Intro: From Washroom to Garden Pond
Recycling an industrial washroom sink.
I've turned it into a backyard pond. I came across the sink at a company
that I used to work for. The company had decided to renovate the employee washroom and to replace it after only 6 years
of use. It was headed for the scrap steel dumpster I asked for it and they
said that I could have it.
The sink used was a semi-circular Wash-ware counter-top model 3543 from Acorn Engineering Co.
I removed the automatic spray heads and controls and base, I've used a small
submersible pump to spray and circulate water for mosquito prevention.
Cats, squirrels, raccoons, skunks and all sorts of birds really enjoy it, as
well as the friends and neighbors that have seen it.
I made it over ten years ago so no pictures had been taken during the construction phase.
The following explanation is how I remembered how I did it.
If you have any questions or comments it will take a day or two for me to reply.
The attached video file ( August 2013) is of a frog that has moved into the pond and looks like he is enjoying a shower.
Step 1: Gathering the Stuff Needed.
- A large industrial/school sink, mine was a Stainless steel one that came from a former place of employment ( they were going to throw it in the scrap steel dumpster), but try Habitat for Humanity stores, used building supplies store, places that sell demolition salvage materials. i remember some nice terrazzo ones from my school days. The sink is the 1/2 circle size.
- A place to put it your yard.
- A small garden size submersible pump that will fit in your sink one can usually be found for under $40.
- About five feet of vinyl tubing to fit discharge of pump.
- Three nylon or plastic "T's" to fit the tubing, Two 90 degree elbows of the same size.
- A GFI (Ground Fault Interrupter)plugin for your pump should be close by.
- Local stones or rocks to fill in the pond.
- A small piece of semi rigid foam and a small heavy plastic bag also a drain plug to fit the sink drain.
- Assorted tools to take the sink off its pedestal and to take it apart and remove the original spray heads and controls if applicable.
Step 2: Taking Apart the Sink
The sink that I used was for the most part all Stainless Steel and fastened to the base with sheet metal screws that screwed into tabs that were welded to the underneath of the sink, it also had a skeletal frame of galvanized metal.
Be careful when taking apart since you may encounter sharp metal edges on the internal parts of the sink and frame.
The large part of the sink over the sink basin, this is the one that has the spray heads and infrared controls is covered by a lid that has tamper proof screws that fasten it to the top, using a set of needle nose pliers open to the distance of the fastener holes I was able to turn them, they were only 1/2 turn to open. The lid should now come off, you may have to tap it slightly under its edge to free it.
Once inside you will see the existing fittings, wiring, tubing and controls, some models may even have a soap dispenser. Remove all of these parts.
When done looking down into this part you have at least eight or more holes one for each control device and spray head. There is also the hole of the column that holds it above the basin.
Oval holes above spray holes are where the sensors were installed.
The second picture is a close up of the lid and security fasteners.
Step 3: The Spray Heads.
The picture is of one of the Tee's and attached tubing.
Looking into the top you will see four equally spaced holes located on the piece of the top piece between the side and the bottom.
The elbows and tee's should have barbed fittings. Place the fittings in the spray holes and measure the vinyl tubing to fit the fittings, cut with heavy siccors. Between the two middle spray heads place the 3rd Tee between them and measure tubing to suit., connect tubing to fittings if you haven't already done so.
With the piece of tubing left over connect it to the middle Tee and pass this out through one of the other holes and if you have excess tubing wrap it around the column and connect it to the discharge of the pump.
Step 4: Connecting the Pump
The pump I used is about the size of a 12 ounce can of soda, it has a washable foam filter over the impeller, the filter is covered by a slotted plastic cover. Sorry I don't have a picture.
My pump is located underneath the rocks that are leaning against the column on the right side of it.
The 120 vac cord from it heads off to the right of it and you can just see it if you look closely.
The sink drain has a perforated cover over it, remove the screws that hold it in place and remove the cover as well and put off to the side.
Carefully cut a round piece of foam larger in diameter than the drain hole, if the foam you are using is thin make enough pieces so that it will be at least 1.5 inches high. Place them in your heavy plastic bag tie it off and place in the drain leave enough of the bag so you can pull it out to clean or winterize the pond. Place the drain plug in the drain hole as well. Put the drain cover on for mechcanical protection.
Step 5: Filling the Pond
Fill the pond with your garden hose or water from your rain barrels.
Leave it for an hour or so to make sure it doesn't leak.
Plug the pump into a GFI protected electrical outlet, it may take a few minutes for it to prime the line. If you had wrapped the extra hose around the column you can see the progress of the tubing filling.
When the water starts spraying out of the four nozzles you can adjust them for personal preference, they can be kept in place with zip ties and duct tape.
Place the stones you gathered around inside the pond, plant small flowers or plants around the outside edge and put a round planter on top with some trailing type flowers on the top cover.
Depending on your growing season the pond should look like it was always there in a month or two.
Step 6: Maintenance
- Every few days or more often if you live in a sunny or windy area you will need to add about a watering can full of water to the pond to keep the water level up.
- If flow from the nozzles slows down or about once a month unplug the pump take off the filter cover and sponge filter, use a strong stream of water from your garden hose to clean the filter. Before replacing the filter check the pump impeller for any debris; like pine needles or small twigs.After putting the pump back together plug it in and check operation. If one of the nozzles isn't working check the affected nozzle for spiders or insects.
- Unplug the pump.
- In the fall take off the drain cover and remove the drain plug and foam in the plastic bag. Store these items in the top part of the spray head.
- Remove the tubing from the discharge of the pump and let it drain.
- Clean the pump and filter and store with drain plugs, put the cover back on and be sure to fasten the screws down so that it doesn't get knocked off.