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Paul Wheaton's trickle tube  RSS feed

 
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I've recently listened to podcast 105 one in the series of a review of sepp holzer's Permaculture. Near the end Paul Wheaton describes his method of installing an overflow pipe using 1.5 and 2 inch pipe and picking up water near the bottom of the pond. I would call it a "trickle tube".
I've searched the forum and found no reference to Paul's method when I was really hoping to find a photo.
I drew the sketch below based on the description he gave and may have it all wrong.
I'm looking for confirmation from the man himself, but he may take one look, shout "Catastrophe!!", and delete my post.
2014-02-25-14.29.56.jpg
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My interpretation of Paul Wheaton
 
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That is a siphon that will drain the pond down to the intake if it is not being refilled as fast as the pipe flows--it better be a trickle (relative to the size of the pond)! But a 2" pipe in a one acre pond is a trickle and will keep the habitat alive around the outlet, so it could be right. I hope Paul comes by because now I am curious, too.

 
John Merrifield
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My understanding of what I think I heard was the apex of the pipe (at water level) prevents the siphon.
 
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In aquaculture terms, it is a Solids Lifting Overflow (SLO). But, to prevent a siphon, you need a T and stand pipe open to air at the peak of the tube. Depending on the flow of water in the pond, that tube can create a lot of suction, so keep that in mind, too.
 
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John, I wonder if this is what he was talking about?

http://www.permies.com/t/1360/ponds/Sepp-Holzer-ponds-monk
 
John Merrifield
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Miles,
No. Paul was explaining how his method differed from Holzer's "monk". Paul also stated that he had yet to document his method on the internet.
John
 
John Merrifield
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Abe,
I see what you're talking about. I seems that would be better. Thanks for the tip on SLO's.
By the way, I changed the original post it was podcast 105, not 125.
John
 
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I have been summoned from the secret inner circle.

I was at a geeky conference in 2001 (or so) and had this idea about ponds where I drew this up while ignoring the rest of the conference.

dam1.gif
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dam2.gif
[Thumbnail for dam2.gif]
dam3.gif
[Thumbnail for dam3.gif]
dam3b.gif
[Thumbnail for dam3b.gif]
 
paul wheaton
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The placement is designed to take water in with the lowest oxygen and make that the water that is then infused with oxygen.

This design also prevents siphoning.

You MUST still have an overflow designed in for the pond.

 
paul wheaton
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Here is the thing that I made that floats
P1010021.JPG
[Thumbnail for P1010021.JPG]
 
paul wheaton
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Here you can see the floaty thing in action before the pond is full
P1010023.JPG
[Thumbnail for P1010023.JPG]
 
paul wheaton
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Here is the pipe going in during construction of the dam
P1010028.JPG
[Thumbnail for P1010028.JPG]
P1010002.JPG
[Thumbnail for P1010002.JPG]
P1010003.JPG
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P1010004.JPG
[Thumbnail for P1010004.JPG]
 
John Merrifield
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Paul,
Forgive my ignorance, but what is it about this design prevents the siphoning?
Also, what do you think of Abe's idea above with the vertical pipe?
John
 
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John Merrifield wrote:Paul,
Forgive my ignorance, but what is it about this design prevents the siphoning?
Also, what do you think of Abe's idea above with the vertical pipe?
John



John, looking at the "dam2.gif" up there, you'll see a size transition before it gets to the "hump" that has a note which says, "pipe size change must occur before peak, this prevents siphoning." The "floaty thing" looks to be 1 inch black ABS (based on pictures of Paul and lesser mortals being side by side) so I'm figuring the size transition is from 1 inch ABS to 1 1/2" ABS, since the dimension is an internal one and 1 inch ABS will fit inside 1 1/2" ABS, in my experience. I'm also interested in how the "floaty thing" is constructed to get the water into it in a "trickly" fashion.

 
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Bill Erickson wrote:
John, looking at the "dam2.gif" up there, you'll see a size transition before it gets to the "hump" that has a note which says, "pipe size change must occur before peak, this prevents siphoning." The "floaty thing" looks to be 1 inch black ABS (based on pictures of Paul and lesser mortals being side by side) so I'm figuring the size transition is from 1 inch ABS to 1 1/2" ABS, since the dimension is an internal one and 1 inch ABS will fit inside 1 1/2" ABS, in my experience. I'm also interested in how the "floaty thing" is constructed to get the water into it in a "trickly" fashion.



