How to Seal Ponds With Soda Ash
Constructing a pond can be as simple as digging a ditch or hole in your landscape, and as complicated as adding lining, sealant and wildlife. While ponds may serve some people as attractive backyard emplacements, for farmers and other land workers a pond can be a valuable resource for irrigation, raising animals and other tasks. A leaking pond can result in ruined soil, lost water and other troubles. One way to seal a pond that is leaking through loose or permeable soil is to mix in soda ash; this chemical, also called sodium carbonate, serves as a dispersant, can change soil texture, making your pond more secure.
Drain the pond completely of water. Pump the water out of the lake; make sure to dispose of the water in a safe place where it will not damage or flood structures such as houses or gardens.
Measure the depth of your pond. For best results, dispersants should be applied every six inches into the soil; this should include the soil directly under your pond. You will need to excavate to add soda ash deep enough to affect the whole pond.
Till the soil up to 6 inches below your pond; till to this same level all the way around your pond. If possible, amending all soil in your garden or yard can help to prevent soil shifting and other problems; if you have too much land for this, till and amend the soil up to 100 square feet in all directions from your pond.
Add soda ash at a rate of 10 pounds per 100 square feet of your yard at the lowest depth you dug. Till the soil thoroughly to mix in the soda ash with the soil. After you complete one section, go over it again, tilling in a direction perpendicular to your original till, to ensure that the soda ash is fully incorporated. Repeat application every six inches until you reach the surface, tilling to incorporate the soda ash into the soil.
Compact the soil with a roller with rubber tires or a sheepsfoot roller. These rollers will press the soil in on itself, compressing the soda ash into the soil and crushing away any air pockets or holes left by the tilling, through which water could leak. Compact the entire area that you amended.
- Soda ash will not effectively seal all types of soil; in many cases, you must perform a soil test to determine what type of soil you have. Contact experts at local garden centers, nurseries or extension services for assistance with soil testing, as well as for products and equipment to seal your pond.
- If you have a large amount of land, you may need larger equipment than everyday yard tillers or shovels to dig and till enough soil for proper amendments. Find tools at garden centers, nurseries and hardware or home improvement stores.
Samantha Volz has been involved in journalistic and informative writing for over eight years. She holds a bachelor's degree in English literature from Lycoming College, Williamsport, Pennsylvania, with a minor in European history. In college she was editor-in-chief of the student newspaper and completed a professional internship with the "Williamsport Sun-Gazette," serving as a full-time reporter. She resides in Horsham, Pennsylvania.
- pond image by adelacuesta from Fotolia.com