Friday, September 18, 2009

Waterfall Leak – Part 2 – The Repair

In order to repair our broken waterfall seal, we had some more disassembling to do. We took off a few layers of rocks directly below the spillway. This gave us access to the screws, or I should say what was left of them, that held the pond liner in place. The liner was sandwiched between the waterfall container and the molded, heavy black plastic spillway piece. Most of the screws, as well as about half of the metal sleeves that they screwed into, had corroded over the years. Once we managed to free all of the pieces, we were able to tell that the root came from the tree at the base of the berm and not the rosemary at the top of the berm as I had initially surmised.

We clipped the root and had to remove the bags of lava rock from the waterfall container to get it all out. This prompted some needed maintenance, as much sludge had accumulated in the container over the years. We hosed off the three mesh bags full of lava rocks and the three large fiber filters at the bottom of the container. That wasn’t the end of the sludge however. Luckily we have a wonderful Oase pond vacuum that we used to remove the rest of it along with hundreds of empty pond snail shells.

In order to remove as much tree root as possible, so that this problem didn’t come right back, we moved the three large boulders to the right of the waterfall and the small rocks that rested on them. I dug back as far as I dared in the clay of the berm and clipped the offending root. Now we were finished disassembling and could begin the process of reassembling. I started by compacting the clay back into the hole in the berm that I had created when removing the tree root.

Other than the lava rock bags being heavy, putting the filter system back together in the waterfall was easy. Next we had to figure out how to put everything back together at the spillway to create a good watertight seal. My husband found stainless steel bolts that would screw into the remaining sleeves or fasten with a nut in the holes where the sleeves had disintegrated. Just the compression provided by these screws would not have been enough however. After one false start to create a watertight seal we got the help we needed from Whiz Q Stone, a local stone yard and pond and landscape supply.

From Whiz Q Stone, I bought the seam tape, seam cover tape and primer from Aquascape Designs that I needed to create a watertight seal between the plastic waterfall pieces and the heavy EPDM pond liner. The primer causes the surfaces that you put it on to meld into each other to create a watertight seal. It worked like a charm. If you take on a project like this, make sure you read the label and take appropriate precautions when using these products.

Next, the rocks had to be put back. They never go back exactly like they were before. Part of this is because heavy puzzle pieces are difficult to manipulate and also because there is more than one solution to the puzzle. I filled large voids with black waterfall foam that is available even at your local hardware store.

Almost done now, I just needed to add some water and water conditioner before turning on the pump. Everything worked perfectly and better yet, after several hours there were no wet spots in the garden or bubbles under the liner.


  1. Congratulations on getting your pond and waterfall back into working order.

  2. wow thats sounds complicated. the end results is so incredibly natural. it reminds me of the long walks in the woods back home in PA. all the hidden little waterfalls we would discover. they looked very much like yours. :)

  3. Thanks. Luckily we found the water leak fairly easily and while it was time consuming and we had to be careful moving the big rocks around, my husband and I were very pleased with the result. I'm happy to say that we still are 7 months later.

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