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#317940 - 01/17/13 07:53 AM Half Acre Pond cost
chris410fortin Offline


Registered: 04/26/12
Posts: 2
Loc: NH
So I have this pipe dream of building a half acre pond on my 3.5 acre piece of wooded property. The main reasons I would like the pond are for a "water feature", basically to look at and accent the property as well as a place for the dog to swim and for furture kids to play. My big debate is are those two reasons worth the potential cost?

As for the site, currently its wooded and swampy, the house is set up about 40 feet on a hill and the area where the pond will go is mucky and wet. right now its a mosquito infested area and im hoping building a pond will make it easier to control them.

There is currently a very small seasonal brook that runs along the property. and connects the wet lands behind my house to a small fire pond across the street, which leads to a larger pond down the road. Im fairly certain that the soil can hold water due to the swampyness.

From reading here its not as easy as digging a hole in the ground and letting it fill with water, but I am hoping thats all I will need to do.

I attached 3 photos, one is an overall that shows the abuters and other local ponds, On the closeup, i sketched in the contours of the land (the pond/swampy area is currently the low area of the land)The potential pond area is currently swampy, but not listed as wetlands. I also attached a picture of the typical conditions.

Would it make sense to tap into the seasonal brook for water or isolate the pond from it? Im thinking I can clear the land myself and then just hire someone to come dig a hole and build up the land to form a small dam to contain the water.

I guess my real question is, how much, ball park, would it cost to have someone one come in and excavate a half acre hole about 4-5 feet deep, the excavated soil could be used around the site, Im thinking no additional fill would be needed and none would need to be removed from the property.


Attachments
overall.jpg (1491 downloads)
closeup.jpg (1121 downloads)
20120812_115337 (Medium).jpg (1152 downloads)


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#317944 - 01/17/13 08:38 AM Re: Half Acre Pond cost [Re: chris410fortin]
Dan Fischer Offline


Registered: 11/13/12
Posts: 19
Loc: western new york
I had a half acre pond dug last summer. It's eight feet deep and cost me $6000. My best advice is to get several quotes.

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#317947 - 01/17/13 09:00 AM Re: Half Acre Pond cost [Re: chris410fortin]
Bill Cody Offline
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Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 9721
Loc: Northwest Ohio - Malinta OH
A hole only 4-5 ft deep in a wooded area in NH will have winter fish kills on a regular basis. Do more homework on ponds and what is desired for a 'healthy' pond in your area of the country. Be aware ponds in woods are always problematic and I always tell people a pond in a woods is your worst nightmare compared to a pond without annual tree leaf inputs. Some wooded ponds can accumulate 1ft or more of leaves per year. Decomposing leaves do two big things to ponds. 1. lots of leaves create big dissolved oxygen demand on the ecosystem often causing anaerobic / anoxic conditions resulting in just about all if not all oxygen consuming aquatic life to die. 2. Lots of decomposing leaves contribute lots of nutrients (mainly nitrogen and phosphorus) to the pond. Abundance of nutrients usually grows an abundance of plants, weeds, algae, duckweed, etc. that are difficult or hard to manage. Large leaf inputs make pond management much more difficult compared to a pond with few if any tree leaf inputs. High organic loads cause short life spans of ponds and are the downfall of many ponds.

The local Soil & Water Conserv. office should have some advice for building a pond in your county. You don't have to follow their advice but it will contribute to your homework assignment.


Edited by Bill Cody (01/17/13 09:31 AM)
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#317948 - 01/17/13 09:16 AM Re: Half Acre Pond cost [Re: chris410fortin]
liquidsquid Offline


Registered: 11/20/11
Posts: 1437
Loc: East Bloomfield, NY USA
Get a few quotes, but understand it costs ~$1K a day to run those machines for 10 hours. There are a lot of variables going into digging a hole, and especially one that will hold water well and not be an eyesore.

