The most reliable solution was to coat the entire pond with
a relatively new substance called polyurea. All the people I
called on for advice said the same thing -- polyurea was my best
solution. Because I had heard so many wonderful comments about
this new way to surface koi ponds, I attended a seminar session
to hear the whole story.
The presenter was Tim Zuber, the foremost authority in polyurea
containment construction. An energitic presenter, Tim described
the benefits of polyurea elastomer spray as a veritable "wonder"
substance! This industrial plastic is used in automotive, industrial,
marine, commercial and military applications. It is waterproof,
inert, indestructible, and immediately ready.
Its strength and elasticity is truly amazing. Part of Tim's
presentation was a video illustrating the incredible traits of
this substance. Neither tons of falling earth nor a multi-ton
boulder would rupture the liner. When a wall of dirt caved in
underneath the liner, the polyurea stretched but did not tear.
Because of these wonderful characteristics, Tim adapted the process
of polyurea to the pond and water garden industry knowing it
would revolutionize the way ponds are constructed and repaired.
And so it has!
The material, black in color, is sprayed on to the floor and
walls of the pond, drying almost immediately. Being sprayed,
it takes the form of the pond with neither folds nor seams. Polyurea
can be sprayed to any thickness. However, because of its innate
strength, it does not need to be applied in a thick layer. The
non-toxic substance is not harmed by some of the chemicals used
in koi husbandry such as potassium permanganate and salt. Other
characteristics of this substance include flexiblility, unaffected
by extreme temperatures, and holding up well to UV exposure.
I was told if I wanted to add an extension to the pond later,
it would be a simple remodel. It is easy to patch or join with
new extensions of the same material.
The formula is sprayed carefully around fittings such as bulkheads
and drains to ensure a tight seal. Amazingly, it needs no cure
time. The lining can be rinsed with a hose and the pond filled
and stocked the next day! I was convinced this was the way to
William Lim, the designer and manufacturer of the Wave pumps
and other pond equipment introduced me to Paul Parszik, owner of Artisan Aquatics in
Torrance California. Tim Zuber trained Paul in the specialized
techniques of spraying polyurea for koi ponds and water garden
features. I was very impressed with Paul's presentation and his
approach to my project.
A few weeks prior to the big day, I moved all my koi to another
filtered koi pond for safekeeping. I emptied the leaky pond and
allowed it to dry thoroughly. The surface must be totally dry
before applying the polyurea.
Paul meticulously prepared the pond site, taking care to cover
and protect areas not to be sprayed. His truck, equipped with
canisters of polyurea, and the transport system with hoses and
valves, was as pristine as a hospital operating room. The care
Paul took to construct his specialized truck reflects the same
care he takes with his projects. A former engineer and test pilot,
he knows that attention to detail is extremely important.
Paul explained that polyurea is composed of two substances
combined at the last minute in the nozzle as it is sprayed. The
actual application took only a few hours. Each section was scrutinized
closely to make sure the coverage was even and adequate.
The next day, Paul replaced the dozen air stones that surrounded
the perimeter of the pond. He also suggested installing an air
dome to the bottom drain, a great suggestion. All of Paul's work
was accomplished effortlessly and perfectly. I then filled the
pond and re-started the pumps. Even though the filtration system
had been off a few weeks, the pond never went through the green
water stage. The bacteria in the filter had stayed alive. The
next week, I introduced the koi to their remodeled home. They
I am convinced I made the correct choice in selecting polyurea
for my koi pond. I no longer worry about the leaks in the pond
caused by earth movement. The bottom and sides are sleek black
and there are signs of the good short algae growth.