came back and patched 2 of the joins, this appeared to work (or at least the water loss decreased).. At the time we discussed replacing the filter with a Nexus, he told me what to buy and agreed to fit in April.

    In the meantime the pond continued to leak. Eventually in June the filter was replaced with a Nexus (which I had bought in March); this was fitted by the installer after which the area near the filter finally dried up and I hoped that the leak was finally solved

    The Nexus is flushed regularly and the pond is topped up, so since then I was unsure if I still had a leak and assumed that the previous leak was with the pipework to the old filter, UV etc.

    Last week I left it for a couple of days and the pond level dropped about 10cm in 48 hours, ergo I still have a leak. I have isolated the filter and the level is still dropping about 5cm every 24 hours.

    Please can someone advise me on what to do.

    How long can I leave the filter isolated and let the level drop before it endangers my fish?

    If the leak is in the seal between the liner and bottom drain (or worse in the bottom drain pipework) can it be fixed? The whole thing is concrete and ergo I cannot see how the pipe could be replaced.


    The pond builder is not interested - he doesn't answer my messages, so I am on my own with no way of fixing it (it took 3 months to get him to come and fit the filter). Like many professionals he is clearly not interested now he has been paid.

    The build was not cheap and I now wish I had got rid of my fish as I am losing sleep with worry.



  2. #2
    Senior Member Rank = Gosai rolo's Avatar
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    hi
    if you put where you live or a post code you may get some replies.

    keith

  3. #3
    Senior Member Rank = Jussai Tom Koi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markp View Post
    Please advise:


    When I moved in to my current house I built a pond with railway sleepers + a butyl liner. It was gravity fed to a Cloverleaf filter and never leaked. After 15 years the sleepers rotted and it needed replacing. I engaged the services of a local professional pond builder to build a new pond out of concrete. It has a bottom drain and is lined with butyl which has been cut and glued/welded together. Initially my existing filter was used; and the area for the filter was always damp so some of the pipework was leaking slightly.

    The pond looks great but it started loosing water in February. The builder came back and patched 2 of the joins, this appeared to work (or at least the water loss decreased).. At the time we discussed replacing the filter with a Nexus, he told me what to buy and agreed to fit in April.

    In the meantime the pond continued to leak. Eventually in June the filter was replaced with a Nexus (which I had bought in March); this was fitted by the installer after which the area near the filter finally dried up and I hoped that the leak was finally solved

    The Nexus is flushed regularly and the pond is topped up, so since then I was unsure if I still had a leak and assumed that the previous leak was with the pipework to the old filter, UV etc.

    Last week I left it for a couple of days and the pond level dropped about 10cm in 48 hours, ergo I still have a leak. I have isolated the filter and the level is still dropping about 5cm every 24 hours.

    Please can someone advise me on what to do.

    How long can I leave the filter isolated and let the level drop before it endangers my fish?

    If the leak is in the seal between the liner and bottom drain (or worse in the bottom drain pipework) can it be fixed? The whole thing is concrete and ergo I cannot see how the pipe could be replaced.


    The pond builder is not interested - he doesn't answer my messages, so I am on my own with no way of fixing it (it took 3 months to get him to come and fit the filter). Like many professionals he is clearly not interested now he has been paid.

    The build was not cheap and I now wish I had got rid of my fish as I am losing sleep with worry.

    Be a nightmare to find that leak, did you use pressure pipe for the bottom drain, if yes I wouldn't think its coming from there.
    I'd keep the filter running or you will lose the beneficial bacteria that has built up, that said you probably have already if it's been off a few days, lots of ponds leak unfortunately, I've a leak somewhere around the skimmer, I just live with it at the moment to be honest, I do have a constant flow of fresh dechlorinated water running though; so the water level rarely changes.

  4. #4
    Keep filter running with no topping up and see if it reaches a level and stays there? Youíll then have an idea of whereabouts the leak is? Ie what level itís at,although money would be on either the seams or the bottom drain seal

    Itís obviously not ideal but itís not the end of the world either,not worth giving up for,Iíve had to do a liner in mine in the last few years and did exactly as above left it to get to a level where it stopped going down-mine turned out to be a hole caused by some rough pointing on inside of pond which after 10+ years finally went through

    Could even be an excuse to fibreglass it? If itís good construction/solid base you could just remove/cut away the old liner and fibreglass the whole thing


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by rolo View Post
    hi
    if you put where you live or a post code you may get some replies.

    keith

    Hi I am based in Bournemouth, Dorset. The filter is isolated and I have left the air pump running to hopefully keep the bacteria alive. If I had a large enough paddling pool I would 30-50% of the water out and see if the level still drops.