If soils are difficult, it may cost more. If they hit some great groundwater flow, you may need to pump and it will cost more, you may hit a vein of gravel or sand and then you may need to bring in clay, etc. Just plan on your quotes being +/-40%, but make sure and hire a contractor with a good pond building record. Also get the book on this site and read through it "Perfect Pond, Want One". I wish I has this resource before I started, but if so, I may have been scared off before I had begun.

Once you choose a contractor, have them come and verify the site has good soils with some test holes over the area you are planning on having the pond. The test holes will provide the pond builder with a great idea if the site has good materials for building, and if the site may be too wet to dig or not.

I have a little over 1/2 acre pond, and it cost me $9K, and averages about 10' deep. It is on a hill-side so it needed enough materials to build the dam. My initial quote was $6K, but the cost went up when my clay layer turned out to be closer to soft concrete. The big dozer struggled to dig it out.

It was all worth it in the end.

As a side-note: If using it for swimming, a 1/2 acre pond should be more like 6-10 feet deep or more. You don't want to touch bottom when the water is low in the middle of summer, or have weeds trailing up between your legs. You may fluctuate a few feet depending on available water, so aim for deeper. Having a shallow pond for safety reasons doesn't help as the bottoms are typically not stand-worthy, being slimy and muck-covered.

Also at least in NY, 9K is competitive with a good pool when you factor in fencing, decks, and supporting equipment.

Do the pond right the first time, it if very VERY expensive to go back and fix mistakes. Great site to get started on though!
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#317971 - 01/17/13 12:10 PM Re: Half Acre Pond cost [Re: chris410fortin]
chris410fortin Offline


Registered: 04/26/12
Posts: 2
Loc: NH
Good info, man its expensive to dig a hole!

7-8 feet deep would be fine, I just figured it would be cheaper to dig a shallower hole.

If I did go through with the project I would try to thin out alot of the overhanging hardwood trees. would pine trees surrounding the pond be as much of a problem?

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#317972 - 01/17/13 12:29 PM Re: Half Acre Pond cost [Re: chris410fortin]
John Wann Offline
Hall of Fame


Registered: 05/16/12
Posts: 1669
Loc: Phelps county, Missouri
My 1/3 acre pond ended up costing me over $7000 last spring.
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#317977 - 01/17/13 12:56 PM Re: Half Acre Pond cost [Re: chris410fortin]
jludwig Offline


Registered: 05/14/11
Posts: 1376
Loc: Central Kansas
Originally Posted By: chris410fortin
Good info, man its expensive to dig a hole!

7-8 feet deep would be fine, I just figured it would be cheaper to dig a shallower hole.

If I did go through with the project I would try to thin out alot of the overhanging hardwood trees. would pine trees surrounding the pond be as much of a problem?


It may be cheaper at the beginning but in the long run it pays to do it correctly.

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#318003 - 01/17/13 05:28 PM Re: Half Acre Pond cost [Re: chris410fortin]
thomasmgp Offline


Registered: 12/08/12
Posts: 30
Loc: South Carolina
Look into government funding. They are going to cover most of the cost of my 8 acre pond. I would hate to know how much that would have been out of pocket with no funding.

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#318005 - 01/17/13 05:44 PM Re: Half Acre Pond cost [Re: thomasmgp]
jludwig Offline


Registered: 05/14/11
Posts: 1376
Loc: Central Kansas
Originally Posted By: thomasmgp
Look into government funding. They are going to cover most of the cost of my 8 acre pond. I would hate to know how much that would have been out of pocket with no funding.


Government funding poses some challenges. Some of the challenges are good, some are just a headache.

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#376336 - 05/14/14 10:54 AM Re: Half Acre Pond cost [Re: chris410fortin]
Big Ponds Offline


Registered: 05/08/14
Posts: 40
Loc: Texas
chris,

be careful. that pond site sounds like a wetland. you don't want to deal with fines for building ponds in wetlands. it can cost a LOT!

