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#550986 07/31/22 08:21 PM
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Hello everyone,

First off, I'm not only new to the site, I'm completely green when it comes to ponds. I am in the middle of having an old over grown beaver pond dredged and an overflow added since there wasn't one; don't know why the beavers didn't put one in. Anyway, my contractor originally requested an 50' x 18" thick wall steel pipe system; 40' stretching under the dam, and 8' standpipe/riser for the pond overflow. After discussing the $13k cost for just the materials and fabrication, we went back and forth and agreed on 12" thick wall steel pipe under the dam (which I picked up new on Facebook for over $11k less), with whatever size I chose for the standpipe/riser. Now, his original idea was to install the 18" pipe with an earthen emergency spillway on one end of the dam. What we are doing instead is a smaller standpipe/riser, with a 12" plastic culvert slightly higher than the standpipe/riser, and an emergency earthen spillway off on one end of the dam. I think this will work, the question I now have is 8" or 10" standpipe/riser? The 8" is readily available and very cheap. The 10" has been hard to find; retailers want nearly what I paid for the 40' of 12" for just 10'. However, I've found some used 10", just not very convenient to get to and transfer. So, would the 8" be enough?

Some background here, the pond is approx 1/3 acre, with the deepest area just over 8'. And I'm not sure about rainfall/heavy rain periods, but there has always been a spring feeding into the pond with a constant flowing trickle, and a foundation drain around the house, also dumping a trickle of ground water. Before the dredging, a notch in the dam was created to lower the water level to rid of the beavers. That was done 20 years ago and it worked; water level dropped approx 3' and beavers were gone. So, for 20 years, the only spillway for water was an 18" wide dug notch into the dam itself; no pipe, rock, nothing. Nothing ever eroded, and water never has reached anywhere near the top. The contractor suggested 18" not because of the volume of water, but because he knows it's overkill and will work, plus that's just what he's always done. I think the 8" standpipe/riser with a 12" culvert should take care of it all, with the earthen spillway likely never being used, but I would like to know the thoughts of those experienced. Will 8" plug up far easier than 10" or any other problems with the smaller pipe I'm oblivious to? Are my three methods of discharging overflow a great idea that will work, or a flop that will lead to several headaches?

And lastly, what about escaping fish. From what I've read, it's best to not screen overflows with anything to prevent fish from escaping during heavy rain periods. Sounds like losing some fish is normal from time to time, most important thing is to have the water flow; fish are far more cheaper and easier to replace than an eroded or blown out dam. Thoughts?

Last edited by Johnny821; 07/31/22 08:22 PM.
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It's a combination of the size of the pond, the type of vegetation on the watershed, the type of soil in the area and how much rain can fall in a 50 to 100 year rain event. Earthen spillways tend to erode and wash out, that is why they are only used for emergencies. Go to your counties NRCS office and talk to their pond guru. They can pull up the watershed around the pond and properly size the overflow pipe. If the 18" pipe was spec'd out and you dropped the size to 12", I'd be concerned that it is too small and would put in two pipes both 12" dia.

https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/contact/local/


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I have a six acre pond and have two 24” black plastic double wall pipes for my overflow. So far no problem with it handling the overflow ( when it is full). I have a retention pond just on the other side that does catch small fish that I usually trap and return (sometimes) to the main pond. This year we are down about 2’ so far with no rain in sight for months to come. La Ninya is to thank for that. The overflow has worked good for us. They wanted to put in a 24” syphon system out of carbon steel pipe….. too much money and chance of it rotting out., so we went with the flow through of 2 24” pipe

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Johnny, not sure I’m reading this right. But, I’m not too wild about an under the dam overflow system. If anything goes wrong, the water would all have to be drained and all rebuilt. Most of us go through the dam at whatever top water level we want(or can get).


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Thanks guys for the replies, much appreciated. Esshup, 18" pipe wasn't spec'd, it's just what the contractor always installs; being overkill, he doesn't need to think/calculate anything. But at a nearly 250% increase in the cost of pipe, overkill isn't reasonable. I've researched sizing pond overflows and found three sites with tables/calculations based on my square acreage (1/3). One site said 3"-4", another site 6", and the third site said 10"; hence why I came here. For comparison, my neighbor across the street has a slightly larger pond in square acreage and depth, and has only a 10" culvert pipe with an emergency earthen spillway, and in 30 years, never had a problem.

Pat, I'm going to upsize the black plastic culvert pipe to 15". I would assume with an 8" standpipe/riser, in conjunction with the 15" horizontal culvert pipe, it would be more than adequate given a total orifice of 23" to discharge water. I also forgot to add that I will be adding a bell mouth to the standpipe/riser opening at the top, to reduce the chance of the 8" standpipe/riser clogging. I'll also have a small retention pond below the back side of the dam, so I guess I'll likely be doing the same as you regarding fish.

