Pondless waterfall with leaking problem


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Old 07-21-10, 08:35 AM
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Question Pondless waterfall with leaking problem

My dad recently built a pondless waterfall. He used the small natural cliff formation in our backyard for the falls. The problem is that we are losing water and are not quite sure why this is happening. Just wondering if anyone has any suggestions or ideas as to where we might be losing water from?

Here are some details and experiments we have tried to figure out where there might be a leak.
- We determined that it is loosing 23 Liters of water per hour with the pump running.
- It doesn't loose any water with the pump off, so we know it is not the pond liner. It didn't loose any at all after we completely filled it up the other day and left it for a day.
- We know for sure it is not the top, concrete part of the stream as that is where we currently have a liner covering the concrete.
- We also had the liner on the lower portion of the stream and covering the waterfall area. This steered the water right to the area of the pump and we still lost 23 ltrs. per hour.
- We covered the cliff formation and surrounding area with a liner to make sure we were not losing water through cracks in the rocks.
- There are no holes in the hose
- There is a bit of splashing but 23 ltrs. per hour is a lot for a bit of splashing.

Here are some photos:
http://img231.imageshack.us/img231/8700/img0070tx.jpg
http://img8.imageshack.us/img8/4954/img0071yx.jpg

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks!
 

Last edited by Justwondering; 07-21-10 at 08:47 AM. Reason: Added Photo Link
  #2  
Old 07-21-10, 08:47 AM
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Hello Justwondering,

Of the various experiments tried, I donít see any related to validating the flow rate of the pump now vs. at installation . . . something could be restricting it. You mention there are no visible holes in the hose . . . but there could be something clogging the hose.
 
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Old 07-21-10, 11:35 AM
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Hello Rob,

Thanks for the suggestion. You are right, we did not validate the flow rate of the pump. How would a clog in the hose cause water loss? Wouldn't it just slow the rate of the waterfall, as it would take longer for the water to pump through the hose?
 
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Old 07-22-10, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Justwondering View Post
Hello Rob,

Thanks for the suggestion. You are right, we did not validate the flow rate of the pump. How would a clog in the hose cause water loss? Wouldn't it just slow the rate of the waterfall, as it would take longer for the water to pump through the hose?
Could the hose be squished by one of those rocks?
 
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Old 07-23-10, 09:28 AM
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I don't think a rock could be squishing the hose. In the picture you see a yellow cover, that is the cover to the box the pump is in. The black part you see is the start of the hose and it runs under the deck and up a hill and to the top. The hose is not actually under the rocks at all.
Good thought though. Thanks.
 
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Old 07-28-10, 03:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Justwondering View Post
Here are some details and experiments we have tried to figure out where there might be a leak.
- We determined that it is loosing 23 Liters of water per hour with the pump running.
- It doesn't loose any water with the pump off, so we know it is not the pond liner. It didn't loose any at all after we completely filled it up the other day and left it for a day.
- We know for sure it is not the top, concrete part of the stream as that is where we currently have a liner covering the concrete.
- We also had the liner on the lower portion of the stream and covering the waterfall area. This steered the water right to the area of the pump and we still lost 23 ltrs. per hour.
- We covered the cliff formation and surrounding area with a liner to make sure we were not losing water through cracks in the rocks.
- There are no holes in the hose
- There is a bit of splashing but 23 ltrs. per hour is a lot for a bit of splashing.
You must have missed something. 23 liters per hour is alot of water! A leak like that would be very obvious if it were in your hose, so if you have eliminated that, you move on to the flow area.

It sounds like you did a good job of using liner to reduce exposure over the rocks. But it still lost water?

Have you tried covering the entire flow area simultaneously with liner to see if water loss stops? A cheaper way may be to use a length of hose connected to the outlet at the top that runs all the way to the reservoir. If no water loss then, you know for sure it's the flow area over the rocks.

I'm not familiar with the rock wall you have. Is it very porous? Can there be large enough cracks to divert flow into porous soil? Do you see water pooling anywhere outside the reservoir liner? Is the soil around the rock porous or firm with clay?

I know. It's just more questions and not much help. Sorry.

One last thing: Did your father seal the liner to the rock wall at the bottom of the waterfall? Or did he just butt it up against the rock wall? Water could be going between the rock wall and the liner of the reservoir.
 
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Old 08-02-10, 06:44 PM
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I agree SeekingParadise- that is a lot of water to be losing. Something is up!

It did still lose water when we used the liner to reduce exposure over the rocks.

I really like the idea of the hose connected to the outlet at the top that runs all the way to the reservoir. We will try that this week.
However, if it turns out we are STILL losing water after that test we will be completely stumped.

There are some cracks in the natural rock face and we didn't think they seemed that big or deep, but it might be deceiving. We plan to find a clear sealer to fill the cracks with to see if it helps with the water loss. There does not appear to be any water pooling anywhere outside the reservoir liner.

My dad did seal the liner to the rock wall at the bottom of the waterfall. Good thought though!

Thank very much for all your suggestions!
 
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Old 08-03-10, 06:13 AM
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Water Fall

I suspect there are cracks or porous soil in the natural formation. An underlying crack could allow the water to flow deep into the ground without any visible signs on the surface. Most water features of this type have a continuous liner from top to bottom.
 
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Old 08-04-10, 03:07 PM
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Yeah, we determined that we are most likely losing water through the cracks so we plan to seal them and hope that makes a difference.
We do not want to use a continuous liner from top to bottom as it would take away from the natural beauty and the inspiration for creating the waterfall. The natural rock face just makes it that much better...and it sounds great!
 
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Old 08-05-10, 07:09 AM
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Creek

When a creek is constructed from scratch, the liner is covered with rocks and is completely hidden.
 
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Old 08-06-10, 09:54 PM
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I think with the way our stream and waterfall is constructed you would see the liner near the waterfall part as it not completely covered with rocks.
Thanks though.
 
 

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