Sheet Lead - Pond

I have a circa 1940 gardening book with instructions for creating a pool from sheet lead.
The abutting sheets are to be crimped at 90 degrees, one with 2 inches overhang, the other with 1 inch. The longer is folded over the shorter, then both are bent over and soldered along the seam. The pieces are joined together in that manner into larger sections representing bottom and sides, which are crimped together and soldered.
Can sheet-lead still be purchased? Would the lead surface oxidize over time, as in pipes? The book says this will not harm fish, so I assume either they're are lying, they never tried it, or some sort of patina develops to prevent lead leaching into the water.
The book says copper can be substituted for lead, but from what I've read this would also unhealthy for the creatures living in it.
What are your thoughts?
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I don't know if the dangers of lead were known in the 1940s, but who cares? Why bother with it?
Go find your yellow pages phone book, check under garden centers, and find a place that sells rubber pond liner. I say "rubber", but it may, in fact, be a combination of other things. Whatever. It's a black material about as thick as shoe leather, sold from a roll in the store. Much tougher than leather, but easy to work with. My ex-wife's pond has been in place for 10 years, with no leaks, and the liner takes a beating. If you need a product that's wider than what's sold from a roll, do a web search for flexible pond liner. You'll find the right thing.

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The rubber (plastic) liners can be glued together to form the complex shapes required in ponds. Much safer than lead, particularly where the water may be on the acid side.
Doug Kanter wrote:

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Don't know about ponds but lead pans (under shower tiles) were replaced years ago by plastic.
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these words:

Here, yes, but it's hugely expensive. So valuable that thieves risk their lives climbing on old roofs to rip off the lead and sell it for scrap.

That's also available, but even more expensive.
There are much cheaper, less toxic modern liners available which are far easier to work with. Lead sheet comes on a roll and is very, very heavy to handle. You'd get it from building/roofing suppliers.
Janet (Scotland)
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I've added rec.ponds to this, there are plenty of knowledgable people there who probably know far more then I. I can't imagine that a pond made out of lead sheets would be safe. Keep in mind that most building codes, atleast those in america, ban the use of lead based solder in residential plumbing.
An entire pond made out of lead or copper is going to build up a fairly high level of heavy metals in the water. I suppose you could build the pond shape out of lead/copper, then line it with a pond liner.
-S
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I am assuming a book from 1940 suggests lead or copper because it can be easily shaped and is very durable. With today's technology and hard stretchable rubbers and plastics you only need to use liners of varying types. It is much less expensive and safer for the fish and yourselves.
Snooze wrote:

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Snooze wrote:

I can't say I've ever heard of fish being subject to those kinds of lead levels, but fish are generally not affected by lead. It's a nerve toxin, and fish have much simpler nervous systems than we do. However, I just shudder to think what legal ramifications there might be for you (and possibly even health problems). It sounds chancy.
Copper is _definitely_ not a good idea. You'd not have any snails, dragon fly larvae, hellgramites (OK, you don't really need those!) or other invertebrates.
--
derek

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It would be OK if you didn't eat your pond fish. With acid rain, lead carbonate is a common product in lead lined ponds. Lead carbonate is not soluble in water. However, ponds high in nitrates would have lead nitrate. That is soluble and dangerous. All the anacharis I buy has lead weight strips wrapped around it. Just don't eat the fish.
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It would be OK if you didn't eat your pond fish. With acid rain, lead carbonate is a common product in lead lined ponds. Lead carbonate is not soluble in water. However, ponds high in nitrates would have lead nitrate. That is soluble and dangerous. All the anacharis I buy has lead weight strips wrapped around it. Just don't eat the fish.
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Not only that, but since the water is likely not to meet the EPA's safe water standards for lead, you then have an expensive disposal problem. If you simply discard the contaminated water, then you risk contaminating your soil. If you dump it in the sewer, and your sewer department finds out, then you are going to be in very hot water. Then there is the problem of trying to sell your house at a later date when someone asks you about your lead-lined pond.
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