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Using ground water from a sump pump to make a pond?

 
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Location: US Midwest
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Our home has a sump pump in the basement because of a high water table. As a result, the pump is sending a lot of water out through a pipe with an outlet about 30 feet from our house, near the edge of our property. My wife doesn't want that water to go to waste. She is interested in making a pond by the outlet where the water comes out of the pipe. As a test, she dug up a little area, and found that it fills up quickly with the water that our sump pump expels.

Is a pond a good use for this ground water? I'm concerned that the water might contain a lot of pesticides from our neighbors' lawns or other contaminants. That might make it risky to add fish, but if we don't add fish, a lot of mosquitoes could breed there. If you think a pond is feasible, how could we design an ecosystem that makes use of this water?

What other uses would you recommend for the water that our sump pump puts out?

Thank you.
 
pollinator
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Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
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E. Mark : Welcome to Permies, on our best days we have over 12,000 members and future members ( visitors ) here in these forums, that's a lot of
shareable knowledge !

First a question does your sump pump hole every become completely dry during any time of the year ? I would dig a test pit as deep as you think you
want your pond to be and check it every time you mow the lawn, at least until late this fall before committing myself to a pond !

You can protect yourself from any mosquitos with B.T.I., While technically a pesticide, it is safely handled, and not dangerous to fish, or mammals !
Do a 'seek it local' for B.T.I. doughnuts ! Always follow directions for use !

Why do you think that your neighbor is using pesticides? I would prefer to work with nature and am No kind of Spokesman for the Chemicals industry,
but Lately the chemical Industry has had their collective faces rubbed in the fact that they are better-off selling non-persistent Pesticides, fewer problems
with us Greenies / Permies types, and a chance at multiple re-sales of the 'new, modern and improved non-persistaint Pesticides.'

This is just my opinion,but if your neighbors were indeed using persisting chemicals that were capable of drifting onto your property they would be better
off being concentrated in the silt below the surface of your pond over the alternate, your kids picking them up when playing on the grass !

Again my opinion- If you are worried about chemicals concentrated in your fish, don't eat them !

For our Futures ! Be safe, keep warm ! Pyro AL, As always, your questions and comments are solicited and are Welcome A. L.
 
E. Mark
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Location: US Midwest
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Thank you for your reply, Allen. I appreciate your questions and suggestions.

The sump pump is active throughout the year except in the middle of winter, so I think that the sump pump hole rarely gets completely dry, but I'm not entirely sure. That's a good suggestion about digging a test pit.

I wasn't familiar with B.T.I. doughnuts, but I will look into that option.

About neighbors using pesticides, I'm not sure what kind of pesticides they are using. I just know that many people around here want a picture-perfect lawn and I see them applying pesticides to kill dandelions or other plants that they don't want. I know that Roundup is heavily marketed for that purpose, so it is probably among those that people are using near us.

Thanks again for your help!
 
pollinator
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I would definitely recommend any kind of catchment and distribution. Just don't pump it back up to the area you're draining

I put water from the sump under my house out to the top of 3 swales sloping off the property - roof runoff too.

As for pesticides, remember that 30' of soil is an amazing biochecmical filter! Fish should be just fine here but make sure you have an area deep enough for year-round use, add some mussels too!
 
E. Mark
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Thanks for your suggestions, Eric. I had heard about mussels' ability to filter water, but I appreciate the reminder. Any idea how I could get a suitable type of mussels?
 
gardener
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E. Mark wrote:

Is a pond a good use for this ground water? I'm concerned that the water might contain a lot of pesticides from our neighbors' lawns or other contaminants. That might make it risky to add fish, but if we don't add fish, a lot of mosquitoes could breed there. If you think a pond is feasible, how could we design an ecosystem that makes use of this water?

What other uses would you recommend for the water that our sump pump puts out?

Thank you.




What is the topography of your site? Is the house situated higher than the area where the outlet is?

You could have the water tested to see if it contains any contaminants, and this would answer your fish pond question.
Alternate ideas are long swales, rain gardens, bog gardens.

Plant some cannas and cattails. They will use some of the water and you can eat them too.



 
E. Mark
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Location: US Midwest
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Thank you for your questions and suggestions, Cris. I liked your ideas about planting cannas and cattails.

The ground slopes very gently downward away from the house to the south toward the outlet. Not far past the outlet, there is a berm that runs along the south side of the property, parallel to the house. There is some space for a little pond between the outlet and the berm. I guess a swale would make sense there, but my wife thought a pond would be nice.

Thanks again.
 
Eric Thompson
pollinator
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E. Mark wrote:Thanks for your suggestions, Eric. I had heard about mussels' ability to filter water, but I appreciate the reminder. Any idea how I could get a suitable type of mussels?



In my area, I just forage mussels in the closest conditions - for me that was a slow muddy spot in a small creek - those mussels seem to like swales and my little poultry pond just fine. I have also had goldfish in the smallest swales and they seem happy, even with a few days of ice cover...
 
E. Mark
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Thanks, Eric. That's good to know.
 
pollinator
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I would recommend that you plant a bald cypress tree where the pump drains out. It will stabilize the soil, and if a pond is meant to be there, it can grow right in the middle of the pond, just like it does in natural wetlands. I just so happen to have bald cypress seeds, so if you want to start some, send me a PM with your snail-mail address.
 
E. Mark
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Thank you for the suggestion, John. I'll think about it.
 
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We have a high ground water table too... it drains away from the house but some years gets real close. I hand dug a pond and find its always within 4 feet of my basement level. Sometimes I have a real nice pond over there and sometimes its just a huge sand pit. I wish I knew how to utilize the pond better.
 
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E. Mark wrote:Our home has a sump pump in the basement because of a high water table. As a result, the pump is sending a lot of water out through a pipe with an outlet about 30 feet from our house, near the edge of our property. My wife doesn't want that water to go to waste. She is interested in making a pond by the outlet where the water comes out of the pipe. As a test, she dug up a little area, and found that it fills up quickly with the water that our sump pump expels.

Is a pond a good use for this ground water? I'm concerned that the water might contain a lot of pesticides from our neighbors' lawns or other contaminants. That might make it risky to add fish, but if we don't add fish, a lot of mosquitoes could breed there. If you think a pond is feasible, how could we design an ecosystem that makes use of this water?

What other uses would you recommend for the water that our sump pump puts out?

Thank you.



If you know what kind of pump you have (or if you can read the serial number), using the pump capacity (i.e., gallons per minute), the lift (in feet) from the sump to where the water discharges, timing the pump cycles (how often does it kick on and how long does it run each time), you can calculate how much water your sump is producing. I did this when I had a sump pump that seemed to run all the time. I could have easily kept a pond full most of the year. My sump dried out in August/September.

If you're really worried about WQ, you can take some water samples from the sump, but for a pond I don't think I'd bother. Your sump is probably at least 8 feet below grade. The soil is doing a lot of filtering between your sump and your neigbors. Are you in a suburb or in more rural area with neighbors?
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