So I do a lot of liquid siphoning when I brew beer. And before I upgraded to a better system, I actually had a system where I had mismatched sized hoses connected together and had the pipe size change "occur before peak". While sometimes I'd loose my siphon due to this mis-match, it in no way prevented it. Now this might be due to the relative difference between the sizes of Paul's hoses and the ones I was using, but I am not convinced that this would be a reliable system.
 
John Merrifield
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Bill,
My understanding is the "floaty thing" acts as a bouy or float to hold the pipe off of the bottom and is used in conjunction with a rock to sink the pipe. The two used together allow you to adjust the distance the pipe will be held from the bottom of the pond.
By the way, I'm viewing Paul's photos on my phone and can't make out the fine print. Thanks for the explanation.
John
 
Bill Erickson
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John Merrifield wrote:Bill,
My understanding is the "floaty thing" acts as a bouy or float to hold the pipe off of the bottom and is used in conjunction with a rock to sink the pipe. The two used together allow you to adjust the distance the pipe will be held from the bottom of the pond.
By the way, I'm viewing Paul's photos on my phone and can't make out the fine print. Thanks for the explanation.
John


John,
I will keep that in mind for the future. I think a lot of people use alternate means of viewing the InfernalNet, so I'll make that a question when I'm responding in the future. That is being used as a float and not a fill point makes it's construction much clearer to me as well as that initial drawing you put in the OP. Smart use of air space. Thanks, John
Bill

Tom OHern wrote:So I do a lot of liquid siphoning when I brew beer. And before I upgraded to a better system, I actually had a system where I had mismatched sized hoses connected together and had the pipe size change "occur before peak". While sometimes I'd loose my siphon due to this mis-match, it in no way prevented it. Now this might be due to the relative difference between the sizes of Paul's hoses and the ones I was using, but I am not convinced that this would be a reliable system.


Tom,
You make a good point there. I think that once the pond goes below a certain point that with the surface tension of natural water being what it is, that you could loose the capillary effect. If I remember correctly, beer has a lower surface tension than natural or ordinary water, but a lot of that has to do with the pH level. The amount of ionic hydrogen (what pH measures, for those who don't know) has a direct effect upon surface tension in many liquids. Something to experiment with and see what the results are.
Some variables to check would be the volume (depth and surface area) and level of a pond that works well for this. From the pictures Paul posted, it looks that is a fairly large and deep pond with the look of the dam face and then when it was full of water. You'd definitely need to protect that pipe with at least 18 inches (50cm or so) or so of earth, depending upon your soil frost depth, to insulate the flow in the pipe and keep it trickling through the winter. Basically this siphon is mimicking the natural process of a spring to my mind. Definitely some potential, we'll see what my experiments bring over the next couple of years with swales and ponds. You people need to quit giving me ideas, so I can catch up a bit, drinking from a firehose is quite the trick I believe.

Bill
 
Abe Connally
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the only way to guarantee that no siphon will happen is to break to the atmosphere. In aquaculture, people can't afford to drain ponds with something that could siphon (like the pipe above).

Here's how to do it, and this will NEVER siphon. All it requires is a T at the highest point and a pipe that is open to the atmosphere. Nice, cheap insurance.
 
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Here I have exaggerated a lot of things to make a point, so I really don't want questions about making a dam this steep or using these dimensions. I have here a pipe that is 18 inches in diamer and a pipe that is a half inch in diameter.

I think that this seals the deal that this will not lead to a siphon situation.

White it is true that putting a vent up from the peak will break a siphon, there are several problems with hat. One being that those sorts of things are easily broken. Another is that those sorts of things could impede other uses of the dam (like driving stuff on the dam). Another is that is allows air to pass through the space which will make that space colder on a really cold day.

My design breaks the siphon, and during the winter, warm air will accumulate in the exit pipe. A lovely thing when you are trying to keep the system running (not freezing).

So a vent to the surface at the apex is A way, but it isn't THE way.

