Troubleshooting Leaks in Your Pond/Pondless Waterfall

Does your pond actually have a leak?

You may not realize how much water can evaporate from a pond during the dog days of summer.

The midwestern states typically lose 1 to 1 1/2 inches of water each week. In Arizona for example, it is reported that evaporation rates are in excess of 3 inch a week.

These are averages. Some ponds may not experience evaporation levels this high, while other ponds with large pumps pushing high volumes of water or ponds with multiple waterfalls and lots of cascades and splashing on rocks, have higher evaporation rates.  The larger the pump gph the more water you can lose.

Do not try to investigate a leak if the ground is wet from a rainfall.

1. The most common leak is one that is created from low edges. Here’s a little secret,99% of all leaks are not due to a hole in the liner. Settling at the pond’s edge is the most frequent cause especially in new ponds. Look around the stream and waterfall for areas that have settled. Look for wet mulch or wet gravel along the edge.

How to fix a low edge?

Simply build back up by backfilling and compacting the soil beneath the liner. Thus raising the edge of the liner above the water level.

2. Look for obstructions in the stream and waterfalls. If you have adjusted some of the rocks to improve the look you may have caused some of the water to be diverted over the liner. Also look for excessive plant or algae growth in the stream allowing water to make it over the edge. If you use Hyacinth in the biological filter, remove some occasionally as the volume of plants raises the water level and will allow some water to leak over the back or side edge of the BioFalls.

3. Can’t find the leak yet?

Shut down the pump and leave it for 12 or more hours. After 12 hours check to see if the water level has dropped. We recommend you use a small aerator to provide oxygen to the fish.

If it has dropped, you now know the leak is in the pond. If it remains the same, it is in the stream or waterfall.  Read on..

If the leak is in the pond.

Leave the pump off and wait until the water level stops dropping. This could take several days. This will determine the height of the leak. If the water level stopped below the bottom of the skimmer face plate, you can rule out the skimmer and concentrate elsewhere. If the water level is above the bottom of the face plate, you should investigate the skimmer. It may have not been sealed properly or if sytem is over 5 years old, it may be time to reseal the skimmer to the liner. But don’t tear apart the skimmer face plate yet.

If the Leak is in the Skimmer.
At this point you may want to call the contractor who installed the pond. However, if you are brave enough to search further, then read on.

Investigate the skimmer face plate without disassembling it. Simple move a few rocks around the front of the skimmer and slide you hand behind the liner. Feel for wet soil around the opening of the skimmer.

If it is dry, it is most likely not the skimmer.

–If the soil is saturated, then the face plate may NOT have been installed properly and might be the source of the leak.

–Remove the face plate, clean all of the old silicone off the liner with a plastic scrubber and refer back to the instructional manual on proper procedures for sealing the skimmer face plate to the skimmer. Use Black Silicone to seal the skimmer to the liner.

If it’s not the Skimmer.

Investigate the liner for small punctures around the perimeter of the pond where the water level has stopped.
The only way to find this type of leak is to move rocks and gravel and search by hand and eye. If the leak is found, you can fix it using the Patch Tape.

Is the leak in the Biofalls or Waterfall?

If your water level did not drop over the past 12 hours, this immediately tells you that the pond is not the source of the leak.

First, turn the pump back on and get the water flowing.
Double check that all the edges are high, and any stream liner overlaps into the pond properly. Or if you had installed with liner seams, check this area out.

Check the seal on the lip of the Biofalls. Again, simply move a few rocks and dirt if necessary to allow your hand to slide behind the liner. Feel for wet soil.

If it is dry, it is most likely not the Biofall seal to the liner.

If it is saturated, or you feel water leaking, then the lip needs to be resealed.

Cause of leaks at the Biofall seal.
1. Seal was done incorrectly or the liner was stretched or pulled too tight while setting rocks for the waterfalls. Also, after 5 years, it is possible your seal has deteriorated and needs to be taken apart and resealed.

2. Always make sure you allow some extra liner along the front of the Biofalls to prevent stress on the Biofall seal.

If necessary, reseal the Biofalls by removing the lip. Clean all of the old silicone and waterfall foam off the liner and refer back to the manual as to the proper procedure for sealing.

Still can’t find the leak!

Investigate the rest of the stream and waterfall. At this point, you should be looking for a hole in the liner.

If you have a long stream, you can divert the water using a hose and begin running water from the hose down the course 5 feet from the pond. Watch the water level, if level has not dropped then move the hose 5 feet more up the course. And you do this until you see a drop and can isolate the leak to a specified 5 foot area.

Still can’t find the leak, are you sure it was not evaporation. Just kidding, of course. It may be time to call that contractor.

Hope you find that leak!!!

13 replies
    • Michelle
      Michelle says:

      Good morning!

      Thank you for contacting! You might want to check the fittings and clamps to make sure they are secure if you have water coming from the pump. Also check to make sure the pipes are not busted.


  1. Martina King
    Martina King says:

    Maybe I didn’t explain well enough sorry for that. The top of the control panel of the aquascape when you turn the pump on water comes out of the top of the aquascape.