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#413827 - 06/02/15 08:59 PM Re: Half Acre Pond cost [Re: chris410fortin]
Adamb14 Offline


Registered: 06/02/15
Posts: 2
Loc: Lewis county kentucky
A reputable area contractor is currently digging test holes on my property. If soil is ok for pond material the pond will be about 3/4 acre but the way the dam will be placed it will only span 80' and widen up to a large pool with 2 drainage fingers off of it. His quote was 7k which included clearing the land. He's dug many ponds for my neighbors that are holding water and has had a contracting business for 30 years. The area is in North eastern kentucky and contractors are much lower priced here than where I live near cincinnati. Does this seem like a fair price or anything I should watch out for. The area is wooded but no mature trees are around.

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#413836 - 06/02/15 09:34 PM Re: Half Acre Pond cost [Re: chris410fortin]
ToddM Offline


Registered: 03/16/14
Posts: 143
Loc: West virginia
My one acre pond cost me $20,000 last year, including removing stumps, mining out some sand and building dam.


Edited by ToddM (06/02/15 09:34 PM)

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#413838 - 06/02/15 09:42 PM Re: Half Acre Pond cost [Re: chris410fortin]
Ben Adducchio Offline


Registered: 10/30/14
Posts: 86
Loc: SW Ohio- Enon, OH
Adam, probably should start a new post with your question but here is some info from my experience.

I am not far from you, up near Dayton, OH. I just put in a ~3/4 acre pond last fall with a price tag of $13,300 for the dirt guy. I received quotes for $18,000, $22,000, $25,000, $28,000, and $32,000. The highest 4 prices included all the materials for my primary spillway. So when I selected the $13,300 quote I spent an additional $5,000 for materials. They removed 9,000 cubic yds of dirt, replaced 500 yds for the keyway and used 1500 yds for the dam. The remaining soil was piled up on site into clay and topsoil piles. The reason I went with my dirt guy was b/c he understood the importance of a core trench and proper compaction not b/c he was the cheapest, that was a nice bonus. I cleared all the trees from the site prior to him starting. So yes, $7,000 is a good price but what does it include?

I would ensure he uses a sheepsfoot, at a minimum, but a vibrating sheepsfoot is better. Dig a core trench and use the best clay on site to fill it. We ran into water and sand which was dug out, replaced with 2 feet of clay, allowed to dry a bit, and then compacted. I would make sure he is willing to do this, it cost me a little extra but money well spent. I would recommend a pipe for your primary spillway and, most important, make sure you put in an emergency spillway. I over designed mine e-spillway a bit b/c there was not an increased cost and you never know when you are going to get a Texas.

Good luck and make sure you spend hours reading the construction section of the forum, it will pay off immensely. Also look into Mike Otto's book, "Just Add Water." I have not read it but plenty of people on the forum have and Mike has more experience building ponds than I have years on this earth!
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#413854 - 06/03/15 05:08 AM Re: Half Acre Pond cost [Re: chris410fortin]
Mike Otto Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/17/03
Posts: 144
Loc: Texas
The price is biased on the amount of dirt that need to be moved and how far----with everything else being equal--NO ROCK OR MUD

It sounds like you have a good site. 80 feet length is not very much dirt.

How deep will the pond be?

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#413867 - 06/03/15 07:42 AM Re: Half Acre Pond cost [Re: chris410fortin]
Adamb14 Offline


Registered: 06/02/15
Posts: 2
Loc: Lewis county kentucky
He is compacting with a sheepshoot roller. The pond will be 12 to 14 feet he said. Most of the dirt is being moved around 100' for the dam

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#414051 - 06/04/15 12:17 PM Re: Half Acre Pond cost [Re: chris410fortin]
liquidsquid Offline


Registered: 11/20/11
Posts: 1437
Loc: East Bloomfield, NY USA
My hillside pond at almost exactly 1/2 acre was ~$9K, 15 feet deep in the deepest part. No compaction so it leaked a bit. I would have gladly paid more for the compaction, but I didn't know any better at the time.
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#414118 - 06/05/15 05:45 AM Re: Half Acre Pond cost [Re: chris410fortin]
Mike Otto Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/17/03
Posts: 144
Loc: Texas
the price sounds good Save the topsoil and make sure it gets put back on the dam when it is completed.

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