With this technique there can be some discussion about how much bigger the cross sectional area needs to be on the draining side to prevent a siphon, but I think we have an extremely clear case that if you make it big enough you will break any possible siphon.

not-gonna-siphon.png
[Thumbnail for not-gonna-siphon.png]
 
Abe Connally
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paul wheaton wrote:White it is true that putting a vent up from the peak will break a siphon, there are several problems with hat. One being that those sorts of things are easily broken. Another is that those sorts of things could impede other uses of the dam (like driving stuff on the dam). Another is that is allows air to pass through the space which will make that space colder on a really cold day.


if you're worried about those issues, just vent to the backside of the damn. As long as the vent is open to the atmosphere higher than the water level, it's fine. It doesn't have to be in the middle of the road.


paul wheaton wrote:With this technique there can be some discussion about how much bigger the cross sectional area needs to be on the draining side to prevent a siphon, but I think we have an extremely clear case that if you make it big enough you will break any possible siphon.


it would be interesting to see what the limits are, and I'd venture to guess that it will be a relationship between cross section of big vs small pipe plus the angle of the bend.
 
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if you're worried about those issues, just vent to the backside of the damn.



Do you mean "the dam" or, perhaps, "the damn dam"?

I feel like I need to draw another picture because my earlier statement didn't get through.

Here is what I said above:

Another is that is allows air to pass through the space which will make that space colder on a really cold day.



So, on a cold day, your system will draw cold air into the system. The air will be warmed inside the dam, and thermosiphoning will carry the air upward. In sub zero temperatures, this will eventually freeze the system. So, you have system failure.

I don't like system failure.

In fact, i like the idea that the berm might even warm the water slightly as the water passes through. After all, on a cold day, the warmer air in the downhill side of the pipe will be able to go no further up. So the air is still and warm. (well, relatively warm compared to the very cold air outside)

 
Abe Connally
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paul wheaton wrote:
Do you mean "the dam" or, perhaps, "the damn dam"?


hahaha, yeah, I meant the dam.

paul wheaton wrote:

Another is that is allows air to pass through the space which will make that space colder on a really cold day.



So, on a cold day, your system will draw cold air into the system. The air will be warmed inside the dam, and thermosiphoning will carry the air upward. In sub zero temperatures, this will eventually freeze the system. So, you have system failure.

I don't like system failure.

In fact, i like the idea that the berm might even warm the water slightly as the water passes through. After all, on a cold day, the warmer air in the downhill side of the pipe will be able to go no further up. So the air is still and warm. (well, relatively warm compared to the very cold air outside)


yeah, I think you're over estimating how much air will travel through a 1.5" pipe. If there is no water in there, there is nothing to freeze. Unless you are in a very cold climate, I don't see a pipe freezing buried in the middle of a dam. And if things do freeze that deep, it won't matter which system you use, they will likely both freeze.

In the summer, you have a cooling effect, btw. Siphoning is also a system failure, and if you don't get yours set right, you could certainly siphon the pond. You need to know for sure what the limits of the pipe size differences and the angle to know for sure when a siphon won't be created with each particular setup.

Still, you don't have to make it go through the dam like that. Like I said, vent to the back of the dam. Here is an alternative that still has a warm air trap AND a guaranteed no siphon:


Here's another option:


Both of these would be considerably cheaper than going to a large pipe. The vent pipe does not have to be the same diameter of the water pipe, it could be very small, because air compresses easily. This would limit the amount of air flow through the pipe, and still give you a guaranteed no siphon setup.


 
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It isn't about the cold climate - it's about a cold day. Or series of cold days. And the thermosiphon effect can be VERY strong. Especially as the temperature differential increases.

I'm standing by my assertions. I believe my design is better. Should the opportunity present itself again, I'll use this technique again. I suspect that you will use your technique.




 
Abe Connally
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paul wheaton wrote:And the thermosiphon effect can be VERY strong.

the strength of the thermosiphon depends on the difference of temperature and the cross section area of pipe. It's like the draft in a RMH, and we're talking about a very slight temperature difference (30-50F) and a relatively small pipe. You would be lucky to even feel the air movement.

I have made several cooling tube setups in hills using different diameter pipes, and I can tell you, the flow through something smaller than 3" is slight, at best, even with significant air temperature difference (solar heater on one end). Even with fans, there is considerable friction in those pipes, and with any sort of bend, the air barely moves through something so small.

 
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Clearly, if we each build a pond we will each build something slightly different.
 
Abe Connally
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paul wheaton wrote:Clearly, if we each build a pond we will each build something slightly different.


I completely agree, it's just nice to know all the options available.
 
