Before digging a pond, examine your soil

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ohio

About 18 months ago I began the process of building a new home. What an adventure it has been.

One of the most challenging decisions to make is where are we going to put the new house. I had to know where and how to situate the new house in order to know where to place the leach field for the septic.

I also had to consider where my reserve leach field would be, in case the primary leach field ever failed.

Pond site

How does that apply to pond site feasibility you may ask? Well, before I was permitted for the installation of a septic system I had to complete a septic feasibility.

In a nutshell, a potential homeowner must secure the services of a certified soil scientist. The soil scientist will examine the site and make recommendations on the design of the system based on soil characteristics and profile.

The engineer then designs the septic system based on the soil scientist’s calculations. Sounds like a lot of red tape, but it is all very necessary.

No one wants a failing septic system, and thus no one would want a pond development to fail either.

Professional help

One of the most frequently asked questions that we receive in our office, are pond construction questions. Let me start by saying all local, state and federal guidelines must be followed and requirements met.

If after reviewing all of the rules and regulations a landowner still feels their chosen site would meet the requirements, they should move on to soil sampling.

The best piece of advice I could give anyone would be, hire a soil scientist to examine your soil to see if it is conducive to pond construction.

Soils can be amended and properties changed but often at great cost. In order to save yourself a lot of frustration, time and money, seek out the advice of a professional.

Do it right

As the old saying goes an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. You may spend a little more up front, but it may save you thousands in the long run.

It will also ensure that you have years of trouble free enjoyment from your pond.

We have been on several pond visits in the last couple of years. The hardest thing to do is tell someone that their pond is failing.

That usually means a large investment in order to make repairs. Heavy equipment is readily available these days. Anyone can rent a track hoe, loader or bulldozer at their local rental store.

I would caution anyone: call 811 before you dig and make your second phone call to a certified soil scientist.

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Joe Mayle is the agronomic/natural resources technician with the Carroll Soil and Water Conservation District. He holds an associate’s degree in crop management from The Ohio State University/Agricultural Technical Institute. Contact him at 330-627-9852 or joe.mayle@carrollswcd.org.

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