Early Spring Pond Inspections

Posted: March 16, 2015

If you are a pond owner, early spring is a good time to take a walk around your pond and check to see if any maintenance is needed.

If you don’t inspect your pond regularly and make any necessary repairs promptly, more costly or even irreparable damage may occur.

In doing your inspections and observations, there are several areas to which you should pay attention:

  • Water Quality - Pond assessment should include routine testing of the pond water quality. Water tests are helpful to document existing problems and to monitor for important changes in water quality as well as aid in herbicide selection if needed.
  • Aquatic Plants – Properly identifying any nuisance plants are important, especially if any control measures are needed early in the season. Detailed information on plant ID and control is available in the Pond Management section of the Water Resources website.
  • Dam and Banks - The dam and any exposed banks should be checked to ensure that they have complete grass cover and no erosion. Grass, weeds, brush, and small trees should be occasionally cut from the dam and banks. Keep large, established trees in place.
  • Overflow Pipe - It is especially important to inspect the overflow pipe and remove debris in or near the pipe as they may result in water breaching the dam or continually flowing through any existing auxiliary spillway.
  • Pond Access - Be sure that any roads to the pond are maintained to allow access for safety vehicles. This is especially important if a dry hydrant exists to allow access for fire trucks.
  • Check for Signs of Leaks - The pond water level should be routinely observed to monitor for early signs of leakage. Most ponds lose some water to underground seepage and evaporation. Water loss greater than these few inches, may be attributed to a significant leak that might be visible as a wet area outside the pond.
  • Pond Sediment - Depending on the source of water, ponds may fill up over time with sediment. As sediment fills in the pond, growth of aquatic plants and algae will generally increase, due to increased sunlight penetrating the shallower water. If sedimentation is noticeable, steps should be taken to reduce sediment entering the pond.
  • Safety Equipment - Ponds, like any body of water, attract both invited and uninvited people. As part of your pond inspection, consider safety features (warning signs) and equipment (life buoys) to protect visitors. Mark the swimming area and post safety rules for all permitted water uses.

The information for this article was from the publication, Pond Assessment and Inspection which may be found in its entirety on Extension’s Water Resources website.

Contact Information

Susan Boser
  • Extension Educator, Renewable Natural Resources
Phone: 724-774-3003