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Purchasing property with ponds, what to look for?
#518216 03/20/20 11:50 AM
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blg2007 Offline OP
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Hello All!

My wife and I are considering the purchase of a small farm in Tennessee. Its around 57 acres and has a 3 acre pond and a 1.5 acre pond on the property. From what I have been told the 3 acre pond was the result of a coal mine revitalization that occurred in the late 70's. The other pond appears to be natural, it's fed by a small creek on the property.

We're under contract on the property with a review period, while the pond is not a major selling factor to the land I do want to ensure it's usable and does not oppose any threats.

I have been told there's fish in the ponds, I cannot confirm that. I have seen some minnows swimming near the banks on warmer days.

Our plan would be to clear out the wooded area between the house build site and pond, creating easier access to the water for fishing and enjoying the water. See satellite image below.

Could you lend advise on what to check with the ponds? The larger pond has a black/brown/green appearance while the small pond is a dark blue green, similar to a lake appearance.

The current owner states the large pond's dam was reconstructed in 2017 due to beaver damage. The dam does appear to be reconstructed; although there's a spillway that currently has a small beaver dam present causing some runoff in alternate areas. There appears to be some leakage from the back of the dam, it could be from the beaver dam blocking the spillway.

[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/UbhiRPVUqd5d9uzW8[/img]
[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/ASXQqXJgToRmJ8M98[/img]
[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/1Cc3MyGdUz31wwgH7[/img]
[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/yZMSWFwr1YnFVyuL6[/img]

Also, one small cove on the pond has an area that appears "rusty", there's a small stream feeding in here that has an orange iron rust appearance to it. I have heard this is common with old mining sites, is this a concern?
[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/1Cc3MyGdUz31wwgH7[/img]
[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/qxdTyqBgg2SRdMth9[/img]

Here's an overall satellite image showing both ponds. It does appear the large pond has some algae growth on it.
[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/KneGZZ67nEdE7pSLA[/img]

Any advise would be greatly appreciated, thank you in advance!!

Last edited by blg2007; 03/20/20 01:48 PM.
Re: Purchasing property with ponds, what to look for?
blg2007 #518262 03/20/20 08:33 PM
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No sure about the pond but my mother in law lived within a few hundred yards from a strip pit and they all had the brownish water around them. It had a pretty bad "sulfer" smell and their well water was nasty. You might want to check with some neighbors and see how their well water is before purchasing the property. My in laws had to put a $3500 filter system in just to remove the smell and other contaminates from the water. We just purchased some property a few months ago with a strip pit and doesnt have the brownish water.

Re: Purchasing property with ponds, what to look for?
blg2007 #518263 03/20/20 08:53 PM
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Orange iron rust is probably what is commonly called 'yellow dog' a very common precipitate from acid mine drainage.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acid_mine_drainage

Leakage on the backside of the dam likely means the dam is not properly constructed and earth layers were not compacted properly. I think this means the dam will eventually need to be reconstructed as a capital appropriation project. I would ask for a reduction in price due to an improperly constructed dam which requires you to eventually rebuild the dam to keep it from failing.

Both ponds are surrounded by trees which means the ponds receive lots of tree leaves in the fall. All the leaf deposits helps fill in the pond with dead organics and thus shorten its life span. The dark water is likely due to all the tannic acid (tannins) leached from high amounts of tree leaves. The blue green water is likely due to a normal spring planktonic microscopic algae bloom which imparts hue to the water.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 03/20/20 09:01 PM.

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Re: Purchasing property with ponds, what to look for?
smcmains #518265 03/20/20 09:36 PM
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Thank you! I will ask around about the well water scenario. I have not noticed a sulfur smell, even where the orange brown water was present.

Re: Purchasing property with ponds, what to look for?
Bill Cody #518267 03/20/20 09:39 PM
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Thank you for the detailed reply! We have received large amounts of rain this year, so it’s very possible what I seen was runoff from somewhere. The weather is looking good for this weekend so I hope to spend some time and do a thorough inspection.

If we purchase the property we would definitely focus a lot of energy into cleaning up the banks and removing a large number of the unwanted trees. Hopefully with some time this would remedy the black water color.


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