Tuesday, December 4, 2012


This is going to be a pretty photo heavy post, so give it a bit of time to load.

One of the big projects started back in August of 2010, building of two ponds. Not lakes, or huge water, but big enough for fish and swimming. There are several springs that run for most of the year and feed them.

The site stripped of topsoil (which was stockpiled for later use). Amazing to see these photos from just over two years ago and to walk out and see what it looks like now.

The beginning of the pond, and foreshadowing of tribulations to come in the presence of a lot of rock in the soil/clay.

The upper pond, complete! The white pipe on the right is a dry hydrant. The tall white pipe is the drain, setting the water level. The black pipe against the far slope is the pond drain. Both ponds are 12+ feet deep.

Lower pond, also complete! This pond gets the vast majority of it's water from the upper ponds drain/overflow. So if the upper pond does not fill fully, the lowers water level will be very very low.

Seed all grown in. Looking good, but the water level is a foot or so low, as the drain pipe is sticking out of the water by that amount.

Hmmmm, upper pond also low and not filling anymore. It seems the upper pond, despite water coming in was not filling. So we drained the pond. Packed clay into an area where a seam of shale had been dug through and waited a season for the pond to refill. No luck, same problem. So the last possible solution was putting a liner in the pond so it can't leak.

The drained pond awaiting the lining! Rock piles were intended to be fish habitat.

First step is to strip the old interior and start with a solid base. A shelf was also dug around the edge of the pond. The Liner will have dirt placed on it there to protect the liner in that area.

The next stage is to lay very, very heavy fabric, basically very heavy landscape cloth, to protect the rubber liner.

Next the rubber liner is placed on the fabric and then another layer of fabric placed on top of that. Lots of protection for the liner.

All lined and very pretty, feels huge when walking on the bottom. This is when things got a bit dynamic. I started wondering why one would dump dirt back into the clean pond that was intended for swimming. One of the Envinity build crew suggested googling natural pool and that type of build made a lot of sense.

Basically one creates a shallow vegetative area for plants to grow in, by pumping water through that zone the water can be filtered. We create an ecosystem that promotes clean water and with luck filters it. 

A brick and block yard a few miles down the road was shutting down, so we picked up heavy masonry fire block on super sale.

The first layer of block has mortar to adhere a top row of block onto it. In that mortar is embedded a heavy plastic mesh, that will be buried under/in pond rock to keep everything held together.

On top of that we mortared a row of rock that I gathered from around the property.

The pond gravel back-fill being placed. We discovered that the cost by the tri-axle is only slightly higher than crushed limestone as many trucks are hauling gravel north to the shall drilling area of PA and were coming back empty, so adding the pond stone as back haul kept trucking costs minimal.

Getting there!

With grass!

 The water has been quite clear, there was some algal cloudiness in mid summer, but it faded rapidly as water temps fell in the fall. It will be very interesting to see what the water clarity is like in a few years.

It was awesome swimming this summer, it did stay cool and got downright cold rapidly in the fall, but I suspect will provide many, many years of swimming and recreating.

Our last step was to add fish! We added largemouth bass, sunfish, some sort of minnow and a few catfish to both ponds. Below the fish are bagged and adjusting to the water temperature.

Bag of minnows being freed!

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