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Hi folks -

New member in early stages of pond planning for my property in Broome County, NY. I have 140 acres near Whitney Point, which is roughly 20 mins north of Binghamton.

I have a pond site targeted and have decided to keep the size to about 3/4 acre to avoid too much red tape from big brother. I think the location will offer adequate runoff to support the pond, and based on soil types know I hope to be able to construct a water tight basin.

The challenge I'm having is identifying a contractor that services this area with experience building good ponds. I'm sure I can find excavators that will claim to be able to do it, but would rather hook up with someone with actual experience that is well versed in the proper construction techniques.

Happy to provide more info about my property and general situation, but hoping some fellow members can help identify a few candidates to contract for the build.

Thanks in advance.

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Welcome to Pond Boss!!

You are on the right path by taking the time to select a contractor who knows exactly what they are doing.

Let's see if anyone can point you in the right direction.


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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Welcome Todynot!

Do you know any of your neighbors that have ponds on their properties?

Asking them about who built their pond can provide valuable information ... whether it was a good builder, or a crap builder.

Further, pond builders are also risk averse. However, if the contractor built a nice and easy pond nearby, then he would probably feel more comfortable giving you a reasonable bid in the same area.

Good luck on your pond build project!

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Thanks guys.

I have inquired with neighbors and that may bear fruit, but still TBD. I also received a referral from an excavation contractor I called, who actually hired out his own pond builds to some guy. I'm planning to have him out to for a site visit in the coming weeks.

I've been doing some reading and gathered the "text book" way to construct a pond involves the application of certain steps/techniques that may not be applied by all. I suspect you can have a good pond built without implementing a core trench or using a sheepsfoot compactor, for example, but wouldn't doing it that way provide best odds of success? I'm looking for a professional, not someone who does it his way and it seems to work.

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There are some books available from Pond Boss about building ponds/dams, and for the money, you could save a lot in the long run.

A well built pond will be a joy for many, many decades, whereas a poorly built pond will be a money-hole and eye sore on a daily basis until you die (and that just means you don't have to look at it anymore; it'll still suck for your heirs).


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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The "text book" way includes all of the important elements needed to create a pond that holds water.

The reason there is no universal recipe, is that conditions on the ground are highly variable. The sub-soil materials probably matter the most, but other factors such as presence of groundwater, slope of the land, watershed drainage area, average rainfall, etc. also have a huge impact on how the pond will be constructed.

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Update for those that may be interested…

I ended up discussing the project with the referral I received and got a proposal. It includes a 3/4 acre pond build, plus a 140’ driveway and 50’ x 50’ parking area (both graded and covered with stone). Additional elements are culvert pipe and some ditches to control drainage and all disturbed areas seeded and strawed. Total price is $38k.

The guy said all the right things and I feel pretty comfortable moving forward, but did have one question for comments. He doesn’t install any overflow controls other than a spillway. The spillway would be in a virgin ground area and have fabric and riprap. Does this sound acceptable to the collective?

Thanks.

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My initial questions are:
1. Is there a water shed for the pond or is it basically a dug pond? Overflow may not need to be anything more than a 4" to 6" drain out-going pipe for a distance to get the water to a lower area toward the spillway.
2. Will spillway be grassed, larger rocks 10"-14" dia, or a cement structure?

Last edited by Bill Cody; 05/21/24 08:38 PM.

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Bill -

There is definitely a nice watershed area the spillway could feed into; it’s actually a mostly dry creek bed.

As for spillway construction, as I understood it, it would be cut into virgin ground and be dressed with fabric and riprap to control erosion.

Thoughts?

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Here’s the actual verbiage from proposal listing scope of work:

Pond Project
- installation of pond roughly 3/4 of an acre big and
averaging minimum 12’ deep
- overflow to be cut in on virgin ground to existing
ditch below pond, lined for 30’ with road fabric and rip rap to prevent any erosion
- all disturbed ground will be graded with topsoil, conditioned with soil preparator, seeded and covered with straw
- cut in two swales from new sluice pipe installation entering driveway to shed and one swale from wet spot behind shed building draining down to pond
- install 12” sluice pipe 20 feet long to drain ditch from roadway under new driveway installation
- remove topsoil from roadway 140’x15’ wide to front of shed along with 50’x50’ pad to right of shed for parking and future buildings
- spread gravel on entire stripped area and vibratory compact
- any disturbed grass areas around new gravel installation to be seeded and straw spread

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Quote
There is definitely a nice watershed area the spillway could feed into;
Not water leaving the pond via the spillway.
By watershed I meant where does the fill water come from to fill the pond? Does water drain off sloping land to fill the pond after rains?. Some northern dug ponds have no basic watershed and stay full from rainfall and building roof drains. Some ponds receive water from ground water seeping into the pond. Some ponds are spring fed where streams enter the pond.


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I’d estimate the watershed area to be 20 acres of gently sloping fields. Attached pic shows the area including the proposed pond location. Thoughts on spillway would be appreciated. Thanks.

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A belated welcome to the forum. I have a dug and dammed 1.25 acre pond near Watkins Glen. Have you seen the water flow in your dry creek bed during spring runoff? With 20 acres and 1” of runoff, you might have 72600 cubic feet or 540,000 gallons or water coming in from that dry creek. This would give you the equivalent of 26” of water in your 0.75 acre pond that your spillway would need to handle (spread out over say 24 hours or so so maybe a few inch rise). Up your way I think you get an occasional 3+ inch rain event and Agnes dumped almost a foot so I would just consider the width of the spillway and the maximum historical volume of water you could have to deal with.

I control the flow into my pond (inlet control) but even so have seen the level rise to 4-5” above full pond during a significant rain event. My spillway has a lower section about 6’ wide that gradually rises as it widens to 15’ wide. Since I have a dam I needed a secondary “emergency” spillway that is 6” higher in case we have an “Agnes” event or if the beavers come while we’re on vacation. I have a fabric and stone lined spillway as they are proposing and it seems to work so far. Just keep the potential volume in mind. The ultimate level of the pond seems to be set by the level of fully compacted clay under the fabric and not by the stones on top. Water seems to run along the fabric just fine. I have tried to add a picture during a typical rain event.

The 12” culvert may be OK but you may consider 15” if there is any debris that could be carried downstream to that point. I have a 12” culvert that occasionally overflows if twigs get in the way.

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Listen carefully of RetiredOn40. He has very good historical learned experience with a pond in your region and pond similar to yours. Tell your builder you want provisions for an Agnes flooding event that produces 8"-10" of rain. Emergency spillway is very important for long term integrity of the pond.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 05/23/24 10:50 AM.

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