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