Dave, I'm likely explaining incorrectly. I thought the idea didn't make sense at first either, but after researching it more, I found most ponds and lakes utilized this type of drain instead of or with a horizontal culvert pipe.

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Epphus, just researched the USGS and FEMA flood maps, and appears I am no where near an area of concern. The entire town is not shaded, except a small area around a lake well south of town in a low lying area. I've seen complete monsoons, and a little 18" dug hole in the dirt handle it, while I watched a raging river from my french drain spilling down towards it.

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I am no expert but what your talking about does not set right with me. The pond size is not what you look at for your emergency drain, it is the drain field that drains into it. Pluss the height of the dam above the main spill way pipe which determines the amount of rain your pond will hold before it goes over the top and washes out.
I have heard of using a smaller vertical pipe than the horizontal. To help with clogging. But in my uneducated mind your choking it down way to much. If you have a 8 inch riser and then bell that yet more on top you probably need only an inch bigger horizontal pipe. There is only so much water that can go threw an 8 inch pipe and an 18 inch pipe can take 2 to 3 times that amount.


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OK just reread your 1st post you are sizing the main spillway not the emergency drain. But I would still not change size of the vertical pipe other than the bell on top. You will need to make it so when the beavers come back ( and they will ), they can not block drain very easily.
Brother has a 2 acre pond that 40 acres drains into and has a 12 inch pipe and has worked great for the past 10 years. We even went threw a 13 inch rain once.


61 acre water shed lake. bass, channel cat, black crappie, wiper, walleye, redear sunfish, blue catfish and bluegill. To many bullhead and common carp
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Johnny,

I think you should download USDA Handbook No. 590

Ponds - Planning, Design, and Construction

It does not directly show all of the civil engineering for constructing a large pond. But their recommendations are based on that engineering.

There is a big section on surface run-off into the pond and designing the correct spillway to match that expected water flow.

There is also a section on drop-inlet pipe spillways:

"The diameter of the riser must be somewhat larger than the diameter of the barrel if the tube is to flow full. Recommended combinations of barrel and riser diameters are shown in the tables. In these tables the total head is the vertical distance between a point 1 foot above the riser crest and the centerline of the
barrel at its outlet end. Because pipes of small diameter are easily clogged by trash and rodents, no pipe smaller than 6 inches in diameter should be used for
the barrel."


I hope this helps. Good luck on your pond project!

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Johnny821, how many acres of watershed will flow into your pond? Like was said above, it's not the size of the pond it is how many acres of watershed "feed" it.

If you are determined to figure it out yourself vs. asking people that are trained how to do the calcs, then I would strongly recommend downloading the USDA booklet and going through it. It's a lot cheaper to do it right the first time than to have to re-do it later.


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A Bottom Withdrawal Siphon Spillway is much less expensive and can move a lot of water much faster than a standard spillway during a rain event. My pond has about an 11 acre watershed and I put the system in a couple of years ago when I rebuilt the dam. I used 4" schedule 40. I wish I would have used 6".

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My watershed is supposed to be 240acres but I doubt that is right.. all woods and sand. Anyway I put in 2/24” culverts for the spillway. It’s only been used 2-3 times in almost 10 years. We don’t get the rain here for some reason. A 2” rain won’t add much to pond due to no runoff even with a large watershed

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Originally Posted by Pat Williamson
My watershed is supposed to be 240acres but I doubt that is right.. all woods and sand. Anyway I put in 2/24” culverts for the spillway. It’s only been used 2-3 times in almost 10 years. We don’t get the rain here for some reason. A 2” rain won’t add much to pond due to no runoff even with a large watershed


Better off to have it and never need it.

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A customer's 1 acre forage pond was drained down when we seined it last Monday. He drained it further when we finished to almost zero and applied hydrated lime to kill any remaining fish. That evening he had a rainstorm and the pond filled and overflowed Tuesday. Yesterday he had a big enough rain event that the forage pond and the main pond became one......


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Thank you for the replies, and sorry for being mia...work picked up, a lot. I had the watershed looked at and it was determined I have approximately less than a 2 acre watershed. I also ended up going with the 8 inch riser for the main spillway, and two 12" culvert pipes for an emergency spillway. Based on the watershed area, that is more than adequate. Next question I have is that the contractor insisted on steel pipe, and where the riser is welded to the barrel pipe is my only concern as it is the first place to rust through and fail. I'm considering coating yhe joint with a metal primer, flex seal, tar, or something. What do you all recommend for that?