    I believe pressure pipe was used for the drain but it could be where the joints are made or where the drain meets the liner, pretty convinced if I had installed the drainage it wouldn't leak (the old pond, built my me had a bottom drain and never leaked).

  6. #6
    Senior Member Rank = Grand Champion davethefish1's Avatar
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    liner bottom drains wouldn't be the first place i would look for a leak, they are clamped together.
    so unless the liner is being pulled away from it should easily leak.
    was the liner cut and glued together with tape on site? as these type of liner joints are not vulcanised, and are not strong.

  7. #7
    OK - it has dropped at the same rate today as yesterday. I will probably refill tomorrow and top up until next week end. My plan is to pump 4000L into a large padding pool and see if it is stable. If not I will will pud another 4000L down the drain and try again. If it is still not stable I will pump the rest down the drain and manually inspect.

    The obvious issue is that the pressure on the leak will reduce as the amount of water goes down. If all else fails, after 24 years of keeping koi I feel like I am done and probably I will get a quote from a builder to remove the pond completely.
    Last edited by markp; 19-09-2022 at 07:31 PM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Rank = Jussai Tom Koi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markp View Post
    OK - it has dropped at the same rate today as yesterday. I will probably refill tomorrow and top up until next week end. My plan is to pump 4000L into a large padding pool and see if it is stable. If not I will will pud another 4000L down the drain and try again. If it is still not stable I will pump the rest down the drain and manually inspect.

    The obvious issue is that the pressure on the leak will reduce as the amount of water goes down. If all else fails, after 24 years of keeping koi I feel like I am done and probably I will get a quote from a builder to remove the pond completely.
    Don't let it beat you, how much water are you losing? if its a lot then I'd suggest that you will find it, just drop water level a little at a time.

  9. #9
    Two methods I have used to find a leak.
    1) wait till the pond stops dropping the leak will be on the same level as the water.
    2) slightly more risky. Use a sump pump and pump the pond dry as quickly as possible. Bigger the pump the better it works. Ideally once it is dry you will see water squirting back into the pond from the back pressure of the water that has leaked.
    This method worked for me but be careful of damaging the liner or fiberglass. Leak is easy to see. With fiberglass you can identify a weak patch in the fibers that could result in many small pin prick leaks. Most liners can be repaired but can be fiddly to get a good repair.

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  11. #10
    Senior Member Rank = Jussai Twhitenosugar's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear of your woes.

    I know a leaking pond is a huge pita and can be soul destroying.

    From what you said the guy who built it stuck the liner together in the corners? If that's the case I'd bet any money it's those joins that have failed (and will probably continue to fail).

    Gluing bits of liner together seems an odd way to line a pond as the DIY joints will surely fail? The three main ways of lining a pond I'm aware of is fibreglass, single sheet of pond liner (folds in the corner) or box weld. I've not heard it done the way your guy did it, apart from on very very big ponds, and that is only because the pond was bigger than the maximum width of a single sheet of pond liner?

    If I was in your shoes, I'd get a paddling pool set up and let the pond drop to its natural level (to rule out the bottom drain leaking) and then just replace the whole liner. Yep it will cost a bit, and cause some stress in the short term, but at least you won't be waiting for another join to fail.

    Sent from my Pixel 4a (5G) using Tapatalk
    13,000L fibreglassed raised pond with window

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  13. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Twhitenosugar View Post
    Sorry to hear of your woes.

    I know a leaking pond is a huge pita and can be soul destroying.

    From what you said the guy who built it stuck the liner together in the corners? If that's the case I'd bet any money it's those joins that have failed (and will probably continue to fail).

    Gluing bits of liner together seems an odd way to line a pond as the DIY joints will surely fail? The three main ways of lining a pond I'm aware of is fibreglass, single sheet of pond liner (folds in the corner) or box weld. I've not heard it done the way your guy did it, apart from on very very big ponds, and that is only because the pond was bigger than the maximum width of a single sheet of pond liner?

    If I was in your shoes, I'd get a paddling pool set up and let the pond drop to its natural level (to rule out the bottom drain leaking) and then just replace the whole liner. Yep it will cost a bit, and cause some stress in the short term, but at least you won't be waiting for another join to fail.

