How to find a pond leak

Written by jan goldfield
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Finding a liner leak can be one of the most frustrating jobs on earth. The liner is black, usually dirty and wrinkled. The leak should be right at the water line because water can't leak out below that, though not necessarily. In low-lying coastal areas, the water table is only inches below the ground. Often there can be a hole in the bottom of the liner, but groundwater pushes the bottom of the liner. A leak could well be on the bottom and groundwater is seeping into the pond.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Sharp eyes
  • • Patience
  • • Milk
  • • Fine sand
  • • Hair dryer

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  1. 1

    Pour some milk in the pond. If the water is leaking fast, the milk will make a trail to the leak. But if the water is leaking that fast, you have a huge tear and you can probably see it.

  2. 2

    Pour some fine sand in the water. The sand will follow the water to the leak, but as above, if the tear is that big, you should need no help finding it.

  3. 3

    As a last resort, pump out the pond water. Remove all fish, plants, pots and lights Using a Wet-Vac, vacuum the bottom to be sure all the fish waste, leaves, and other organic matter are gone. Rinse and vacuum again. Make sure the bottom is dry even if you have to wait several hours or use a hair dryer to dry it. When you are positive it is dry, put a garden hose under the liner and turn on the water. Watch the liner carefully. Soon you should be able to see water coming up from underneath. You have found your leak.

Tips and warnings

  • EPDM liners rarely have leaks. Always check the back and sides of the waterfall first. Check hoses, wires and skimmers.
  • Always fill the pond and turn off all pumps before you assume a liner leak. Watch the water level overnight. If it remains the same, your liner is fine. Then you must check hoses, the waterfall and any other places water could be escaping.
  • Always be careful with water around electricity. Use a GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) as an outlet.

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