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The Resilience Hub & Portland Maine Permaculture Message Board › Lining small ponds with granite dust

Lining small ponds with granite dust

Tyler O.
Greenbush, ME
Post #: 69
Ben Falk has some ponds that are naturally lined with the native clay soil that has been puddled in, and the pond next to his studio has a PVC, or polyethylene lining I believe (In one of his presentation videos online he states that this pond has a plastic lining, and I believe he is referring to PVC or Polyethylene , EPDM rubber is easier to work with because it is more flexible, and more durable and typically considered the safest for aquatic life but it is more expensive than PVC or polyethylene). Cheeper PVC materials can off gas dioxin when they heat up in the sun, and is toxic to all animal life. According to Sepp Holzer you can seal just about any soil naturally by using an excavator to to separate the native soil into smaller and larger particle sizes. To achieve this drop the material from the excavator bucket as high as possible into the pile which makes the larger material fall to the outside and keeps the finer material to the inside of the pile. Then after the pond has been excavated the larger material is used to shape the pond then finer material is spread over the entire pond and compacted by one or more methods involving vibration (via roller or by a vibrating excavator bucket), pounded by the bucket of the excavator, and driven over by the machine. During compaction a small amount of water is let into the excavated pond and helps create a slurry that seals the pond, this technique is sometimes referred to as "puddling in" the pond. Natural linings are always better but if you want complete capture and retention of water then a liner might be a good choice especially in areas with very loose soils that are resistant to compaction or for areas that would be difficult to access with heavy machinery.

Ben Falk used his 8500 lb mini excavator to create the rice paddies at WSRF. They are naturally lined. The paddies were puddled in and compacted by pounding the bucket of the excavator into the bottom and sides of the paddies. The paddies are designed with level bottoms for even flooding. Filled with 3/4" hdpe irrigation pipe from the upper fertigation pond and act as storm retention basins for for some of the overflow that makes its way from the driveway. They have small earthen dams constructed on their spillways that can be easily removed or replaced with a shovel and control the level of water in the paddies.

If I use some of the granite dust it will be mixed with some of the clay rich soil I have located lower on our property.
I will try the bucket test with just the granite dust soon.

If the pit is operational and has sold material, typically a testing report can be aquired from the company operating the pit

A former member
Post #: 4
Thanks for all the information Tyler!
If only I had an excavator... I'll look into renting one this summer since my brother knows how to run one. smile
Svea T.
user 69906312
Liberty, ME
Post #: 1
Hi -

I would also think about radon in the granite dust. I haven't done any research, but the common knowledge is that granite is a source of radon. Radon can be found in air and water. I've felt okay about using the granite dust on the ground outside, but I would want to learn more about it before I put it into a pond, depending on the use of the pond. Radon is extremely common in Maine - many of our houses have some level of radon in the air due to the connection of the house to the ground.

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