Farm Pond Waterfall pump vault issue

Discussion in 'Pond Construction & Equipment' started by retired813, Aug 12, 2017.

  1. retired813

    retired813

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    I recently constructed a waterfall on an elevated embankment of a small farm pond. I used a FastFalls weir, rapid flow pump and Elite series pump vault. The pump vault is set "in" the pond and feeds water directly from the pond itself. The problem I am having is that if the vault intakes get the slight bit clogged by floating weeds, the water level within the vault drops and the vault with pump inside floats and falls on it's side. It never completely loses water supply and fortunately so far the pump has not been damaged. The owner has discovered the problem and has shut down the pump as soon as they have noticed that the vault has tipped over. I have tried placing a rock of approximately 30 lbs on top of the vault lid but it still floats? Any suggestions on away of securing this vault to keep it from tipping over. I have discussed the "floating grass/weed pump vault 1.JPG issue with the owner but I'm not entirely sure that is the total problem. Any help will be greatly appreciated, thank you.
     
    retired813, Aug 12, 2017
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  2. retired813

    DutchMuch Lord Of The Aquascapes!

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    Make a small fence to go around this. You can use aluminum wire mesh (what I used/use)
     
    DutchMuch, Aug 12, 2017
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  3. retired813

    MitchM

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    I don't understand the need for a pump vault.
    Why not just have the pump placed in the water without the vault?
    Vaults look like they're to be used in dirt or rock.
     
    MitchM, Aug 12, 2017
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  4. retired813

    Meyer Jordan Tadpole

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    This is true.
    A pump vault is not engineered to be used under these conditions.A wet-well would be more appropriate.
    Being quite familiar with these devices (have installed many) I am curious as to how the pump vault is retaining the air that is causing it to float. The lids are not air-tight.
     
    Meyer Jordan, Aug 12, 2017
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  5. retired813

    retired813

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    Yeah considering a wire mesh circle about 3 ft in dia. out of hardware cloth to help keep the weeds off the vault and out of the pump.
     
    retired813, Aug 12, 2017
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  6. retired813

    Meyer Jordan Tadpole

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    Make sure that you have easy access and this mesh barrier can easily be removed because it will also clog.
     
    Meyer Jordan, Aug 12, 2017
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  7. retired813

    DutchMuch Lord Of The Aquascapes!

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    ah ok, well sounds like a good plan. 3 ft also sounds like a good (half) diameter.
    Well if you have anymore questions just ask, Good luck to you!
     
    DutchMuch, Aug 12, 2017
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  8. retired813

    retired813

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    The vault is buoyant enough just because of the plastic it is made from. Once the water level drops far enough the weight of the pump is not enough to keep it from floating. Not an issue with air retention, the vault will float even the pump is not in it and it's filled with water.
    Vault supplier says that when they are used in a hidden water reservoir with a "Pondless" water feature they are locked in place with rock/gravel. I told them that when I first called about equipment selection, I was very explicit as to how I intended to use the vault and they had assured me of "No issues, will work just fine". Not so much!
    I used a vault because the pond bottom is rather mucky and I have it resting on concrete solids to keep it out of the muck. Never thought it would "Float" once it was filled with water and the pump! If I was to do this again I would use a concrete collection box and set pump in there, still might have issues with weeds being sucked in but at least it would't float!
    I added some tabs at the bottom of the vault and have it pinned to the pond bottom with rebar pins. I then placed some rocks around the bottom of it that lay on top of the tabs, so far so good. Told owner to be vigilant on weed control so we'll see how it goes. Thanks for the input.
     
    retired813, Aug 12, 2017
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  9. retired813

    retired813

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    Thanks, it's been a learning curve for sure.
     
    retired813, Aug 12, 2017
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  10. retired813

    retired813

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    Access is good, vault setting next to underwater slab at shore line about 5 ft out. Water over slab only a few inches deep but vault in 2 ft of depth.
     
    retired813, Aug 12, 2017
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  11. retired813

    Meyer Jordan Tadpole

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    Who is the manufacturer of this vault? I have never seen one float, especially one that had a pump inside.
    What size pump are you using?
     
    Meyer Jordan, Aug 12, 2017
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  12. retired813

    retired813

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    PondBuilder Elite is the brand of the vault, sized for up to 7.5K GPH. I'm running a Rapidflo 5K GPH pump.
    When it falls over it floats on it's side just even with the surface of the water. Pump still pumps, and water flow is not interrupted but I figure eventually it would choke off from the weeds if left running. They have been shutting it down as soon as they see it has tipped over.
    It's really weird, beginning to think it's possesed or something?
     
    retired813, Aug 13, 2017
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  13. retired813

    Meyer Jordan Tadpole

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    Pondbuiler is what we called in the trade an off-brand. You probably got it for a good price.Odds are it is not made with the same quality ABS as the better known top quality brands,
     
    Meyer Jordan, Aug 13, 2017
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  14. retired813

    retired813

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    It was $229.00 which for what these "Vaults" are is way more than they should cost. They are nothing more than a roto-molded ABS plastic part which is probably 50% recycled plastic. I don't get the cost, they ain't nothing special.
    The "Atlantic" brand was identical in every respect except the shape and the way the ribs are molded and was $20.00 cheaper but way over sized for my application. For these items, I don't think "Brand" makes any difference as to usage. The "vaults" are nothing more than a glorified sump pump well.
    The issues that I am having are pretty much narrowed down to weeds plugging up the intake slots, the pump empties the vault and then it floats/tips over, then refills while it's laying on it's side. Much like sinking a 5 gallon bucket, put the pump in and pump out the water, it's going to float.
     
    retired813, Aug 13, 2017
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  15. retired813

    Lisak1

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    I have to say - that's not a problem we've ever discussed here to my knowledge! Do you have any photos of the waterfall - I'd love to see it. We have some natural ponds in our neighborhood and I'd love to see our HOA add some waterfalls, both for beauty and aeration. But I've never seen anyone do anything other than a venturi in the middle which serves the purpose, but doesn't look natural.
     
    Lisak1, Aug 13, 2017
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  16. retired813

    retired813

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    I have attached some pictures. This was my first venture into this type of project and although it was a great deal of work I did enjoy building it. The homeowners are good friends and completion of this made her very happy. It is something she has wanted for a very long time.
    The rocks came from an old dry-laid rubble barn foundation that they had on the property for years.They were very attached to the barn and when it had to be demolished because of deterioration they kept all the rocks. She had been wanting to do something with the rocks and the embankment at the side of the pond and we discussed this. I put some numbers together and away we went. I think it turned out really well and they owners are happy so win! IMG_2729.JPG IMG_2738.JPG IMG_2758.jpg
     
    retired813, Aug 13, 2017
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