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My 20+ year old pond is around 3/16 acre at max pool. Currently the overflow is just a 8foot long piece of 10 inch corrugated culvert pipe with the top at lawn level. The outlet from the pipe is a barely existent ditch that runs 200' to the county drain by the road. Currently there is around 18" of drop from the overflow to the road. The system is so old and overgrown that the pond gets too high and makes the banks and yard a quagmire. When it dries out enough to dig the ditch out without getting the tractor stuck I am going to try to lower the ditch a good foot maybe two at the road and dig out the rest to get some more aggressive fall. The part I'm not sure about is the overflow system. The culvert is fairly easy to block with leaves as I need a fairly tight screen to keep the fish from swimming downstream into the ditch and ultimately ending up dead in my front yard when the water level drops. Because of the marginal ditch currently during heavy rain events, the water in the ditch will actually flow back through the culvert into the pond and I want to prohibit that. I don't really want to have to dig out the bank to put in a reverse siphon pipe if I don't have to. I was thinking to try to make a spillway around 4feet wide with the idea that I can easily keep that clean and the overflowing water shouldn't be very deep over top of the spillway so maybe fish won't escape?

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pond.jpg (32.5 KB, 228 downloads)

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Here's Jon's picture:

[Linked Image]

Jon, can you show more pictures of the actual outflow pipe, and the exit from the pond?


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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hermit Offline OP
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I attached a pic of the pipe and screen pond side and the outflow side with ditch

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overflow pipe.JPG (147.12 KB, 180 downloads)
ditch outflow.JPG (158.94 KB, 179 downloads)

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Here's the pictures:

[Linked Image]

and

[Linked Image]


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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Jon, so, is the actual 'outlet' pipe true horizontal, or does it have some fall to it?

I think digging a deeper trench from the pond to the road should be of some help, but its tough to say with what info we have so far.


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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hermit Offline OP
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The pipe is either flat or slightly sloped to the pond. I am going to start at the road and dig as deep as I can to get down to county drain level and then work my way back to the pond overflow ensuring there is a defined drop after whatever overflow barrier I end up with. I will pull out the culvert once the water level drops. Last year the level dropped almost 3 feet by August. I want the normal high pool to be 6" lower than it is now to promote dry yard and banks. I haven't been able to find much info on using a spillway as an overflow on a tiny pond and was hoping to get some info on best practice for a renovation. Or if I am overthinking the overflow, a reality check.


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If you are going to re-work the outlet pipe when the pond level is lower, you may want to pursue a more "L" shaped outlet pipe, with the long part of the "L" being horizontal, or slightly sloped.

If you did that, you could have some side holes, 1" in diameter, in the upper part of the vertical part of the "L." Those holes would be just at the pond level you desire and would gradually bleed off excess water, to ease pressure on the ditch, and then with heavy rains, water would go over the top of the pipe. An outer 'collar' can also be put over the vertical part of the "L" which would drain water from a lower level in the pond, if desired.


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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hermit Offline OP
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I'm not following the collar idea. Is there a picture you could point me to?


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Maybe this is what you are referring to? The collar would block holes to achieve the alternate levels?

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[Linked Image]


In this picture, the circular holes in the vertical part of the pipe are the first line of defense to take water out of the pond. If things were as pictured, those holes would remove the water at that same level of the holes in the pipe.

Let's say that vertical pipe was 8" in outer diameter.

Now, let's say you slid a 10" pipe over that 8" pipe. The pond would drain from those same holes in the 8" pipe, but the water would come from the lower edge of the 10" pipe that is underwater. The 10" pipe would have a cross-member near it's top that would rest on the top edge of the 8" pipe. The cross-member would be put in the 10" pipe so that the lower, underwater end of the 10" pipe was at the depth you desired.

Clear as mud??


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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hermit,

The discussion of your problem is a little difficult to follow since you are listing multiple issues.

The "normal" water level is always set by the "spill point" in a gravity drain system.

What is the highest point in your drainage system? Is it the downstream outlet of your culvert? (I believe it would be if your culvert is sloped back towards the pond.)

If the culvert is sloped steeply enough, then you can lower the "normal" water level in your pond by cutting off some portion of the downstream segment of your culvert. If there is a point on the drainage ditch that is higher than the culvert, then that is your "spill point" and you can set the level of your pond be excavating that high point to the desired elevation.

You also mention that water flows back into the pond from the drainage ditch during heavy rain events. Does the water elevation of the ditch system (including the county drain) rise above the level of your pond, or do the localized flows of water overwhelm the capacity of your ditch and cause water to flow back into your pond? Those are two very different problems that require different solutions.

I believe you need to optimize your solution to these problems first, and then the discussion can address your leaf exclusion/fish retention problems.

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To say there are multiple issues doesn't even come close... Currently the ditch that is supposed to take the excess water from the pond to the county system has areas higher in elevation than the desired pond level as it has been neglected for 12 years. The culvert is about 1/3 full of mud. The way the system (doesn't)works right now is the water doesn't start flowing towards the county drain until the pond level is 4-6" above desired level. There is very little fall from the pond to the poorly situated pickup at the county drain so the water does not move quickly out of the pond. If the rain is substantial, the pond continues to fill and breaks the bank directly south (down in the pic) and migrates across the yard towards a swale that eventually directs water to the county drain at the road. This is not a designed overflow path.