    • Michelle
      Michelle says:

      Good morning!

      If you would, give us a call at 877-780-1174 and we can discuss the issue you are having.


  2. Belkis
    Belkis says:

    I can not find the leak yet! Is well below the top, I found a few and patch it , but just when I think is done and put some water where I patch it, the water goes out in a matter of an hour, is not all the way down because it stops right at the center of the hole of the deep end, I found another little hole and patch that too and keep patching where the biggest hole is but I still have no luck finding the leak, I have inspected over and over and can not seen to find anything else!!! I am out of ideas and I really love my pond!!!
    Please help

    • jkdavis
      jkdavis says:

      I understand your frustration, and it can indeed be challenging to locate and fix a persistent leak in a pond. Here are some additional steps and tips that may help you identify and address the leak:

      Check the Water Level: Before searching for the leak again, make sure the water level is stable. Sometimes, water levels can fluctuate naturally due to evaporation and other factors, which might make it seem like there’s a leak when there isn’t.

      Use a Pond Dye: Consider using a pond dye or a non-toxic food coloring to help trace the source of the leak. Pour a significant amount of dye near the suspected leak area and observe how it moves in the water. Follow the direction of the dye to find where it’s being pulled into the leak.

      Inspect the Liner Thoroughly: Carefully inspect the entire pond liner, especially the area around the suspected leak. Look for any tiny punctures, tears, or holes. Run your hands gently along the liner to feel for any irregularities.

      Test Different Areas: If you haven’t already, test other areas of the pond, not just the deepest part. Sometimes, leaks can occur in unexpected places. Gradually work your way up from the deepest part while monitoring for water loss.

      Turn off the Pump: To rule out the possibility of the pump or plumbing causing the issue, turn off the pump and monitor the water level. If the water continues to drop even with the pump off, the issue is likely in the liner.

      Inspect Water Features: If your pond has water features like waterfalls, streams, or fountains, thoroughly inspect the plumbing and connections in these areas. Leaks can occur at these points as well.

      Consider Temperature Changes: Temperature fluctuations can sometimes cause liner materials to contract and expand, leading to leaks. If you live in an area with significant temperature changes, keep this in mind during your search.

      Patch Thoroughly: When you do find the leak, make sure you’re patching it thoroughly using a high-quality pond liner patch kit or sealant designed for underwater use. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

      Remember that patience and persistence are key when dealing with pond leaks. Continue to monitor the situation and be methodical in your search. With some determination and possibly professional assistance, you should be able to locate and repair the leak in your beloved pond.

    • jkdavis
      jkdavis says:

      When you turn on your pondless fountain and observe rolling bubbles inside the vault, there could be a few potential reasons for this phenomenon. Here are some common causes and troubleshooting steps to consider:

      Air Entrapment: Rolling bubbles inside the vault could indicate that air is getting trapped in the plumbing or around the pump. Air pockets in the system can disrupt the flow of water. To address this, you can try the following:
      Ensure that the pump is fully submerged in water. A partially submerged pump can suck in air.
      Check all connections and tubing for air leaks or loose fittings. Tighten any connections as needed.
      Prime the pump if required, as some pumps may lose prime over time. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for priming.

      Water Level: Low water levels in the basin or reservoir can cause turbulence and air to be drawn into the system. Make sure the water level in the basin is at the appropriate level to adequately cover the pump inlet.

      Pump Size: Ensure that the pump you’re using is appropriately sized for your pondless fountain. An oversized pump can create excessive turbulence and bubbling.

      Plumbing Issues: Check for any obstructions, kinks, or restrictions in the tubing leading from the pump to the fountain. Clear any debris or obstructions that may be causing turbulence.

      Water Flow Adjustment: Adjust the flow rate of the pump if it’s adjustable. Reducing the flow rate can sometimes help reduce turbulence and bubbling.

      Pump Position: Verify that the pump is positioned correctly in the vault. It should be stable and secure in its location to minimize vibrations and air intake.

      Water Quality: Poor water quality, such as high levels of dissolved gases, can contribute to excessive bubbling. Consider testing and improving the water quality in your basin.

      Pump Maintenance: Regularly clean and maintain your pump as per the manufacturer’s recommendations. A dirty or clogged pump can disrupt water flow and create bubbles.

      Consult a Professional: If you’ve tried the above steps and are still experiencing rolling bubbles or other issues, it may be a good idea to consult with a professional pond or fountain technician. They can assess your specific setup and provide tailored solutions.

      By addressing these potential causes, you should be able to reduce or eliminate the rolling bubbles inside your vault and achieve a smoother, more aesthetically pleasing water flow in your pondless fountain.

  3. David
    David says:

    Hi, I’ve noticed that my pond has to leaks, one that was a crack in the filtration box that I fixed, but there is another one in my waterfall that I can’t find because it’s very tropical near the edges of the pond and I can’t get in a good position to find the leak, but I ha e an idea that it’s on the lowest shelf of the pond waterfall, can you please tell me what to do????!!