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If the contractor insists on something that you do not want like steel pipe that will rust out, I recommend a different contractor. You are just asking for trouble employing someone who insists on inferior materials against your wishes. It is remarkable how hard it often is to find a good pond contractor. I was really lucky on my 1st pond, but that contractor retired. My 2nd pond was tough and took 4 different contractors and it still has flaws. I built my last 2 ponds myself, the last of which appears to leak. I suspected it would because I really could not seal up some sand veins properly with my small equipment due to the "quick-sand" conditions. It seems to stabilize about 4' below full pool and might seal up over time, but I know that is wishful thinking. It will still make great wildlife habitat and support fish. The FHM are reproducing like crazy. Have not settled on what else to add. Best of luck on your project!

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I have seen several steel pipe overflows fail after many years, and have replaced a few for customers over the years, I just havent quite figured out why they still use them when PVC is so much easier and lasts absolutely indefinitely if installed properly. I also do know that some old timers are set in their ways and were taught back in the day that that was the way to go, so in their mind I guess, its still the way to go.
That being said, this fellow wanting to put an 18" overflow in a 2A water shed is beyond crazy, for that amount of money you can put in a 6", max 8" over flow and add an additional 2' of free board in a 1/3A pond. like you said, its been overflowing thru a 2' earthen ditch for 20 yrs without washing completely out so the water velocity and volume cant be that enormous. smh
I got a dollar says he had access to some 18" steel pipe that he was going to use up.


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I agree that the life expectancy of PVC is greater than it is for steel.

My question is about how difficult it is to seal the connections in large diameter PVC?

I know my confidence on perfect seals for pressure applications goes down when I am working with 4" PVC. Can an experienced dirt contractor easily work with 12" or larger PVC by utilizing specialty tools, using experience, etc.? Are tiny leaks acceptable since it is not a pressure application or a siphon pipe?

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I have straight-line green gasketed sewer-pipe drains in 3 of my 4 ponds and one wetland. When pressed together tightly, they are watertight. I also have white sch-40 glue-type stand-pipe drains in 2 other wetlands. I don't recommend 4" drain due to clogging, but they don't leak.

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Originally Posted by FishinRod
I agree that the life expectancy of PVC is greater than it is for steel.

My question is about how difficult it is to seal the connections in large diameter PVC?

I know my confidence on perfect seals for pressure applications goes down when I am working with 4" PVC. Can an experienced dirt contractor easily work with 12" or larger PVC by utilizing specialty tools, using experience, etc.? Are tiny leaks acceptable since it is not a pressure application or a siphon pipe?

I took a little two hr course one time on PVC pipe gluing, its amazing what that stuff does and is capable of if done correctly, a 4" pvc pipe, properly glued, will hold nearly twice what the pipe is rated at if put under pressure. and larger diameter pipes are pretty much the same way, the problem is the size is a little harder to deal with because of the volume of coverage that is required, but can easily be done with bigger brushes, primer cannot be allowed to dry before adding the glue and socketing the two together, which on large pipe will probably have to be done with a machine to get it to bottom out quickly.
I had to redo an overflow one time where a pond builder had used socket joint pipe but didnt have the dam properly compacted on the back side and the dirt slid a little as it was settling and pulled the pipe apart so we had to start completely over with the overflow pipe. I used 14" socket joint waterline in my pond without any problems because I know how it was compacted, and as insurance I stuck several stainless steel lag screws thru the pipe joints right behind the gaskets, in effect bolting the two pieces together.


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Thanks for the follow up info!

RAH,

What was the diameter of gasketed sewer pipe you were able to install? Did you do that size with two people, or did you have to use one of your machines to push on each added joint to make the connection?

gehajake,

Did you have to use some of your commercial equipment to join and lay your 14" waterline? Did you use some type of bailing tool to help push on the pipe, or just push on the end very carefully?

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The one that I installed myself was only 6", and I used ratchet straps to pull them together (using the proper casket grease). With 2 ratchet straps, it was easy. I added an elbow on the pond side a year later to raise the water level and needed to make a wooden jig so the ratchet straps would pull it on evenly. I have 15" and 12" on my other 2 ponds and they used machines to push them together.

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Machines are our friend, Fishinrod, a block of wood and a good helping of lube, (pipe layers KY jelly) and they go together pretty smoothly.


All the really good ideas I've ever had came to me while I was milking a cow.
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Bigger pipes you can use cable come-alongs too. There is glue that has a slower set time also - gives you more working time.


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Thank you all for the reply. Unfortunately due to.not being an expert myself, I had already had the steel.pipe installed. Barrel pipe under the dam is 1/2" thick wall and riser is 1/4". I was thinking of applying metal primer and maybe automotive paint to the transition weld and the riser. Thoughts or better ideas???

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