Maybe important info to the discussion. The water source for the pond is the local water table and surface runoff from 5 plus acres. When the water table is high like spring and fall and it rains the pond can overwhelm the culvert/ ditches ability to remove water in hours. I think the system needs to have a better ability to handle rapid inflow/outflow of water.

My thinking behind a spillway configuration is that is should be able to handle vast amounts of water without getting plugged by fallen leaves or muskrats and all of the water will go into the designated ditch. The attached image is kinda the picture I had in my head. Step in the middle to set the desired pond level and if that is overwhelmed then the pond can go over the higher part, but all being captured by the ditch.

My apologies for being confusing, I so new to this that I don't have a handle on just how much I don't know yet.

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spillway.JPG (25.71 KB, 124 downloads)

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Here's Jon's conceptual idea/picture:

[Linked Image]



Jon, if that ditch has areas that are 'clogged' or overgrown, or just neglected, getting it corrected should go a long way towards solving your problem. Of course, that's just with my limited understanding of your problem.


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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Originally Posted by hermit
To say there are multiple issues doesn't even come close... Currently the ditch that is supposed to take the excess water from the pond to the county system has areas higher in elevation than the desired pond level as it has been neglected for 12 years.

Good update. I was guessing that was one of the problems.

I would recommend fixing that one first and then moving on to the others after you can observe your results.

Can you hand shovel out the high spots on the drainage ditch, or are you going to need power equipment to do it "right"?

(I have rented a mini-excavator a few times for projects at my farm. They are surprisingly easy to master for simple excavation projects.)

If you are going to re-slope the ditch with power equipment, try to maintain a constant slope to the county ditch. That will decrease the erosion tendency of your new and improved drainage ditch.

Also, immediately re-seed any new slopes of bare dirt that you create. You do not want the next big rain to fill your ditch with fresh sediment!

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Yes, as soon as the ground is dry enough to get equipment on it I will be digging the ditch deeper and wider. I know how to do that part.

We had .01" of rain this morning and the pond is high enough to just go through the culvert. Pics are standing on the bend in the ditch. First is looking SE at the pond, second is facing west looking down the "ditch" towards the road. I tried to dig it out last fall and this spring but the tractor just get stuck. There are tons of roots and stumps to work through in this project so it's going to be an adventure. Best case I can hope for is probably 24" from the ideal high pool pond level to the county ditch at the road over 266' That's not nearly as much vertical room to work with as I would like.

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outflow with water.JPG (157.93 KB, 28 downloads)
ditch to road.JPG (116.48 KB, 27 downloads)

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Good deal on you having equipment. 266' of hand digging is not fun!

I think 24" of slope should be sufficient. It does not have to be perfect. If you do get some erosion later in a few spots, then you can always put in some stone or a little chuck dam with cut logs. (It does look like you are near other houses, so I assume everything you do has to be somewhat "attractive".)

If you are going to have an excavator or backhoe attachment, you might want to take out a few scoops of dirt near the pond side of your culvert. This would create a sump that is lower than the bottom of the culvert. You could then install a second screen in the "channel" leading to the culvert. This screen should only extend a few inches below the surface of the water, but NOT to the bottom.

This screen is to catch leaves BEFORE they get piled up on your fish screen on the culvert. When the leaf screen gets clogged, water will still flow under the screen and into the culvert and your pond will not flood over the top of your embankment.

Hopefully, you can clean the leaf screen when you see a big storm in the forecast.

The sump below the culvert will also catch some sinking debris. That debris will try to clog your culvert when you get a high rate of water flow through the culvert after a big rain. You should therefore clean out your sump periodically to ensure your culvert does not get clogged.

Good luck on improving your pond! It looks like a beautiful scene.

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Hmmm. A pond down the road has a ring of head size rocks in front of their overflow. I'm wondering if they have a similar setup. Maybe I should go look at their setup closer. In my pond during July and August the sump would be high and dry so it would be easy to clean out.

Last edited by hermit; 05/20/22 08:49 AM.

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I plan to shape the ditch so that I can run the mower through it to keep growth down and in the fall it will be easier to collect leaves.


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Jon, which "Zeeland" are you in?


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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hermit Offline OP
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Maybe something like this? I could lower the grassy area on top of the culvert to be lower than any other bank on the pond so if the culvert gets overwhelmed the overflow will run over that area and into the ditch.
[Linked Image]
hey I figured out how to get the attachment into the post.

Last edited by hermit; 05/20/22 09:22 AM.

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I like the idea of shaping the ditch to be easily mowed. That is doing it the "right" way the first time.

I also like the ring of rocks (maybe with some underwater screens?) as a first layer of protection to keep leaves and fish off of your screen on the culvert.

Does anyone fish your pond? If so, you could place one large, flat rock in your ring of rocks. I think that would look attractive AND be a magnet spot for kids to cast from while fishing in your pond.

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As regards your emergency overflow spillway: Most emergency spillways are routed around a corner of the dam, or at least away from the primary spillway. The main reason for this is in the event of serious erosion in the emergency spillway, the damage will NOT cut through your valuable structures or your dam core. Repairs are then much simpler after the damaging flood event subsides.

If you are still planning to create an emergency spillway low spot, I would design it to slightly be offset from your existing culvert, but still easily connected to your improved drainage ditch.

Good luck on your project!


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