Pond permit, Why, and do you need one?

When building a pond and not checking to see if permits are required the costs will be a great deal higher than you will discover in the audio interview of Gene Clemente who is with the Erie County Conservation District of PA. Rules and regulations may be different in other states. Please check with your area to be sure of regulations.

Click “PLAY” to hear the interview with expert Gene Clement!


pump out the pond water After deciding that you want to build a pond. First check with your neighbors they may have children or pets that may be a concern to deal with. You never know your neighbors may help to build the pond. It is a good idea to start with your neighbors and work something out if necessary because in the next step is to check with your local government.

Throughout the process, ideally you need nothing. But if a zoning ordinance or permit is required. Your surrounding area will be notified of the pond building. Then there are more people who can make it harder or easier for you to build a pond.

We went to our township building and talked with our zoning officer. And found out we may need a hearing to approve putting in a farm pond. Funny thing, in 13 years the zoning officer said we are the first to ask about a farm pond. Long story short, we got approval but took 1 1/2 months. Also did not need a hearing or permit.

The zoning officer had us call our insurance agent and the conservation district.

The insurance had no problem or listing for farm ponds.

The conservation district came out to do a visual check of the area where we wanted the farm pond. There was a wet spot most of the year and some different types of plant that grew there. This is what the conservation folks wanted to check out. To be sure it was not a wetland area. It was not.

I know this sounds like a lot of work but well worth the effort. Finding out later you built in a wetland or the neighbors complain, can and will cost more money you didn’t count for.

Even when building a small backyard or Koi pond. Go through the process, you will learn more on what needs to happen and have that peace of mind that you are in the right.

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About the Author: Darrell Rhoades is the founder of Whatpond.com. A one man business, works full time in tool & die. It all started when he built his own pond for the family. Ran into pond issues and started the research with pond suppliers and conferences for pond management. He writes about pond building and pond management and sells pond management supplies, aeration & fountains and Practical hands on experiences at Whatpond.com. . No physical store, but has items in stock.

4 comments… add one
  • Nick Jul 18, 2015 @ 14:49

    do I need a Permit To Build a Pond In the front yard?

  • Darrell Rhoades Jul 20, 2015 @ 4:24

    It really depends on where you live, what your local government, township, municipality or zoning says. Since you are asking about the front yard I can only assume you mean a small water garden type pond about 2000 gallons and not a earthen pond like a small 1/8 acre. I would still check with someone in your area to be sure. This way you are covered, if you need a permit or if you don’t need a permit. Also be sure to call the hotline number Call Before You Dig TO find out where your utility services are located so you don’t dig into the gas, electric, phone, cable and son on type of service going into the house. One mistake can be expensive, harmful or fatal depending on what service is damaged. when digging.

  • Ethel Sep 28, 2020 @ 10:01

    Will D.E.Q. help with digging a pond on land that has rain erosion??

  • Darrell Rhoades Sep 29, 2020 @ 2:48

    Best case is to ask them. Many years ago there had been incentives and help to build ponds but those days are gone.

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