    • jkdavis
      jkdavis says:

      I understand your concern about locating and fixing the leak in your pond waterfall. If you suspect that the leak is on the lowest shelf of the pond waterfall but can’t access it easily due to dense vegetation or other obstacles, you can try the following steps to address the issue:

      Clear the Area: Before attempting to locate and fix the leak, clear the area around the waterfall as much as possible. Remove any plants, rocks, or debris that may be obstructing your access to the suspected leak site. This will give you a better view of the problem area.

      Inspect the Waterfall: With the area around the waterfall cleared, carefully examine the lowest shelf of the waterfall. Look for any visible cracks, gaps, or holes in the liner or structure. Leaks often occur at seams, joints, or where the liner is compromised.

      Dye Test: If you can’t visually identify the leak, perform a dye test. This involves adding a non-toxic food coloring or pond dye near the suspected leak site. Watch the water closely to see if the dye gets pulled into the leak. The color will help you pinpoint the location of the leak.

      Feel for Wet Spots: Run your hands along the suspected area to feel for wet or damp spots. Sometimes, you can detect moisture even if you can’t see the actual leak.

      Repair the Leak: Once you’ve identified the location of the leak, you can proceed to repair it. The method of repair will depend on the nature of the damage. For small cracks or holes, you can use a pond liner patch kit or sealant designed for use in water features. For larger or more complex issues, you may need to consider professional assistance.

      Consider Professional Help: If the leak is extensive, or if you’re unsure about how to proceed with the repair, it may be a good idea to consult a professional pond contractor or repair specialist. They have the experience and equipment to address more significant issues.

      Preventative Measures: Once the leak is repaired, consider installing a pond liner underlay or protective padding on the shelves of your waterfall to prevent future damage. This can help extend the life of your pond liner and reduce the risk of leaks.

      Remember that locating and fixing a leak can sometimes be a challenging process, especially in densely landscaped areas. Take your time, be patient, and carefully inspect the entire waterfall structure to ensure that you address the issue comprehensively. Proper maintenance and regular inspections can help prevent future leaks in your pond.

  4. Sonia Williams
    Sonia Williams says:

    My biofall resevior “very large” has settled to one side so that water is leaking out the back corner. How do I relevel it?

    • jkdavis
      jkdavis says:

      Releveling a biofall reservoir that has settled to one side is important to ensure proper water flow and prevent leakage. Here are the steps you can follow to relevel it:

      Empty the Reservoir: First, turn off the pump and disconnect any hoses or plumbing connected to the biofall reservoir. Allow the water to drain completely from the reservoir.

      Remove Any Rocks or Gravel: If there are rocks, gravel, or other decorative elements in the biofall reservoir, remove them. You’ll want to access the bottom of the reservoir to make adjustments.

      Inspect the Base: Examine the base or foundation on which the biofall reservoir sits. If the base is unstable or uneven, you may need to address this issue first. Ensure that the ground or base is level and firm.

      Lift and Adjust the Reservoir: With the help of a few people, carefully lift the biofall reservoir. Try to lift it evenly to avoid any further damage. Place a level on top of the reservoir to determine which side is lower or uneven.

      Shim as Needed: To level the biofall reservoir, use shims or small pieces of wood under the low side. Start by placing the shims near the corners or edges of the reservoir that are lower. Continue adding shims until the reservoir is level. Use the level to check your progress regularly.

      Recheck the Level: After adding shims, recheck the level to ensure that it’s perfectly level. Make any necessary adjustments by adding or removing shims until it’s level in all directions.

      Secure the Reservoir: Once the biofall reservoir is level, secure it in place by placing any rocks or gravel you removed earlier back around the edges. Make sure it’s stable and won’t shift.

      Reconnect Plumbing: Reconnect any hoses or plumbing that were disconnected earlier, ensuring that they are properly sealed and watertight.

      Turn On the Pump: Turn on the pump and check for any leaks or irregular water flow. Make sure the water flows evenly across the biofall spillway.

      Monitor and Adjust: Keep an eye on the biofall reservoir over the next few days to ensure it remains level. If you notice any settling or unevenness, you may need to make additional adjustments.

      By following these steps, you should be able to relevel your biofall reservoir and prevent water from leaking out of the back corner. Proper leveling is crucial for the efficient operation of your water feature and maintaining its overall aesthetics.

  5. Latoya Saum
    Latoya Saum says:

    What a good pond liner repair blog. Finding a leakage hole is quite a task to deal with. Sometimes, it requires many days and sometimes you may find it on your first try. After finding the leakage, all you need to be concerned about is “how to fix it for a long time” I can recommend a pond liner that can seal all the gaps for longer than other adhesive tapes and liner patches. PondPro2000 is a butyl liquid rubber liner that can also be used for fixing leakage and maintenance issues not like other pond liners. It’s highly recommended for fixing the leakage issues with existing EPDM membranes, acrylics, fiberglass, concrete, reflecting fountains, concrete ponds, concrete pools, and TPO as it’s compatible with all these and can last three times longer than other adhesive tapes and patches.


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