No filter is needed in a pondless waterfall? That is correct – a properly designed pondless waterfall needs no filter. It also does not need a centipede module, snorkel vault, or pump housing. The liner industry added all of these unnecessary contraptions to their kits to drive up their profit margins.
I have built hundreds of pondless waterfalls over the years, starting with my first one in 1984 in Fallbrook, California. So, regarding this subject, “A man with experience is not at the mercy of a man with an argument.”
1. Value: Pondless waterfalls constructed with a liner cannot be warranted against holes caused by mice, rats, ground squirrels, gophers, chipmunks, tree roots, sharp objects, etc. However, pondless waterfalls that are constructed with concrete and rebar can be warranted for life. Because of this fact, a professionally constructed pondless waterfall will actually add equity to a home. We have compared the cost of materials and labor (hiring a concrete contractor and rebar fabricator) of both methods of construction and discovered that concrete and rebar pondless waterfalls cost the same or less than liner kits cost, uninstalled still in the box)!
2. Filter: Advocates of pondless waterfalls require you to install a “bio-falls” at the top of the falls for a filter. This is a waste of the customer’s money because it is not needed. Note: this plastic molded box is cheap to produce and returns exorbitant profits, plus it tacks on additional maintenance costs to the client, requiring periodic cleaning.
3. Pump: For several years the promoters of pondless waterfall liners recommended placing a sump pump in the bottom of the collection basin, and then fill it with gravel. I talked to a woman recently who said, when she turned on the sump pump, before the pumped water would return to the basin, the pump was sucking air (the basin was empty). She did not know where the pump was and the installer would not return her calls. A friend of hers found the pump at the bottom of the basin buried in gravel. And, the pump was all plugged up with debris. There is no telling how many thousands of pondless waterfall customers have this very same problem.
4. Needless extras: The pondless waterfall liner guys came up with the brilliant idea of producing a pump chamber with holes in the bottom, or a centipede or snorkel vault. These are all fancy terms for worthless devices for which they can charge more money. All these contraptions do is keep the gravel away from the pump.
5. Correcting two major design flaws: Our pondless waterfalls are designed with a catch basin. It not only does not contain any gravel at all, but it does not utilize an inefficient, high-maintenance, energy-sucking sump pump that only has a one or two-year warranty. Our pondless waterfall basins (constructed of concrete) contain two 8″ anti-vortex suction drains, which feed an above-ground, high-efficiency centrifugal pump which is warranted for three years. The pump uses up to 60 percent less energy, is easy to hide, silent and maintenance free. It utilizes a leaf basket with a “twist and lift” cover for removing debris.
The basin is covered with five or six galvanized grates that are covered with rocks to hide it. The grating holes only allow debris small enough to be drawn through openings in the suction drains where it can be collected in the pump basket for easy removal, thus keeping the basin free from collecting debris. There is no need to ever get into the basin. There is a fail-safe Aquafill water leveler to keep the basin full so you never need to worry about it running dry and burning up the pump. Not to mention that the total volume of the basin is available for water, unlike the liner pondless waterfall that wastes 80 percent of its capacity with gravel. Over several months the gravel plugs up with rotting debris, creating a putrid, slimy, filthy job for the pondless waterfall owner.
6. Last, but by no means least: The reason concrete pondless waterfalls do not need filters is because, unlike the water that slowly moves through the gravel in the basin of a liner pondless waterfall (where the water becomes stagnant from its inability to move freely), concrete pondless waterfalls have an open chamber in the basin, allowing the rapid and free flow of water. This rapid circulation assures that mosquito larvae cannot survive. Nor can algae survive since the basin is covered. This keeps out the sunlight, cools off the water and keeps it clear.
Since a pondless waterfall does not have a pond, you are not dealing with fish food, fish waste, and large quantities of decaying debris. Consequently, there is no need for a filter in a properly designed concrete pondless waterfall. Hundreds of pondless waterfalls since 1984 will attest to that fact.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pond cure. dhoover