Pond Sealing Products for Clay Seepage

Written by will gish
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Pond Sealing Products for Clay Seepage
Clay seepage affects golf course waterways, man-made lakes, home garden ponds and more. (Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Clay is a moist, porous soil found lining the banks and beds of bodies of water. In natural settings, such as rivers, streams, lakes, ponds and oceans, the clay has settled in such a way as to be in harmony with the water. However, many man-made water features suffer clay seepage problems; because the clay has not adjusted over millennia to the flow or presence of water, it simply absorbs it. Luckily, products exist to seal such clay against seepage.


Environmental Soil Sealants, or ESS, are complex scientific products designed to exploit certain electrical properties of clay and other soils at the molecular level to effectively inhibit seepage. Simply described, ESS-13 is designed to modify the alignment of clay molecules surrounding ponds and other bodies of water such that the clay is no longer porous and has poor drainage ability. ESS-13 is a heavy-duty product sold in barrels and must be well mixed before it is released into water.

Sodium Bentonite

Sodium bentonite is a geosynthetic compound formed by mixing bentonite, a mineral found in western states, with sodium. The resultant substance is a type of clay that is malleable when dry. When it comes into contact with water, sodium bentonite swells to 10 to 12 times its original size and becomes impermeable. As a pond sealant, it is applied to empty beds in its dry state. When water is added to the pond, the compound thickens and seals the area to prevent seepage. The United States Environmental Protection Agency uses sodium bentonite to seal all landfills to prevent the seepage of toxins.


Concrete, plastic, wood and other materials are commonly used to form the outline of ponds. However, because concrete is porous, wood is weakened by water and plastic is given to rupturing, such materials can leak. When they leak, clay absorbs water that sneaks from the pond. A handful of glazes are available to coat pond liners to prevent such seepage. Epoxy pond sealant is a product purported to have higher bond strength than concrete. It can be applied to concrete, cement, stone, tile, wood, steel, aluminium, plastics, fibreglass and more to prevent leaking and seepage. G4 Pond Sealer is a product manufactured by Kettering Koi & Ponds. It is a polyurethane glaze used to seal concrete ponds to prevent seepage.

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