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Pond Leaks

Watch a video about leaking ponds.

Some water loss can be expected in new ponds until soils become saturated. Water loss through evaporation (6-12 inches) is also normal, particularly during dry months. If an excessive decline in water level is noticed and the area below the dam stay saturated, then a leak is probable. Leaks may be very difficult to locate since they can occur in the pond bottom through sand or rock seams. Usually the pond will have to be lowered and a layer of clay incorporated into the bottom. Other leaks occur through the dam because it was not properly cored. When building the pond, pond owners should employ a reputable contractor and check their references.   Normally, leaks through the dam can only be repaired by lowering the pond and re-coring the dam. Ponds leak can also develop through the drainpipe. A slight leak in the valve may be repaired by pouring wet sawdust along the outside of the standpipe. As the sawdust sinks, it is sucked into the leak, resulting in a seal. At times, new pipe can be inserted into the old pipe for repair or divers can be employed to repair a faulty valve; however, in most cases the pond will have to be lowered and the valve replaced. If a leak is suspected, the contractor and the NRCS should be consulted regarding the best method of repair.

The information above came from the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division's booklet Sportfish Management in Alabama Ponds, which is available as a PDF.

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