DamIt Dam Sealer FAQ

DamIt DamIt Dam Sealer FAQ

Q. We use our dam for drinking water – is this product safe?

A. Yes. DamIt Dam Sealer is based on a non-toxic polymer and tests have shown it is safe for use in potable water. Once activated DamIt Dam Sealer will attach to the bottom of the dam. If you are pumping your water from a dam, just ensure your intake pipe is suspended under a float and you don’t pump from off the bottom (as you will also end up pumping silt and debris)

Q. I can’t wait for rain but need to make sure my dam won’t leak when it does – can I apply DamIt Dam Sealer to a dry dam?

A. Yes you can. DamIt Dam Sealer will degrade faster in sunlight so you will need to apply to the dry base of the dam and then cover with a small layer of soil. If possible, try to pre-wet the soil before filling so DamIt Dam Sealer can bind and stabilise the soil. We also recommend you try to install some devices to slow down water inflow into the dam/pond such as ‘whoa boys’ or small banks and drains across the path to slow the water as it fills the dam.

Q. Why does my dam need to be full before I fix the leak?

A. It doesn’t need to be full, but the higher the water level the greater the pressure. High water pressure will generally increase the speed of the leak and this water flow through the soil helps carry DamIt Dam Sealer particles quickly into the cracks and crevices where it can plug them. When water levels are low, often the rate of leaking will slow down or even stop.

Q. I have a fast leak – can I use more to fix it faster?

A. The recommended application rate of 75g per M2 is usually all that is required to fix the leaks. For really fast leaks multiple applications are the best way to bring these under control – try passing over the same area twice during the initial application but apply more sparingly and then follow up with another light application a week later if required.

Q. Do I need to know where the dam is leaking to fix it?

A. No. When the location of the leak isn’t known you can apply DamIt Dam Sealer over the entire surface area to repair the leak. If you have a good idea where the leak is located (eg damp sections on the dam walls) you can focus application on that area of the dam or pond only. It is a good idea to apply slightly more to deeper sections and slightly less to shallower sections of dam. Try to understand the depth profile of your dam before application. Deeper sections of the dam adjoining constructed walls or embankments will be under more water pressure and tend to be key problem spots. Try application along these areas first to slow leaks then apply over the entire surface.

Q. Do I need to know the soil type or estimate how fast or slowly my dam it is leaking?

A. No. DamIt Dam Sealer is designed to work across a broad range of soil, sand and rock types and will repair both fast and slow leaks

Q. My dam is still leaking after application – why?

A. If your dam/pond continues to leak after application of DamIt Dam Sealer the most common problem is found to be some areas have been missed or with insufficient powder applied during application. This can usually be rectified by re-applying. On larger dams it is more difficult to confirm what areas have been treated. One suggestion is to place steel fence pickets along the edges and use these as a guide to apply in a grid pattern ensuring all areas are covered. Another common issue is that DamIt Dam Sealer is applied unevenly by hand. DamIt Dam Sealer contains powders with a range of particle sizes. The larger particles can be ‘thrown’ further by hand but the smaller particles do not distribute as well. Try to ensure you work on smaller areas and don’t attempt to ‘throw’ the powder long distances away from you.

Q. Why does it matter if my water is salty?

A. DamIt Dam Sealer is activated when it comes into contact with water. Osmotic pressure causes the particles to swell however this capacity to increase in size is reduced by high levels of salt in the water. DamIt Dam Sealer can generally be used on most dams or ponds at the suggested application rate of 75g per M2 of dam surface area without measuring salt content, however if you suspect your water has a high salt content you will need to apply more DamIt Dam Sealer to compensate for the reduced capacity of the polymer. High levels of salts are not commonly found in surface water and more common in artesian (eg bore) water.

Q. What happens to the polymer when it breaks down?

A. DamIt Dam Sealer will slowly degrade and break down over time (up to 10 years plus). The polymer will form a harmless mix of water, potassium salts and carbon dioxide as it breaks down. Leaking will not re-commence - DamIt Dam Sealer forms a permanent plug.

Q. Will DamIt Dam Sealer cause longer term problems in soil or water quality?

A. No. The polymer is very durable but will degrade over a number of years in the soil/water. As it breaks down very small amounts of potassium salts are released as part of that process. As the level of DamIt Dam Sealer required is so small and the degradation will occur over a long period of time there should be no measurable change to soil or water quality as a result of applying DamIt Dam Sealer. To put this in perspective, applying a single 15kg pail of DamIt Dam Sealer to a dam with a surface area of 200m2 would result in the gradual release of approximately 2.6kg of potassium salts over the lifetime of the polymer (5-10 years) – this equates to only 2.6kg of salts in approx. 400,000 litres of water.

