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:
- 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. The Conservation District can help you determine if a watershed is greater than 100 acres.
- 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)
- The height of the dam is greater than 15 feet. This is measured from original ground level to the top of the dam.
- The pond will be located in a wetland.
For more information about pond permits please read:Dam Permits in PA DEP Dredging Info Sheet
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 (E&S) when draining a large volume of water. Questions regarding E&S controls can be directed to the Berks Conservation District.
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.
PDF – Guidance on Pond Planning and Construction from United States Dept. of Agriculture LINK – Information on small backyard ponds