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Pond Leaks – Tips on how to find and repair a leak in your pond | Learning Center

A tiny hole in your pond liner or one loose plumbing connection could cause a leak that slowly – or quickly, depending on the leak’s size – drain your pond. And that leak could be anywhere. You’ll need to do some investigating to determine where the problem is and then get busy making repairs. Here’s what we suggest.

  1. Rock Steady: Because rocks can shift over time, the first thing to do is return them to their original position and lock them into place. As you move the rocks back, check to see if they tore the liner or shifted it out of place. If so, patch the hole and tuck the liner back in. Use PondBuilder™ PondBuild ‘N Foam to fill in gaps between the rocks, support them and prevent them from moving again next winter.
  2. Rule Out Evaporation: During the heat of summer, you can expect some evaporation – and it can cause your pond to lose up to an inch of water a day. If you have a long stream bed with a lot of surface area or a large pond with few floating plants, even more water could transform from liquid to vapor. To rule out evaporation, fill the pond back up and keep an eye on the water level. Any more than an inch or so of water loss could indicate a leak.
  3. Check for Damp Spots: If more than an inch or so of water is disappearing daily, one clear clue that could lead to your leak is a damp area around the pond’s perimeter. That water has to go somewhere, and a low-lying patch of wet ground is a great place to start looking for its source. Walk around the pond and carefully inspect the soil for signs of unexplained moisture.
  4. Rule Out the Liner: If you’ve ruled out evaporation and found no damp areas, there are two more possible leak culprits: your waterfall or your liner. Shut down waterfall pump and wait for several hours. If the pond’s water level stays the same, then you’ll know the leak is not in the liner itself. It’s likely in the waterfall or plumbing. Check your waterfall box and skimmer for cracks or if the liner isn’t attached, and inspect your plumbing for loose connections.
  5. Track, Repair Liner Leak: At this point, the bad news is that you probably have a hole in your liner, and finding it won’t be easy. But the good news is that it is possible to track it down and repair it.
    1. To find it you can let the water slowly go down. (Depending how low it goes, you may need to temporarily relocate your fish.) The water level should stabilize, which will allow you to visually inspect the first few inches of liner above the water surface for the hole.
    2. Once you’ve found the hole, patch it up with an EPDM Liner Patch Kit or use some Gold Label Pond Sealer. The 8-inch liner patch is easy to use on small punctures: Just peel off the protective film and press onto the liner. The sealer can be used in wet or dry conditions and will seal completely in 48 hours.

Good luck tracking down that leak and repairing it!

4 Responses

  1. We are experiencing intermittent water loss in our 600 gal pond and waterfall. All of a sudden in one day we will lose as much as 4 inches from the evening to the morning. We fill it up and by the next day it may be the same loss – this pattern continues until we empty the filters from the waterfall box and the skimmer and clean and replace them.Sometimes after we do that, even though we have not identified a source of water loss the leak will stop. Other times it does not make a difference. The only consistent thing that we have found is every time we find a big frog in the waterfall box after we have cleaned and replaced the filters the water loss is stopped for maybe as much as 3 weeks.

    A bit of history: When we first had the water loss problem, we turned off the waterfall – the water level stabilized, so we do not think it is in the pond liner. When we turned on the waterfall again the water loss resumed. We dug up dirt from around the hose where it exited the pump box for about half the length of the hose. We turned on the waterfall to see if there was a leak anywhere along that stretch. Although we could not find any wet spots in the area we dug up, the leak appeared to have stopped. We put everything back together and the pond worked for three weeks. Then the above pattern began.

    What do you think is happening?

    • Hi Cheryl – Sounds like you are doing all the right things to try and narrow down the issue. Finding the source of water loss can be a challenge, especially if it isn’t consistent. There are a couple things I can think of since you mentioned it seems to get better after the media is moved or cleaned. First, make sure that your waterfall box is pitched slightly forward to encourage the water to pour out the front of the box. Next, check to make sure the media is not sitting awkward or raised in any area that would allow the water to bubble as it is forced through and possibly creep up and over the box. Another test is to pull the media out completely and place in a bucket of water for 24 hours, leave the pond running and see if the level still drops. If it does not drop that may be a good indication that the water is traveling faster that it can get through the media. We had a similar situation with one of our ponds where the bioballs media was sitting a little to close towards the front of the waterfall box causing the water to back up just enough that when a little bubble of water came through it was spilling over the edge. It took several minutes of just watching the water in the box to catch that little bit escaping. This doesn’t seem like much but over the course of a few hours it can really add up. If you have an overflow pipe in the skimmer I would check that as well. If the pump gets some debris it may slow it enough that the water level temporarily backs up and allows it to travel out the overflow. Good luck and give us an update if you are able to solve the issue or are still experiencing a problem.

      • Thank you Kathie for your in-depth response. I am excited about the possibilities. One thing that rings true is that on a couple of occasions recently the net with the bioballs has floated almost out of the falls. A year ago we had a water loss problem that we solved by watching the water come out of the fall box and made some corrections where water was bubbling over and around some rocks right where the water hit the top of the falls.

        I am anxious to put the bucket in the fall box – that is an excellent idea! I am wondering if that big frog who likes to inhabit the falls box displaces the net of bioballs enough to displace the water in just the “wrong” way. Do you have any thoughts on how to secure the bioballs since keeping the frog out will be impossible? We have been thinking about naming him and giving him a crown! 😉

        I will let you know what we find out.

        Thanks again!

      • Hi Cheryl – I just wanted to clarify, the bucket wouldn’t go into the waterfall box, it is just to hold the filter media while you are testing to see if the issue is corrected by removing the media. Placing water in the bucket is so that the natural bacteria that have colonized on the media do not dry out and die while they are removed from the pond water. If the media bag is really loose on the bioballs try twisting up the excess bag almost like you were going to tie a bag of trash and then tuck it under. That may help keep the bioballs in place so the media bag isn’t caught in the water stream as much. If the frog always shows up with the issue occurs you have one talented frog. You might need to set up a trail cam to catch him in action! 🙂

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