Q. Will my dam or pond leak again after the polymer breaks down?

A. Very Unlikely. The chemical structure of the polymer is very stable due to the cross linking which occurs during production. This cross linking forms very strong chemical bonds between the elements and provides a very durable polymer that can withstand multiple wet/dry cycles with no damage to the properties of the polymer. As DamIt Dam Sealer is drawn deep into crevices, cracks and porous soils by water pressure it also draws other suspended matter in the water downward to cover it. The combination of expansion and attraction of particles over the top acts to form permanent plugs even if the polymer gradually degrades and looses its ability to expand/contract.

Q. Can my stock use the dam?

A. Yes – no problem. DamIt Dam Sealer is designed with a high molecular weight and this results in it being drawn downwards to the bottom of the dam/pond. Livestock will naturally drink water from the surface to avoid ingesting mud and other debris from the bottom. The positive charge of the polymer is very strong and it will remain attached to or buried at the bottom. Should there be heavy inflows to the dam as a result of storms, turbidity is likely to occur and some polymer may be displaced, however this will settle very quickly. If livestock do ingest the polymer it will pass harmlessly through.

Q. Will the polymer change the colour of my pond?

A. No. DamIt Dam Sealer is crystal clear and will remain so. Even if used in very silty and dirty water like farm dams it will remain clear and not absorb any silt or clay. In very dirty water DamIt Dam Sealer attracts suspended particles and draws these to the bottom which helps to clear cloudy water.

Q. We have lots of water lilies and aquatic plants in our dam – can we use DamIt Dam Sealer?

A. Yes. For best results we suggest removing plants before application if these can be removed. If you have plants with large leaves which cover the surface, you can pre-mix small quantities of DamIt Dam Sealer in a bucket and pour this into the water. You must work quickly using small amounts - half fill a bucket with water, drop in half a cup of DamIt Dam Sealer (approx. 150g), stir quickly and then slowly submerge the bucket below the water while stirring to disperse. Avoid walking through this area.

Q. Can I use spray equipment to apply DamIt Dam Sealer?

A. DamIt Dam Sealer gives best results when applied evenly as a dry powder. DamIt Dam Sealer can be applied wet however it is more difficult to ensure even coverage. The other key issue is the swelling of the polymer which starts immediately after contact with water. Filters and screens in handheld or agricultural spray equipment will become clogged if they are used. For wet application larger aperture hoses may be suitable (e.g. firefighting pumps) but care should be taken to ensure DamIt Dam Sealer is mixed and applied as quickly as possible (i.e. within minutes). A suggested approach for wet application is as follows:

  1. Pre-prime the pump with fresh water
  2. Fill the water holding tank with water prior to addition of DamIt Dam Sealer
  3. Spray when there is no wind, or if you have to, with the wind behind you so the spray is carried across the dam.
  4. Start the pump and adjust the hose nozzle to the required spray pattern and to determine what area can be covered without moving the pump.
  5. Add DamIt Dam Sealer powder to the tank and stir vigorously - keep the tank agitated while applying
  6. Work in smaller quantities and apply as quickly as possible
  7. Flush the tank and pump in plenty of fresh water immediately after use.

Q. Can I use DamIt Dam Sealer with bentonite clay?

A. Bentonite clay is typically used during dam construction for preparing porous or unsuitable soils. Bentonite cannot be applied once the dam has water in it. Bentonite is typically mixed with soil or spread as a layer under soil and it expands when wet to create a seal. DamIt Dam Sealer has a chemical charge which causes it to attach to other particles and can be applied to both empty and full dams. It can be applied to the surface and does not require heavy earthmoving equipment. DamIt Dam Sealer will help activate, stabilise and consolidate Bentonite clay and when mixed with Bentonite, will lower the amount of Bentonite required.

Q. My hands are going slimy after application – is DamIt Dam Sealer toxic?

A. No, this is how the polymer reacts with water. We suggest you use gloves when handling the powder and if spreading by hand as this will stop any reaction with the moisture in your skin. If you do get DamIt Dam Sealer on your skin simply wash off with soap and water – the surfactants in the soap or detergent will break the positive charge and allow water to more easily disperse the polymer.

Q. I left the pail open and it got wet - can I still use it?

A. DamIt Dam Sealer reacts with water and will form lumps. Do not attempt to apply to your dam or pond unless it is a free flowing powder. You should be able to remove the affected lumps of DamIt Dam Sealer from the top of the pail.

Q. Why is there is a fine layer of powder on the surface of the water after applying DamIt Dam Sealer.

A. Depending on the size of the dam or pond, and often when there is no wind to disturb the surface of the water, the surface tension of the water causes the fine powder particles of DamIt Dam Sealer to rest on the surface without 'wetting out' fully and sinking. If you find the DamIt Dam Sealer powder is forming a 'net' of powder on the surface, try splashing a little water onto this area to disturb and wet out the powder so it sinks. On small ponds spraying a fine mist of water from a hose will quickly solve this.