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Country Discussion Topics
To add your comments to this topic, click on one of the 'Reply' links below.

How the heck do you compact fill dirt in a deep rut on a dam?
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Mike D.    Posted 08-15-2002 at 06:44:32       [Reply]  [No Email]
O.K. here is our problem. Our pond dam has a deep narrow wash running right down through the middle of the spillway. Now we have some seepage at the base. The dam is 20' high and about 40' wide at the base.

I put some clean loose fill into the worst spot on the top near the waters edge. Then compacted it pretty good with the loader. I'd dump a bucket into the hole then run over it 20-30 times. The biggest spot is now filled better, but we will heap fill on top of the repair to help on settling.

How can I pack the fill in the narrower places?
The deepest spot is 6' deep and only 4' wide. The slope is pucker steep if you know what I mean.

Sure would like to hear from some of you on this.


Okie-Dokie    Posted 08-15-2002 at 17:26:44       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Been my experiance that the best thing to do is get yourself some damp screenings from a rock crusher and fill in the ditch, compacting it after every 4-6 inch lift. What you don't want is for moving water to have a place to get started or nothing will stop it from eroding again. After you get it filled completely in, put your self some rip rap over it. Most likely 12-18 inch rip rap will do. Good luck!


Stone would work too- but how to tamp?    Posted 08-15-2002 at 19:49:12       [Reply]  [No Email]
Thanks Okie-Dokie,
The idea of haulin stone in from the gravel pit
up county makes sense. I'd love to do that. Someone told me that you can buy yard waste cheap, is that the same thing as screenings?

I'd have the devil to pay to get a dump truck anywhere close to the dam. The loader would need to haul the stone a hundred yards or so. One truckload would probably fill what is left of the breach, but how would I compact it? Can't hand tamp it because of the slope. Any ideas? Mike D.


Hogman    Posted 08-16-2002 at 02:25:48       [Reply]  [No Email]
If it's got a lot of fines tamp it with water. Just make sure You don't warsh it out. (thats how Ozark Women clean things,by '"warshun'em")


I'll be warshun some stone.    Posted 08-16-2002 at 06:43:38       [Reply]  [No Email]
Grateful for the tip Hogman. Now I got a plan. If I can get the loader started again and rob Peter to pay Paul we'll order a big truck of stone.

Probably will cut all the trees off the dam.
Got some brush to clear first. Need to keep an eye out for them 'no shoulders'.

Have a good one- Mike D.


Spence    Posted 08-15-2002 at 14:57:59       [Reply]  [No Email]
I wouldn't use any soil. For dams you need small particle clay. Eventually it packs in water tight. I wouldn't use regular soil on a dam except to plant sod on the downhill side and then only 6in thick max.



I hear ya Spence-    Posted 08-15-2002 at 15:32:17       [Reply]  [No Email]
We don't have anything but sand/clay mix. That is what the dam was built from. It has been holding up to some tough weather in the past 80 years or so. I feel that the same material ought to work on the repair, just couldn't figure a way to make sure it got compacted good.

DeadCarp hit the nail on the head (no pun meant there DeadCarp) when he suggested getting the fill
settled with water. I'm gonna do it too.

John made a good suggestion about considering a differant spillway site. Thats got me thinking.

If there was any way of reworking the dam and making the pond bigger without disturbing the site too much I'd jump on it.

I've kept my eye on the breach in the dam for 4-5 years now. It happened during a hurricane in '85.
The same storm blew out the dam on the pond on the back of our place. That dam has not been rebuilt. It was a pushed up dam and sat on solid rock. When it washed away it left exposed rock.

I know that the current seepage is a time bomb.
Looks like I only have weekends from now until the fall to straighten it out. Can't afford any more time in the pond with the loader, thats for sure.

Thanks for the reminder about soil & dams. I should have said fill... all I'm using is clean
sand/clay mix. Dry too.
Have a good one- Mike



DeadCarp - water    Posted 08-15-2002 at 07:34:01       [Reply]  [No Email]
Sounds silly, but water is the BEST agent for compacting any kind of dirt. A floating grain of sand settles in the most compact orientation, sticks better than any other way, and once it's dry, it holds tougher. Water gotcha into trouble and it's the best way out........ :)


thanks Deadcarp-    Posted 08-15-2002 at 13:19:40       [Reply]  [No Email]
Makes good sense. I'll hook the trash pump up and soak the work I've already done. Sure appresciate the advice. We got a bad drought going. I figure now is the time to tackle the work on the dam before we get a spell of wet.

I did consider sending them 6 folks a dollar apiece from the above post. But heck, most folks I've met that got rich quick were ruined by it. Can't have that on my conscience.

Mike D.


john    Posted 08-15-2002 at 07:18:55       [Reply]  [No Email]
I would try and add enough dirt to the dam to move the overflow to the side of the pond


Mike D.    Posted 08-15-2002 at 13:35:58       [Reply]  [No Email]
Thanks for the idea John. Wouldn't hurt to raise the dam a bit more. It was built in the early 20's and doesn't have a pipe on it. The whole pond is now surrounded with mature hardwoods. We'd lose some of them if we decide to change the spillway location. But it is worth taking another hard look at it. I appreciate your comment.


Ms. D    Posted 08-15-2002 at 20:29:50       [Reply]  [Send Email]
My hubby and I had that problem at our family farm. Finally we got it fixed after paying someone a lot of $'s...but you need to figure out the cause of it beginning to leak. Our problem was trees growing on the dam. We were told to not let trees grow on the dam because in drought conditions the roots grow toward the water behind the dam and that is what loosens the clay to let the water begin to seep through once the dam starts filling back up. And there is no little Dutch boy standing around to plug it up! Ha! Ha!

Sooooooooooo, cut down any trees on that dam. My hubby still has to cut down a lot of Cedar trees growing there...but he says he can do it with his chain saw and get cedar posts for his new fence he wants to put around a new garden next spring. He's a glutton for punishment! He'll have no help from me!

Good luck!


Makes good sense.    Posted 08-15-2002 at 21:34:59       [Reply]  [No Email]
From the way the weather is going, trees are more renewable than water now.
Thank you for sharing your experience with your dam. Makes a big difference to be able to look at this thing with some solid advice behind me.


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