Plugging the lake

Clevedon Marine Lake’s technical team came with an ingenious way of fixing a leak this week.

We’d noticed the level of water in the lake dropping, and found a leak next to the sluice gate in the lake wall. Engineers fitted the sluice gate during the 2015 refurb so that we could drain the lake for maintenance. But the pressure of the water inside the lake meant that a small amount was leaking out in between over-topping tides.

That’s when our technical team came with an ingenious but simple plan to stop the gap using sawdust and sand. Tim Clouter, the trustee for Clevedon Marine Lake who looks after the volunteer technical team, realised that sand and sawdust was a time-proven method for blocking leaks. But the challenge was how to get the mixture in the right place.

After chatting through a few ideas, which included Tim diving down in his scuba diving kit or fellow technical volunteer Nick Haliwell going snorkelling, Tim hit upon a very clever hack. “I got the polythene bag that the sand came in and made a quick-release clamp that went on the end,” he said. “We had a pin on a string, and when you pulled the string, the clamp fell off and dumped the mixture in the right place.”

Some of the other volunteers were a bit sceptical of Tim’s idea, but it worked so well that he used the same method to sure up another small leak in the lake wall. Tim then had the job of rescuing a few stranded shrimp who’d been living in the leak on the sea-side of the lake wall and scooping up a bit of sawdust that had got away. But the beauty of Tim’s method is that there was no risk to the lake environment or water quality.

A team of volunteers works hard every single day to look after Clevedon Marine Lake to make it a safe and clean environment for everyone to enjoy. You can support our hard work by donating or volunteering yourself.

You can listen to Tim being interviewed by BBC Radio Bristol here. Please go to 1:17:00 on this clip.