    Sent from my Pixel 4a (5G) using Tapatalk
    Iíd also agree with this,I wouldnít bother topping up at all just keep letting it go down until it stops,if it does,by topping up your not any wiser as to location of the leak,obviously get the fish in a temp setup in the meantime

    As mentioned above donít let it beat you,I know itís a pain in the short term for sure Iíve been there!
    But could be worse,aslong as the pond is of sound construction it should just be a case of putting a new liner in and away you go


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  15. #12
    The pond is semi-raised, made from concrete bocks with a liner & bottom drain, rendered on the exterior. Next ot the pone is an area for the filer, uv, pump and air pumps. The bse of the pone (and filter area) is solid concrete, reinforced with a metal grid.

    The problem is the rate of drop is slow compared to the size of the pond - it is currently loosing about 100-200 litres per day and the pond is about 11000 litres. The rate of drop is not constant either. I thought it was slowing as it only lost 15mm overnight but then lost a similar amount in the last 4 hours.

    My other concern is that while it drops the filter is isolated so there is no filtration. Putting the fish in large paddling pool also means no filtration as my filter is setup for gravity fed from the bottom drain and all of the pipework is solid.

    I have ordered an Evolution-Aqua inline Dechlorinator which arrives on Thursday so at least I can top it up. At the moment I have really lost the love of keeping koi - if the oldest ones (which I have had for 24 years) die while I faff around with this I will get the pond removed but it will not be easy .

  16. #13
    I suppose itís really a case of how motivated you are to keep it going,sometimes itís hard to keep that-weíve all been there,if it was me in honesty I would set the pool up-i presume that by your previous replies you already have one? And Iíd buy a 2nd hand filter local maybe even something like an eazypod or nexus (they donít lose money really so just sell it on when your done) set it up pump fed and thatís the fish sorted for the time being then just leave the pond to go down and find a level of it does,youíll find the leak no problem one way or another and then fit new liner and start again

    I know that makes it sound easier than it is in reality but with these sort of things the only way out is through and once you start itíll all come together,canít top it up forever


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  18. #14
    You could always put your matured media in a net bag and suspend it in your temporary pool over an air stone to create a flow of water through it. That set up works quite well to control ammonia and nitrite.

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  20. #15
    Senior Member Rank = Grand Champion samp09's Avatar
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    I had a similar issue with my pond and it turned out to be around the returns. I was loosing maybe 100-200l over a 24 hour period so let it naturally go till it stopped which was around the inlet. I then drained below and thoroughly sealed with CT1 and haven't had an issue since. There was no water on the outside of the pond etc.

  21. #16
    Senior Member Rank = Jussai Twhitenosugar's Avatar
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    I also had a similar issue, it turned out I had pin holes in my fibreglass (which I did myself).

    I had to sand it all back and reapply topcoat and that sorted it.

    Unfortunately whilst it was curing a breeze block holding a tarp fell into the pond and put a hole in the fibreglass. So I had to buy even more resin and do a patch repair.

    I was soooo p'd off when that happened, as I was well and truly sick of the fibreglass fumes.

    But now all that hassle is a distant memory and I have a working pond. So in the long run it was worth it.

    Sent from my Pixel 4a (5G) using Tapatalk
    13,000L fibreglassed raised pond with window

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  23. #17
    I'd rather be messing around now with it, than in 2-3 months time at minus temps!

    No idea how you sort out the bottom drain part, but I'd also go paddling pool & if need be chuck a cheap liner in, doesn't have to be permanent & perfect for now and then tackle properly in warmer temps when you're decided on keeping them & hopefully had 4-5 months of no hassles.

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  25. #18
    Moderator Rank = Supreme Champion Feline's Avatar
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    I think given the time of year and in your situation, I would be wanting to know the source of the leak asap.
    It would be worth the cost of a temporary paddling pool setup to drain the pond down and carefully inspect all the liner joints- these would be at the top of my list to suspect if they are taped on site not welded like a factory built box weld liner. It might be obvious once drained where the problem is, or it might not. You could check the liner sits nice and flat under the bottom drain gasket and returns etc. too.
    Bottom drain joint leak would obviously be the worst case scenario, but those are relatively uncommon unless someone completely incompetent has done the solvent welding.

    Could you consider having it fibreglasses instead? If done properly this carries less risk of future problems and gives the best finish.

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  27. #19
    Ok - I have setup a paddling pool and pumped out water so the level was 40cm from the top at 19:00Ö

    At 22:00 the level hadnít changed and hopefully it wonít drop overnight Ö i will report back tomorrow

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  29. #20
    So after 15 hours the level hasn't moved - I am now confident it is in the top 40cm and I believe it is one of the joins in the corner. I have been told this is fixable using somethin like Gold Label Sealer + a patch.

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