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How do you drain a pond?
#49534 08/31/04 08:16 PM
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Subject line says it all....well, mostly. I did a search for draining ponds/lakes and it seems that everyone knows how to do it already, but for the layman like myself...

How is it done? What do you need to be aware of when doing it? I'm assuming you would use some sort of pump or syphon system, assuming you don't cut the dam, but how is that done? Also, should you drain it slowly so that you don't flood land that isn't yours? If someone could explain the basics of draining a pond/lake, I'd appreciate it. Thanks!

Re: How do you drain a pond?
#49535 08/31/04 08:22 PM
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Several ways to skin that cat. The decision will somewhat hinge on the reason you are draining it. Cutting the dam is partially effective, but then you have a dam to repair. If you are simply going to deepen a small pond, siphoning or pumping could be the best option.
Remember, most ponds have an area which sits below natural ground level..the area where dirt was borrowed to build the original dam. It's called the "borrow pit." Water won't flow out of there by itself. It needs help, so you will be pumping anyway.
If you intend to do peripheral work, siphon over the top of the dam with 4-8" PVC, do the work, and let the pond refill. Run your pipe, with a one way foot, inside the pond, as far down as you can. Bring it up your dam, then over the top. At the top, install a valve, choked down to garden hose size. Then, run the pipe down the backside of your dam, all the way to the bottom. Install a cap, or a valve...depending how much money you wish to spend (or if you want to permanently install the siphon at some point) Close the backside valve, then fill the pipe with water via the small garden hose size valve. Close that valve, open the big one, and water will flow. Now...you can also use small flexible hose by getting into the pond,(one end of your hose taped shut), fill the hose, cap the other end, then drag it over the top of your dam (with a friend), then open each end at the same time.
That's a cheaper way.


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He can teach to catch fish...
Re: How do you drain a pond?
#49536 08/31/04 08:56 PM
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First of all, thanks for the response. It sounds easier than I thought. I'm in the process of purchasing some land in East Texas that contains three lakes. Their sizes are difficult to estimate, but I would say they are probably 8, 12, and 15 acres. However, they are pretty old, maybe 60-70 years old. I seriously doubt they've ever been maintained. The first order of business, assuming I get them, is to have a complete inspection done to determine everything from types of fish present, depth, problems with dam, etc. Based on this information, it may be nessesary to eventually drain one or all of them to fix problems, improve underwater structure, and remove sludge buildup, etc.

Questions:
1. How long would it take to drain a 10 acre lake with an 8" syphon? For sake of argument, let's say it's 15 feet at it's deepest point (I have no idea on this number).

2. With that much water flowing out of the lake, is flooding the downslope side a concern?

3. Is this something that can be left in place, or do I run the risk of some kid opening both valves and draining the lake when I'm not around?

4. Lastly, what are the approximate material costs associated with this?

Thanks again!

Re: How do you drain a pond?
#49537 09/01/04 04:45 AM
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Evaluation tells you much of what you will want to know. So, we are getting a little ahead of ourselves by assuming any of these lakes must be drained.
You may find each one has a pipe..you may find them in better shape than you expect..you may find you like them as is, with no need to drain..you might......
1)I don't know fluid dynamics, but an engineer can tell you how long it takes to drop the lake with an 8" pipe. Common sense tells me two to three weeks, if it's not raining.
2)Not if you make the pipe long enough to extend well beyond the back toe of the dam, into the creek which was dammed in the first place.
3)You can buy a valve with a device to put a padlock.
4)Measure the distance, then call the lumberyard and ask them how much pipe costs, per foot. Ask the cost of a valve (8" valves are expensive), the different ells and couplings, and you can get an accurate estimate of materials.


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He can teach to catch fish...
Re: How do you drain a pond?
#49538 09/01/04 06:04 AM
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also , you might want to do an inspection before you sign the deal. there was just a thread on inspecting ponds before you sign. it could save you thousands in the future. gl \:\)


i only wanted to have some fun
Re: How do you drain a pond?
#49539 09/01/04 10:53 AM
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Thanks Bob and Ken for your replies. Ken, I doubt that even a terrible inspection would talk me out of it. But I agree that it is probably the best course of action. If and when I get it, I'll have to post photos.....

The wait has been killing me. All I can think of is what about this....and what about that. Thank god for Pond Boss!

Re: How do you drain a pond?
#49540 09/02/04 10:46 PM
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Please rethink. Ken is right on. Even if you have put up earnest money, don't let your passion overcome good sense. There may be good reasons not to buy the property. And, if there is, you should know now, not as your hair turns grey. After all, you shouldn't be the skinned cat.
There are other properties out there, trust me.
I just analyzed a lake for a man on property outside Terrell, Texas. Old lake, near the road, surrounded by lotus. Land was overpriced, and he chose not to buy.


Teach a man to grow fish...
He can teach to catch fish...
Re: How do you drain a pond?
#49541 09/04/04 12:17 PM
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I posed the question to my Dad, and thought I'd post his e-mail response:

An acre is 43,560 square feet. An acre-foot is one foot deep so that makes 43,560 cubic feet of water. One cubic foot contains 7.8 gallons so 7.8 times 43,560 equals 339,768. Say 340,000 per acre foot. A lake with 25 acre-feet (5 acres x 5' average depth) would contain 8-1/2 million gallons.

To drain in 14 days would require 607,000 gal/day or 25,000 gal per hour or 421 gal per minute which is a lot. I am in the process of trying to determine how much water would siphon out of the 4" pipe you described. A lot would depend on the distance the discharge is below the water level. I am estimating at least 10 feet, maybe up to 20 feet. Each foot of water adds 0.5 psi pressure so 10 feet below would be the equivalent of 5 psi pressure going thru the 4" pipe.

He also located a great website for calculating the amount of discharge by inputing various factors, like size of pipe, number of 90 and 45 degree turns, etc. Very interesting.

http://www.sahra.arizona.edu/programs/water_cons/resources/pipeToFlow.htm

Re: How do you drain a pond?
#49542 09/04/04 08:47 PM
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One minor correction one cubic foot conatins 7.48052 gallons of water thus an acre foot contains 325,851 gal. usu rounded to 325,850 gal.


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Re: How do you drain a pond?
#49543 09/05/04 12:52 PM
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Keep in mind that it is a good idea to draw down at 12" / day or less; this is to allow the water content in the soil, and in the dam in particular, to decrease. A faster drain could result in sloughin of the dam face or pond sides, especially if they have a steep slope. BTW, I drained my 3/4 acre pond quite easily with 3" thinwall pvc pipe. I made a flapper-type check valve for the pond side, and used a cap on the discarge end. If the water is warm a cap on both ends would work just as well.

Re: How do you drain a pond?
#49544 09/16/04 11:40 AM
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When I drained my 1.5 acre pond about 9 ft AVERAGE depth it took 5 days with no raind through a 4"pvc siphon pipe.


John
Re: How do you drain a pond?
#49545 09/21/04 07:27 PM
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The questions that you are posing are the same ones that i had a year ago. i bought a 7 acre pond that was about 30 years old and silted in around the edges. i cut part of the dam and let out a majority of the water through it. the remaining part had to be pumped out with a 6" diesal pump that took about six days. it then required using a 3" pump about once a week to keep it pumped out enough to dry. The drying part took about 3 months before any excavation could take place. mike Otto is supposed to finish this week but it is supposed to rain on friday which will require more pumping. I'm tired of pumping and my wife is tired of the mud.


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