What Is Sodium Bentonite?
Sodium bentonite is a natural sealant and is used for sealing stock and recreational ponds, dairy and sewage lagoons, and city landfills. It is also effective as a hole plug as well as for controlling dust on highways. Sodium bentonite is one of the "most effective low cost methods" of treating porous soils. It is so effective, that the Federal Government and most states require a liner of sodium bentonite or material comparable, to be used to seal toxic waste lagoons and abandoned water and oil wells. It is environmentally safe, because it contains no chemicals, no additives, nothing toxic.
How Does Sodium Bentonite Work?
Texas sodium bentonite swells 15-18 times its dry size when wetted by water.
Over several years of testing, Sodium bentonite has proven to be one of the most effective sealants on the market. The United States E.P.A. has ruled that all landfills and waste disposal sites must be lined to prevent the leaching of hazardous chemicals into the existing ground water to protect the environment. The fact that sodium bentonite swells many times its mass, then forms a strong water and chemical proof seal makes it an ideal, inexpensive, permanent, and easy to install liner. Sodium bentonite is environmentally friendly and safe to use.
In Actual Field Tests water seepage has been reduced by 94%. Our product is listed on the Texas Register under "Natural Resources." Our product is approved by the Railroad Commission of Texas, Oil and Gas Division as a plugging material in seismic and cathodic protection core holes as specified in Statewide rules #99 and #100. Sodium bentonite is approved by county extension and soil conservation services.
There Are Big Differences in "Bentonites"
There are several companies selling bentonite clay for various markets. Some of these companies are misrepresenting their product because the public they are selling to does not know the difference.
We at Texas Sodium Bentonite, Inc. are trying to educate the public on using sodium bentonite as a pond sealant.
If you are considering using bentonite as a pond sealant, Please read on!
1. There are two types of Bentonite clay.
- One is a sodium bentonite. Sodium bentonite has a natural swelling ability and will maintain its swelling ability throughout its use.
- The other is a calcium bentonite. Calcium bentonite is a non-swelling bentonite. It will not swell without additives or chemicals. Calcium bentonite enhanced with additives will quickly lose its swell...It is short lived.
- It is the swelling ability of the sodium bentonite that enables this clay to bond with the soil to create an impenetrable liner in the soil.
2. Bentonite's are mined clays.
The quality of the bentonite deposits will vary. Some deposits of Sodium Bentonite are very high quality swelling deposits, while others are not as good. Some of the best deposits are deep in the ground and will require many man-hours recovering this bentonite.
So a good quality sodium bentonite begins with a good deposit!
3. Next, the processing of this clay plays a big part in the quality of the end product.
All bentonites will contain a percentage of other minerals; Aluminum Oxide, Potassium Oxide, Magnesium Oxide, to name a few and a percentage of sand and silt. It is the process of removing the sand and silt from the bentonite that will produce a higher quality product. The process of removing most of the sand and silt takes time and is costly.
Some companies are not interested in producing a quality product. Thus they will use poor deposits of bentonite and process the material quickly enabling them to sell their product at a cheaper price. However, if this product were tested, it would probably result in a large percentage of sand; something a leaky pond does not need.
The key to using bentonite to seal a pond is:
- Use a high quality sodium bentonite
- Apply the product properly
- Use the recommended amount based on your soil type and square footage of area being treated.
- And remember: Cheaper is Not better!