Never will be able to drain pond...is this a problem?


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Working on my pond plans... I plan on building a pond in an existing raised flowerbed - 2' above ground and will be digging 2' below ground. That puts my BD, and line, about 2' 6" under at the pond. Running from there to the settlement chamber (SC) the pipe will be fairly deep in the ground with an upward slope towards the SC and once at the SC the line will go vertical at a depth of about 1' under ground. Because of this I will never be able to:
  1. Completely drain the pond
  2. Properly winterize that line (when I shut everything down that line will still have water in it and our frost line is about 6"... I would need to empty that drain line at least 6" below ground level.)
I would love to have a T right where the pipe is out from under the pond wall but, at that point, it will be more than 2' below ground level and there is no way I could open/close valves to do what I want to do as noted above (close the pond line, open the drain line and let the pipe drain back down to empty)...

...or is there??? Any ideas?

Thanks,
Randy
 
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HTH

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At the lowest point of you underground pipe put a Tee to a ball valve inside a pit you can place the pump in. Line the pit with something like a plastic drum or real big PVC pipe.

Then pump as much as you can get out of the pond.
Then move the pump to the pit.
Open the valve and pump the pit.

Pond and pipes should be 100% empty
 
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Mucky_Waters said:
What is your main concern, winterizing the plumbing? or draining the pond completely empty?
Yes. well...sorta all of it. Do I need to be worried about not being able to drain the pond? Maybe not cuz I can always drop a pump in from above...my guess is not but I would like to get input on that before feeling good about the decision (e.g. make the design decision based on more than my gut...gather some facts and/or experience from others).

My bigger concern is more about winterizing and not being able to drain down the BD line. I don't mind having standing water in the pipe that is below the frost line but if I can't (easily) empty out the part that is from frost line up then I risk damage. I guess, when the times comes, I could connect a flex hose to a pump and shove the other end down into the pipe and pump suck it empty it that way. And, honestly, I am ok with doing that. I am just trying to avoid face-palming myself later when I could have ask others who have experienced similar.
 
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randythawkins said:
Yes. well...sorta all of it. Do I need to be worried about not being able to drain the pond? Maybe not cuz I can always drop a pump in from above...my guess is not but I would like to get input on that before feeling good about the decision (e.g. make the design decision based on more than my gut...gather some facts and/or experience from others).

My bigger concern is more about winterizing and not being able to drain down the BD line. I don't mind having standing water in the pipe that is below the frost line but if I can't (easily) empty out the part that is from frost line up then I risk damage. I guess, when the times comes, I could connect a flex hose to a pump and shove the other end down into the pipe and pump suck it empty it that way. And, honestly, I am ok with doing that. I am just trying to avoid face-palming myself later when I could have ask others who have experienced similar.
I think I may have just solved my problem...Where the DB pipe exits from under the pond wall, underneath the skimmer box, I will place a gate valve. From that I will place a T and continue the run upwards to the SC. The other part of the T will point up and, from that, I will simply have a stand pipe slightly higher than the max waterline. I will fill up with water to the same level as the pond but, after that, water will flow from the pond to the SC. Later when I want to winterize I will lower the pond water, close the gate valve, and then stick a flex hose down the stand pipe all the way to the bottom and, with the other end of the flex pipe connected to a pump, simply pump all all the water in the line. With that particular T being the lowest point in the system - including the pond itself - I can drain like I want. And, its it simple. This seems to solve my issues and concerns or am I missing something. Any thoughts?

I think I will/can also connect the skimmer to the line, after the gate valve, and things would be good there also. I will probably put a ball valve there so that I can control the amount of water flowing through the skimmer.
 
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taherrmann4

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I with Dr on this one and wouldn't worry much about having to drain the line. I have an external pump so my plumbing line goes from the bottom of the skimmer about 2' in the ground and up to the pump. I am unable to drain this line b/c i never put in a gate or t valve at the bottom of the skimmer and have had no problems and I am farther north than you.
 

fishin4cars

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I never drain, probably close to the same zone maybe one zone more southern. If I needed to drain completely I would pump out the pond ans suck the drain line out with a shop vac. My BD doesn't have a place to drain the pond, never needed it either.
 

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can i ask why you would want to winterize your pond.My pond runs all winter and all I do only the cold days is put the pond heater above the pump and I use sump pump hose and no problems with freezing in 2 winters so far .
 
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taherrmann4 said:
I with Dr on this one and wouldn't worry much about having to drain the line. I have an external pump so my plumbing line goes from the bottom of the skimmer about 2' in the ground and up to the pump. I am unable to drain this line b/c i never put in a gate or t valve at the bottom of the skimmer and have had no problems and I am farther north than you.
Really? The pipe from the skimmer to the ground has never frozen/burst? With standing water, right? Interesting...
 
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sissy said:
can i ask why you would want to winterize your pond.My pond runs all winter and all I do only the cold days is put the pond heater above the pump and I use sump pump hose and no problems with freezing in 2 winters so far .
Well, from what I have read that is just what you are supposed to do. Something about not circulating the water and getting it cooler than it would be if it just sat (warmer water at the bottom of the pond).
 
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RandyH,

I am here in Nebraska and my Mom's neighbor has a small pond. He never drains it and keeps the pump running all year around. He even kept a dozen or so fish in it all winter this year.
The pond did freeze over solid a couple of times, but not totallyas the waterfall kept one opening which allowed the water to "gas out". The fish were just fine and his pond was just fine come spring.

