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Country Discussion Topics
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Making a dam or dug out on rocky hilly ground for holding water?
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Canadian Cowboy    Posted 05-25-2001 at 18:57:15       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I need some expert advice on making a dug out or dam, im expecting a drought this summer and want to be prepaired.

are there any web sites detailing this sorta stuff,

All I acan think up so far it to find a V shaped gully, using the blade of my cat, level the dirt and dig it deeper, pack the sides. At the low open end build a retaining wall out of logs, then lining the whole gully aand retaing wall with several layers of tarps. The only thing I havent figuerd out is how im going to get the water out, I know how its comming in, im piping it in via a dam from a water source, a creek that dries up by august, and pipeing water a few feet 50-100 ft into the high end of the gully.

To get the water out, I don't know thats the confusing part, I was thinking of having a with some sort of inlet sitting in the bottom of the gully and going out the bottom of the log retaining wall, so how do i go about making an out let that I can join tarp to and won't let the water drain out around it??????????????

This is got me stumped, aside from find a large old fuel tank and going that route this is my only option, plus i don't feel like drinking fuel in my water.

Any idea's ???


Canadian Cowboy    Posted 05-29-2001 at 08:31:30       [Reply]  [Send Email]
thanxs for the responses, ive got a few more idea's now, and i mthinking im just better off to track down an old fuel tank something with a few thousand gallan capacity,

are there any prefered brands of industrial cleaners I could use on a tank to clean all the fuel out of it?


tomatolord    Posted 05-29-2001 at 06:33:39       [Reply]  [Send Email]
You can check with your local state water guys, they usually can help with people who want to build ponds or dams.

Note: Dams over a certain height need a permit to build, since they can cause destruction down stream if they fail...

You will not find many places on the web about building a dam for the reason you generally need a permit to build one, so it is hard to lay out the plans for one based on local zoning laws.

do a search for permalon that is the stuff you use to build a pond with - do not use epdm, its too expensive anyway I would stay away from the wood stuff it rots much too quickly, why do you think beavers are always so busy?

But basically

You need a wide base
a way to control the outflow of the water on a regular basis
A way to control the overflow AWAY from the dam itself, if the water goes over the top it erodes the base away and away goes your dam

Most people dont have an outlet at the bottom of the pond. Imagine a L shaped tube or box. The top of the L is below the dam by 3 feet or so and the bottom of the L goes out the dam. When the water gets high enough it flows into the pipe and then flows out through the dam. You do not join the the permalon to it you simply allow the weight of the dam to retain the water and to apply pressure around the pipe so it does not leak.

The overflow should be away from the dam and below the dam top but above the pipe and should be well grassed over, dirt will erode away in a large storm

To get the water from 1 place to another put in a small windmill, that will pump the water on a regular basis from one site to another. Then between rains and the pumping you should be okay.

they make solar powered pumps now but they are pretty expensive.

Lastly - you might want to talk to a civil engineer to help you design the dam/pond...


Spence    Posted 05-26-2001 at 05:28:35       [Reply]  [No Email]
Harrowsmith's back issue ISBN 0-920656-10-2
has a good article on dams.

The diagram I'm looking at is an edge view of the dam and is formed like a triangle. The angle
of the pond side is gradual, and downhill it's
steeper. Dead center, before the soil is built up you'll have to dig a core trench of impervious material well compacted and built up to 1/3 the height of the final pyramid, sort of like a wall. Layer this stuff well compacted to almost 1/2 height of the dam. When you start to build up the actual dam, and you reach the top of this core buildup, you'll continue the layer of compacted material right across the width of the dam. In proportion, it looks to be 8in thick or so.

As you start building up the pyramid, about
a foot of height, there's an 8 inch drain pipe that goes straight through the dam to the other side and spills out on rocks. The pipe goes through the core trench material. There's a anti seepage collar around the pipe 1/8 of the way in on the pond side and the same on the other side as well.
Just after the pond side seepage collar there's a T connection of the same pipe that goes vertical, and that's your spillway with a trash screen. The pond side pipe is plugged.

You'll need an emergency channel spillway
that is at the water level you want. It is a
trench that is in a semi-circle from the pond side
to the spillway side. Place stones on the bottom
of this.

The best soil I heard for water retention, although the worst for working with is fine clay.

Instead of the tarps(cotton) you suggest, I would use heavy mill industrial plastic, protected on each side by sifted soil to take out sharp rocks. I'd bury this stuff deep in the dam and go
right across in one piece if possible. I'm pretty
sure you can get it one piece. You can form 6 inch seams, and simply make several folds as joints. Hold the seams down with soil as you lay down the layers.

I'd also face the pond side with bank gravel
then 3in sized gravel for protection.

Getting sort of carried away here, my 2 cents anyway.


Doc    Posted 05-25-2001 at 20:11:56       [Reply]  [No Email]
Might try lining the pond with 1/2 inch sheetrock. An inexpensive way to stop any leakage. Doc


Franz    Posted 05-25-2001 at 22:17:02       [Reply]  [Send Email]
The stuff you want to line it with is called Sodium Bentonate. Do a Google search for that, and you can learn plenty about ponds and lining them.
As far as a holding tank, there are several military surplus dealers selling the collapsable bladders fairly cheap. Try Colemans, I think he has some.


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