Information about Ponds


Permits for construction of ponds may be required by the Pennsylvania Dam Safety and Encroachments Act.  The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) regulates ponds and pond construction in a number of ways.

The Department of Environmental Protection requires you to apply for a permit if you meet any one these criteria:

  1. The watershed area that will be draining into your pond is greater than 100 acres or if you are within 50 feet of a stream that has a watershed greater than 100 acres. Check with the Conservation District, they can help you determine if a watershed is greater than 100 acres.
  2. The size of the pond is to be greater than 50 acre-feet. (Pond volume is measured in acre-feet of water which is 1 foot of water over 1 acre. For example, a 2 acre pond 7 feet deep stores 14 acre-feet of water)
  3. The height of the dam is greater than 15 feet. This is measured from original ground level to the top of dam.
  4. Located in a wetland.
For more information about pond permits please read:

Pond Maintenance
Draining your pond:
Occasionally, it becomes necessary to drain a pond. When draining a pond, be aware that a draw-down permit is required by the PA Fish & Boat Commission.  It is also necessary to minimize erosion and sedimentation when draining a large volume of water. Questions regarding E&S controls can be directed to the Berks Conservation District.

Other Maintenance:
In most instances, dike repair and dredging do not require permitting, unless the pond itself is a permitted structure or should have been a permitted structure when it was built. Again, it is necessary to control any erosion or sedimentation that might occur from your activities.

Additional Information
PDF – Guidance on Pond Planning and Construction from United States Dept. of Agriculture
Link – Information on small backyard ponds

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