Another pond question

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Pigeon Lady, Aug 3, 2004.

  1. Pigeon Lady

    Pigeon Lady Well-Known Member Supporter

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    As most of you probably know we are now looking to buy a farm. The one we are interested in will need a new septic system. We were talking about someday putting in a pond to stock with fish and as a water supply the fire dept. could use if need be. Someone suggested that we have the pond dug at the same time as the septic since the heavy machinery will already be there.

    Does this sound like a good idea or are we trying to take on too much to begin with? Ken S. mentioned a lower insurance rate if water is available at the site so to me that seems to justify going ahead with it.

    Also, I was going to have the soil conservation officer come out to determin the best location. Wondering what kind of fee that will involve.

    Thanks for any help,

    P.L.
     
  2. chickflick

    chickflick Well-Known Member

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    Ken seems to be pretty sharp. Sounds like good advice. Just remember..your pond can never be too deep! Make it so it'll last all summer if a drought comes... sure beats having to water your herd by hand, etc.!
     

  3. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    Around here what they use to install a septic tank is not suitable to build a pond of any size other than a goldfish pond. Certainly the septic tank people are not qualified to handle a pond and vice versa. It takes expertise in unrelated areas and equipment of different proportions.
     
  4. SteveD(TX)

    SteveD(TX) Well-Known Member

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    I agree with Agmantoo. A properly designed and constructed pond takes more than a small backhoe, which will be used for the septic tank. We're talking backhoe (large), dozer (med./large), and possibly a grader. And liner material, if necessary. And analysis of soils. And analysis of your terrain, drainage, annual rainfall, etc., etc., etc. Do it right the first time and you won't be sorry. A friend of mine recently built a 3/4 ac. pond on his property. Cost was $12,000.
     
  5. barbarake

    barbarake Well-Known Member

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    That's not necessarily true all over. Around here (Upstate SC), some of the septic people also do ponds. Obviously a lot depends on your exact situation (size of pond, soil conditions, etc.) and how much digging needs to be done.

    The guys that did my septic will also do my pond (when I get the money together :) ) But I don't require much digging - it's more knocking trees down and putting up a dam. But I know they've done ponds before - maybe not big huge ones (several acres +) but good-sized farm ponds.
     
  6. Pigeon Lady

    Pigeon Lady Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Oh, thanks for that info. I was wondering about the equipment too. We would want it done right.

    I think we will hold off and see how the finances are. Definitely can't afford another $12,000 on top of everything else! Actually there is a very small small spring fed pond/watering hole for the stock so that will save a lot of back ache!

    I appreciate the input.

    Thank you,

    P.L.

    Please keep your fingers crossed that the inspection doesn't reveal any other major problems!
     
  7. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    Yes, contact your local Natural Resources Conservation Agency (may still be called the Soil Conservation Agency) and ask for one of their pond-experienced people to do a site assessment. Cost will be free as you already pay their salary through your taxes.

    It is very important to have an experienced person do it. If there is no source of water, such as a spring, you have to rely on run-off from the watershed. It may take 100 or more acres of watershed to keep a one-acre pond full of water.

    As noted, deeper is better, but you should also leave some shallow area for fish spawning. Think of a donut with a shallow area 2-3 feet deep in the middle and deep and steep around the edges to discourage growth of cattails and such. Leaving a small island in the center with shallow around it would be nice.

    Yep, ponds are expensive. When I have mine put it it cost about $1,000 a day for a large trackhoe, two dump trucks and a dozer. However, consider if you put $12,000 in a pick uip. What will the pond and pick up be like in say 20 years.

    A rule of thumb is a well-built and maintained pond adds three times its cost to your property value. A poorly built one (such as a stagnet mud hole) may lower it as some might see it as a source of mosquitoes and snakes.

    Ken Scharabok
     
  8. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    P.S. I left two islands in my pond. One I'm lettinig grow wild. The other I keep cleaned off with some trees left to grow. It will be where my ashes are scattered.

    Ken Scharabok
     
  9. leigha

    leigha Well-Known Member

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    My dh and I are considering the same thing, but I am a little hesitant about calling any government people to help out with the siting and drainage etc. We've just been on our dream acreage for 3 months now and I'm a little protective. I'm afraid they'll come out and declare it a wetland or something although I know it's not. But you guys think that's what should be done first? I guess I'm just a little too protective!!!!
     
  10. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    Even if it was a wetlands, if there are no endanged species there, they have a concept called 'greater use'. A pond is a greater use (since it serves more wildlife) than a swampy/marshy area.

    When I had my pond put in the area probably could have qualified as a wetlands. I went to the Soil Conservation Agency (name at that time) and asked if there were any offical wetlands on my farmland. Guy looked at his maps and said only the one at the other end of the farm. I said OK, thank you, and had the pond put in. I figure since I asked first, they couldn't come at me later.

    Ken Scharabok
     
  11. UpstateNY

    UpstateNY Active Member

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    When we bought our home there was a small pond. It was turninging into a mudhole. It was almost completely filled with cattails and one winter it froze so solid the frogs and catfish were encased in ice. It was out from our deck and seemed to be a side project from the foundation digging.
    I had the pond dug out and expanded. At that time I had to reroute my septic also, to make room for the larger pond. I had one guy do both jobs. He used a small backhoe and a dozer. He did the septic first then started on the pond. He did hire a huge backhoe and another guy to operate it for two days to do the deep end of the pond. (We went 14 feet deep). He then finished the dam and general finishing around the septic and pond with the dozer and backhoe. In all it took two weeks and $10,000. That was 8 years ago and it is a good 1/2 acre pond. It is boomerang shaped with one side gently sloping from 0 to 8 feet. The other side droped in 3 steps down 4 feet, then 8 then to 14 then slopes back up to the 8 foot mark where it meets the other side. I am sure the bottom has slumped since then and it is no longer stepped, but a steep slope down.
    We have a very clay soil so it is fed by runoff. Most of my nieghbors have a pond of some sort simply because all you have to do is dig a hole and the clay holds water. We were concered with going too deep. Below the clay is shale bedrock and if we hit that then the pond would not have held water as well.
    My advice is think long term, what uses do you want the pond for, (I wanted a wading swimming area for my kids, fish and later a deep swimming area as my kids grew. I still have not built the dock for the deep end, they are still growing). Check with the Soil Conservation people to see some topo and geologic maps and talk to other pond owners in your area. If I saw a pond I pulled into the drive and introduced myself to the owners and talked to them. They gave me the most knowledge and advice. One of them turned out to be the guy that had dug most of the ponds in my area. So do some homework, check around ask for names. I did not use the guy that had dug the most, but the guy that had dug the pond I liked best. On that point different pond diggers have different ideas. Find one that thinks like you. My dad had a pond dug. He had an idea of what he wanted, but the guy he hired said "no no no what you want is...." anyway, my dad is not as happy with his pond now. The guy that had dug most of the ponds in my area told me that there was no need to go more the 6-8 feet. My guy said we would dig till we saw the clay start to run out and if we needed we could use dug material to line back if we hit shale. He even thought about going deep enough to hit shale on the high side and line with the dug clay so that water moving through the shale could help fill the pond. Either way the point is find someone who is willing to do everything they can to dig "your pond" and not someone who wants to just do another of "their ponds" for you.
    Hope this helps, Rick
    Oh and yes a good pond is worth more then a pickup in the long run.
     
  12. JustLearning

    JustLearning New Member

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    Pigeon Lady, how did the property inspection turn out? Did you purchase the property?