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I am from an area with a long tradition of fish-farming in ponds.
The traditional monk gives you all these options.

Here is a picture:
http://www.wwa-an.bayern.de/wasser_erleben/lehrpfade/freilandmuseum/stationen/pic/bw22a_gr.jpg


It uses 3 rows of wooden boards:
The two rows in the back of the monk set the water level. If your want to reduce the water level, you remove some of the boards. The space between these two rows is filled with clay or cod or sawdust for sealing.

The front row of boards is used to adjust from which layer the water is flowing out of the pond.
If you feed the pond with cold water from a stream want to grow trout (which require cold water with high oxygen level) in summer, you remove the warm water from the top of the pond. In this case you might not use any boards in the front row at all and simply put the sink grid on top of one the two behind rows.
If you want to grow carp that require warm water, you reduce the cold water feed to re required minimum and put the grid down to the bottom of the first row and close the space above it with boards as shown in the picture. Then the warm surface water stays in the pond and the cold water from the bottom is taken out.
In winter, when water temperature is below 4°C and therefore the warmer water is at the bottom and the cold water on the top, you might chance the configuration again, to prevent the pond from freezing down to the bottom.

The monk itself is usually made of concrete.

The construction Sepp calls the Holzer Monk has been used here for small summer trout ponds since PCV-pipes and fittings have been available. Therefore I am pretty sure he did not invent it. Maybe he re-invented it if he has not seen it elsewhere.
Its disadvantage is that you cannot use it to draw bottom water.
But this can be cured with a little change similar to Paul´s construction. You simply use a u-bow and a second pipe and add it to the top of the existing pipe. The end of the second pipe is put down to the bottom of the pond.
You adjust the water level by adjusting the position of the u-bow.
To avoid sucking the pond empty by gravity flow you can either use a smaller diameter for the added pipe or you drill some big holes into the top of the u-bow.
The reason why it is still not used for big ponds is, that you would need a very big diameter tube for fishing the pond dry. Such a big tube is difficult to operate. You need a lot of force. For a big pond (more than some 1000 m2) I would always prefer a traditional monk.

Paul´s construction gives you all options of where to suck in the runoff water, but you need a second runoff option for emptying the pond. Especially if you want to be able to empty it fast for fishing it dry.
 
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Here's the image referred to in the post above.

 
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It sounds kinda like everyone is arguing the same point here. The fundamentals are all the same(air gap to break the siphon) its just the method of achieving that gap. They all will work because they all follow the conceptual fundamentals. Different was of skinning the same cat. It's good to see the different ways to achieve the same end because it points out the fundamental idea behind what is trying to be achieved, thus fostering inovation. I like it. Thank you all for this conversation.
 
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Abe Connally wrote:

paul wheaton wrote:Clearly, if we each build a pond we will each build something slightly different.


I completely agree, it's just nice to know all the options available.



But speaking of options...
Why would someone want to pull the water from the bottom, middle, or top of the pond? I can think of temperature, ice, O2 levels, or wanting to suck out some solids from the bottom.

What say you on this?
 
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My favorite part of Paul's answer is it doesn't need anti-seep collars, making it easier to retro-fit into existing dams.

In my case, I would WANT to maintain a siphon and control the flow with a valve. It would be feeding a livestock waterer from a LARGE pond.
 
R Scott
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Here is another design similar to Abe's: http://www.ponddampiping.com/syphon1.html



It works like an aquaponic bell siphon.

 
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Paul Wheaton's design is vented as long as the drain side is 1 1/2 times the cross sectional area of the intake. In plumbing we call this wet venting. In a climate where ice buildup may become a problem on exceptionally cold days, I would recommend going 2x the cross sectional area for the drain side just to be safe.

On wet venting. http://www.aapgmi.com/Horizontal_Wet_Venting.PDF
 
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Hey Paul its two years later.  Do you have any updates on your pond?  Does it function as intended?  I have recently and hastily built a pond out necessity and plan on building more downstream from this one.  I am curious to know how this turned out.

Thanks
 
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Billy Sawyer wrote:Hey Paul its two years later.  Do you have any updates on your pond?  Does it function as intended?  I have recently and hastily built a pond out necessity and plan on building more downstream from this one.  I am curious to know how this turned out.

Thanks



The pond I build in the pics was in 2005.  I heard back that it was doing great in 2006.   I have not tried the technique since.
 
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