Ponds, Pools and Lochans

5.6 Planning and undertaking pond creation

Water levels

Before beginning to create a pond it is highly desirable to create one or more trial holes to find out the extent to which water will stand in any area. Monitor the trial holes through at least one annual cycle. Alternatively, the pond can be roughly excavated first (perhaps half or two-thirds of the final size) to see how this behaves for a year or two before the job is completed. If water isn't retained by the natural soil and geology it will be necessary to line the pond.

Excavation techniques

Small ponds with a volume of 1 to 2 m3 can be dug by hand by one or two people fairly easily; larger ponds usually require an excavator. Small excavators can be hired by anyone for the day or week. Larger ponds will need an experienced contractor.

SEPA does not recommend the construction of on-line ponds. See Section 5.3 about the risks of polluting downstream watercourses if ponds are created on-line and, if necessary, refer to SEPAs advice for contractors working in or near watercourses contained in Pollution Prevention Guidelines No. 5 (PPG5) (SEPA, 1999).

Spoil disposal

Spoil disposal is usually the most expensive part of the pond construction process, and to minimise handling costs it is an advantage if excavated spoil can be left relatively near the pond site. Note, however, that spoil may not be dumped in some areas such as floodplains. Spoil may need to be disposed of in licensed landfills, whether it is contaminated or not, unless a waste exemption has been registered. Contact the local SEPA office for advice on these matters.

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