How Construction Ponds Work

Construction ponds hold large quantities of liquid, generally water, in locations where water is not available or the cost to haul water is high. In industries outside of construction, these ponds can hold other types of liquid. For example, an agricultural pond can hold treated water, or a mining pond might contain processing liquid. The availability of varying geomembranes enables construction ponds to be adaptable to other industries for both above ground and in-ground applications.

The Basic Parts of a Construction Pond

Construction ponds consist of three essential parts, including:

  1. Subgrade
  2. Pond liner or geomembrane
  3. The pond itself (the water and the infrastructure, used to fill, drain, and deal with seasonal infiltration of water.)

The subgrade is the earth beneath and around the pond. This includes the walls or levies used to create the pond's shape. Large ponds may require a spillway that keeps the ponds structure safe when flooding occurs. Many concerns govern the creation of large ponds. We are, after all, dealing with many thousands of gallons of water. The earthen structure must be safe, reliable, and designed with many details like 100-year floods, locations, and more, in mind. Many times a subgrade includes a layer of geosynthetic between the liner and the dirt to help with increased protection.  

The pond liner or geomembrane is the material that keeps water or liquid in the pond area and prevents the seepage of water through the walls. Seepage of pond liquid can cause weakness and or failure of the structure of the pond. The pond liner layer may be a single membrane, or it might include multiple layers that prevent contaminants from reaching the surrounding soil or, alternately, the liner can keep soil contaminates from entering the liquid contained in the pond. The type of pond liner is one of the first thoughts when it comes to pond construction design. An inadequate pond liner can result in constant maintenance to the construction pond, a shortening of the pond's lifecycle, and the risk of dangerous situations, including breach.

The pond is the total area for the body of water, including the water, its depth, and the infrastructure needed to fill or empty the pond. Project design can also allow for multiple ponds to share sidewalls or levies, and the shape for these ponds does not necessarily need to be rectangular.


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