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Thread: What's leaking? The waterfall? The valve?

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    What's leaking? The waterfall? The valve?

    I have an 18,000 gallon "volleyball" pool - shallow on both ends and 6 ft in the middle. It is a gunite pool with a rock waterfall. No spa. 3 years ago there was a serious drought and I had to repair 4 plumbing leaks. All 4 leaks were in pvc pipe buried underground. I was lucky that those pipes were easy to access. At that time I believe that we found another leak with the main drain. When I turn the valve to suck only from the main drain and not the skimmers I immediately develop air in the hair basket and bubbles blow from one of the jets. The leak detection company recommended just turning the valve to completely suck from the 2 skimmers and not at all from the main drain. When I do this I don't see anymore air.

    Recently I have noticed that I'm adding more water than usual to the pool. I don't see any water on the equipment pad and no air, bubbles of loss of prime. Last night with the pool pump off I lost about 1/4 inch of water in about 12 hours. I have noticed that there are two small wet spots on the back of the waterfall in the same areas and one of the plants back there seems to be growing better than the others. I believe it is getting more water. Other sites recommend patching the mortar but that doesn't sit well with me. Doesn't a wet spot on the outside mean that water on the inside isn't where it should be? I don't know how waterfalls are constructed. Is there a main pvc pipe inside that pipes the water up to the top of the waterfall and then expels if to run down the rocks? Or is the entire waterfall on the inside just one big cavern that flood with water?

    Secondly, in an effort to stop the loss of water I turned the valve to shut off the waterfall completely but it's not working properly. It used to stop all flow of water to the waterfall but now there is still a small trickle that continues to flow on one side. Does this mean that my valve needs to be replaced?

    Help please! Thank you!

    Missy

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: What's leaking? The waterfall? The valve?

    Welcome to TFP!!!

    You first paragraph pretty much confirms you have a suction leak on the floor drain line. If it is cracked, then the water could still be draining out that pipe unless you plug the floor drain.

    Are you running the waterfall? If not, then there is no way for water to be leaking out of it. I get water leaking all over when I run my rock waterfall ... they are hard to seal. Yes, there is a PVC pipe that runs to the top.

    Oh, so you are running the waterfall, it does sound like the valve needs to be replaced (it is a cheap pvc ball valve or an appropriate pool valve?)

    So, sounds like it could either be the waterfall leaking, the floor drain leaking (you know there is a plumbing issue there), or could be evaporation if it is really dry, or a combination of all.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: What's leaking? The waterfall? The valve?

    Thanks for your fast reply! I will install a drain plug and replace the faulty valve.

    I took a closer look at the waterfall last night and noticed cracks in the mortar, and even a few small areas of missing mortar. Now I'm wondering if the leaks on the back are coming from the cascading water on the front leaking through the mortar. The leaks on the back are much less pronounced now that I have (attempted) to shut off the waterfall. Any tips for DIY mortar repair? I tried to upload a few photos but the upload failed. I'll keep trying.

    Thanks again!

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    Re: What's leaking? The waterfall? The valve?


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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: What's leaking? The waterfall? The valve?

    No idea how to repair the mortar ... if you figure it out let me know When I run my waterfall, I have a stream of water running out the back and across the deck. There are just so many rock and mortar joints, I think it is near impossible to have it NOT leak.

    I actually considered looking into having the rock completely coated with fiberglass or something (the rocks are ugly) and then have it painted like the fake rock waterfalls are done. At least it would be sealed, but then it also looks fake.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Pool School + Test Kit + PoolMath = A TROUBLE FREE POOL
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    Re: What's leaking? The waterfall? The valve?

    I found this on another site. We may give this a try. I'll let you know how it goes!

    "use Dry-Lock patch ( sold at Lowe's or Home depot) it works great even when wet or running water are coming through. All you do is mix a small amount and with gloves ( wear the gloves because it is rough on the hands because of the sand or grit content) push it in the cracks and smooth with finger to look like the rock and it should dry almost instantly only mix a small amount at a time as it dries really fast but works great. I have used it outside on my foundation and on some areas that I wanted to stop water from going through"

    and this

    "if you get a 1 gallon bucket of Hydraulic Cement (water stop cement). you can use a butter knife to fill in cracks with it, the knife is only about 1/2"-3/4" wide, so you wont really notice the patches... just force it into the cracks, and smear it downward to the bottom of the crack, you can use a wet washcloth to clean up around the edges, if you to late... use a small wire brush once its almost dry. and it does dry fast."

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