You are so much further south than we are so I would say you have no worries. Even if you do happen to get a really abnormal freeze, it shouldn't ever last long enough to cause you any harm.
It will warm back up in a few days and the pond will be fine. Personally, I think you can leave it alone all winter with the fish in it and as long as you run your pump most of the time, the pond and the fish will be fine. If my Mom's neighbor can do it up here, year after year w/o a hitch, you can certainly do it in your neck of the woods!

Gordy
 
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randythawkins said:
Well, from what I have read that is just what you are supposed to do. Something about not circulating the water and getting it cooler than it would be if it just sat (warmer water at the bottom of the pond).
I can`t imagine it ever gets cold enough in Atlanta to worry about keeping the bottom of the pond warm. Usually people in very cold climates will shut down the external filters and waterfalls in their ponds because there is too much chance of those things freezing solid resulting in a major catastrophe, so they`ll take those things offline and often still run minor pumps or aerators.
How cold exactly does it get where you live?
 
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Mucky_Waters said:
I can`t imagine it ever gets cold enough in Atlanta to worry about keeping the bottom of the pond warm. Usually people in very cold climates will shut down the external filters and waterfalls in their ponds because there is too much chance of those things freezing solid resulting in a major catastrophe, so they`ll take those things offline and often still run minor pumps or aerators.
How cold exactly does it get where you live?
For the coldest winter months upper 30s to 40s with sometimes dropping below freezing for a day or two. More better info here - http://www.climate-zone.com/climate/united-states/georgia/atlanta/

I tried searching google for info on about how cold my pond water will get in those winter months but found nothing. Not surprising because it is such a loose question (e.g. pond size, location, depth, etc...just too many variables for a hard fast number). I even searched some of the forums looking to see if anyone happened to post their water temperatures but found nothing.

I do plan on building it such that if I were to run it in the winter I could shut the waterfall down and just have the TPRs running. This would prevent ice buildup on the falls and, potentially, overflow and loss of water.

Maybe the water wouldn't get cold enough that I would want to not circulate it. I just have not found any real data to support a decision for my area...all I read are general statements w/o regard to locations or zones. Honestly, its kinda frustrating. That, my friend, is why I turn here...to people and their experiences with hope of getting better answers. And, to that, thanks everyone for taking the time to address my questions in this and other posts I have made.
 
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It sounds like you are planning to run both your bottom drain and skimmer off of one pump, if so I recommend you don't. Or at least you plumb it so you can change it so you can add a separate pump later, I did the same thing and ended up adding a separate pump for the skimmer to get proper flow without restricting the bottom drain flow too much. You need to have good flow in your bottom drain or else you'll get debris settling in the pipe and clogging it.
Recommended gravity flow on a 4" bottom drain is 2500-3500gph minimum, 3" is 1500-2500gph.
 
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Mucky_Waters said:
It sounds like you are planning to run both your bottom drain and skimmer off of one pump, if so I recommend you don't. Or at least you plumb it so you can change it so you can add a separate pump later, I did the same thing and ended up adding a separate pump for the skimmer to get proper flow without restricting the bottom drain flow too much. You need to have good flow in your bottom drain or else you'll get debris settling in the pipe and clogging it.
Recommended gravity flow on a 4" bottom drain is 2500-3500gph minimum, 3" is 1500-2500gph.
My pond volume is about 1800 gal. and I planned on a 3" BD line. I figured if I had a 2000 gph pump I could tie the skimmer into the single BD line, with a ball valve to regulate skimmer flow, before heading to the settlement chamber.
 
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randythawkins said:
For the coldest winter months upper 30s to 40s with sometimes dropping below freezing for a day or two. More better info here - http://www.climate-zone.com/climate/united-states/georgia/atlanta/
That right there tells me you have nothing to worry about. A day or two of below freezing will not hurt anything, you'd be lucky to get ice forming on the edges of your pond. You could probably even consider keeping some hardy tropical fish in there.
Much better to just let your pond run all winter, waterfall and all.
Ponds around here, on the other hand, freeze solid for about 3 month of the year. This last winter was the first year I had fish in a new pond I built, and I wanted to try leaving it with no pumps or anything and monitored the bottom temps all winter. Sure enough, the water did stay a couple degrees warmer down there, but that didn't help anything. In the spring the water was murky and I had a few fish die over the winter. In my previous pond I use to leave a pump and filter running all winter, I'm sure the bottom of the pond cooled down more, but I never lost a fish, so I have become a firm believer in running aux pumps and filters even in the cold of winter.
 
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Mucky_Waters said:
That right there tells me you have nothing to worry about. A day or two of below freezing will not hurt anything, you'd be lucky to get ice forming on the edges of your pond. You could probably even consider keeping some hardy tropical fish in there.
Much better to just let your pond run all winter, waterfall and all.
Ponds around here, on the other hand, freeze solid for about 3 month of the year. This last winter was the first year I had fish in a new pond I built, and I wanted to try leaving it with no pumps or anything and monitored the bottom temps all winter. Sure enough, the water did stay a couple degrees warmer down there, but that didn't help anything. In the spring the water was murky and I had a few fish die over the winter. In my previous pond I use to leave a pump and filter running all winter, I'm sure the bottom of the pond cooled down more, but I never lost a fish, so I have become a firm believer in running aux pumps and filters even in the cold of winter.
Really!?!??! That's cool!!! I mean warm...you know what I mean. Tropicals? Like what? I kinda waned a pleco with the Koi. I have a pleco in my 55gal tank inside and he is about 10" long. His name is Jake and I have had him for about 4 years now. I have read of people keeping plecos in their ponds but will bring them inside during the winters.
 

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