After building rock and gravel ponds for a number of years, what would possess me to rip out my own backyard 5000-gallon pond, which was built only 4 years ago? My backyard pond has been the focus of numerous magazine articles and was the backdrop for a wedding last year. So when my pond was torn out, neighbors asked “why”?
It all started with a factory tour I took last year. I was one of several individuals invited by OASE, to tour their factory in Southern California. During the tour, I was shown many new, cutting edge products. The tour concluded with a glimpse of the OASE “Multi-Purpose Pond.” Although the Multi-Purpose Pond (MPP) is real popular in Europe, the USA is just about to catch the wave. OASE invited me to build a MPP in my backyard. I accepted their invitation and the project commenced in late February.
The first thing to look into is local applicable regulations. You should always consult authorities before beginning construction on your MPP. You as the operator of a Multi-Pond are responsible for the safety of this installation. Having a fence with a lockable gate is also a good idea and is law in some localities.
The first thing to do was remove my current pond. This began by draining my current pond and removing all the fish, plants, boulders, rocks and gravel. We used the old liner to keep the water plants alive in another location. We rented a large excavator to dig down to a depth of about 5 and half feet. We dug this depth for an area of about 16 x 24. The old rock and gravel pond was about two feet at its deepest part. Even though we had a large hole left over from the old pond, this was way too much soil to remove by hand (we tried, and didn’t even put a dent in the soil).
The future MPP was measured before hand and the liner was custom cut for the allotted area. After the proper amount of soil was excavated, we began construction of the inner wall elements of the MPP. Since the MPP is actually purchased as a kit, an auxiliary construction set is included to perfectly align the wall elements. Once the first corner has been set up, the successive wall elements set up in a row, by means of tongue and groove fittings. These are screwed into placed, along with support hardware. After the wall structure of the MPP is put together, we built three cross braces, which helped to keep the walls aligned during the process of backfilling the walls and filling the deep zone with water. Although the cross braces are not a part of the kit, they are simply 2x4s pegged together. We next dug out a small trench in the regeneration zone to accommodate the capillary system of the pond. This consists of a long yellow tube with laser-punched holes that will aerate the bog area.
Next comes the installation of the pond fleece and the pond liner. Before the pond liner is laid out, we spread out a layer of protective fleece in the deep zone. Now it’s time for putting the pond liner in place. It took 4 big, strong burly guys to muscle this heavy liner into place. Next, we threw several hoses into the pond and begin to “fill ‘er up.” As the pond began to fill, we began back filling in behind the walls we assembled earlier. We attached edging to wooden stakes driven into the ground around the pond perimeter and to give height to the outer most part of the MPP. We ran the liner and underlayment over the edging.
Next, we installed skimmer/filter. I must say how delighted I was when I found out that the pump is a LOW VOLTAGE pump! It takes only about forty cents a day to run this pump which moves about 2100 gallons of water per hour. This water moves through the plant regeneration zone by means of the capillary laser tubing. Another pump was installed to move water up to the Biotec Screenmatic filter system, which does several things. The water first passes through a UV clarifier and then enters the filter. The water then passes through the automated Screenmatic that catches and removes all large debris. The next section of the filtration system mechanically and biologically filters the water. The final part of the process is to pass the water through “Phosless” phosphate removal cartridges. The best part of this filtration system is the very simple and easy maintenance that it requires. The biological component of the filter system doesn’t require any special maintenance. The longer the system operates, the more the micro-organic population inside the filter will flourish.
We constructed the wooden deck that is used as a sun deck and hides the filter from sight. After the gravel and water are filled in, we begin placement of the water plants in the regeneration zone. Plant materials include the following… Cana lilies, Calla lilies, yellow flag, water hyacinth, water mint, rush, yarrow, alocasia and water lilies.
The whole installation is capped off by installing the entrance ladder. And with that, WE ARE DONE! Altogether, it took a day to excavate the right amount of soil for the MPP. It took three days to construct from start to finish. I might add that that the construction would have taken less time, but we spent one of the three days constructing a KOI pond in the area above the MPP, to give the illusion that a KOI pond is running into the MPP. For the KOI pond, we installed a couple of Aquamax 3500 pumps at the bottom of the pond. These act as a “drain” which suck up the KOI waste and send it through the Biotec Screenmatic filtration system.
Before engaging in this project, I read all I could about the MPP. I saw that in Europe, the older MPP’s employed a regeneration zone at a ratio of 3-1, that is, if you have a swimming zone of 50 square feet, you would need a regeneration (plant) zone of 150 square feet. The newer European MPP’s are set up in a one to one ratio. The superiority of the newer system allows for a much lower plant zone ratio. It’s because of this new technology, that my MPP construction was possible.
Looking at the popularity of the MPP’s in Europe, we can confidently say that the MPP’s in the USA have a bright future. Although this is the very first Multi-Purpose Pond in the United States, there were pond contractors from outside of California, helping with this install, in hopes of learning the ins and outs of this new type of pond construction. In view of their interest, it won’t be long before the MPP wave takes off. The Multi-Purpose Pond gives new meaning to the term “interactive” in the water world. One misconception regarding the MPP is that of toxic algae blooms. This is only a myth and went the way of the square earth society many years ago. We can be thankful for the new kind of pond builder who embraces newer technology, which is to the benefit to the general public.
Source: Pond & Garden Lifestyle May/June & July/August 2008