Rain Storms & Overflow Pipes

Ponds are plenty of fun, fishing, relaxation and attracting nature. On the flip side they can be a pain in the side at time as well, to get up to and keep in a healthy state. Keeping the pond healthy can change from one year to the next. What worked last year may not work this year due to the weather, rain and storms and nutrient loading.

(see the video below)

Depending on your pond location and mainly the watershed is the nutrients that can or could be washed into the pond.  Water retention ponds are affected the most. These ponds are the lowest point of a housing community even cities. So when the rain storm hits, the water rises and washed into the pond bringing additional nutrients and debris to the pond.

The nutrients will most likely bring on an algae bloom, the debris can cause other problems, not just extra junk in the pond but also debris and weeds that can clog the outflow pipe and or the emergency spillway creating a dangerous situation.

overflow pipe debris cover

overflow pipe debris cover

A couple things happen when the water exit is blocked. First is the pond level will rise and if we cannot allow the water to exit in a controlled manner the pond could over top the dam which could cause erosion to the dam making it unstable and potential breach of the dam if the rain continued and the keeps eroding.

This leaves us with another safety hazard of cleaning the overflow pipe and or emergency spillway.

Cleaning the emergency spillway can be dangerous but maybe less dangerous than the plugged over flow pipe. When I was digging out the weeds that had plugged the overflow I could start to see the water entering the hole I started to open up. Once I got about half opened up it just went whoosh, down the pipe. I had to pull my hand out of the whirl pool and then the boat actually was pulled into the  drain. Had to use an oar to push myself out of the danger zone.

There are other stories I heard about where folks have been pull through the pipe and survived while others have drowned. One fellow lost his when he broke through by kicking on the debris plugging the pipe the water sucked him in the pipe and trapped him there until rescue could come.

If you do come to a point where you need to unplug a pipe of debris be extremely careful. Make sure you have a partner that can help you or make a call if you do end up needing help.

Water is very powerful as you hear from all the news stories of the damage from flooding, people being swept away in Arizona from a flash flood even home being swept away. Let’s be safe, I know accidents still do happen but keep this in the back of your brain when find yourself in the position.

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.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Pat Vogel Nov 16, 2020 @ 14:14

    what tool or tools can I use to clear debris that is plugging up the drain pipe? Need something that can reach 15′ below top of pipe.

  • Darrell Rhoades Nov 16, 2020 @ 14:51

    HI Pat, I think the only thing you can do for that depth is a snake. Caution if you are trying to push pipe or something that is hard that could break the plastic pipe, or if it is the old galvanized pipe that could be rusty is could break that that as well.

    Also check from the other end of the pipe at the exit. Possible critter built a nest or able to snake in that way as well.

    If you are in the pond and the clog breaks free be sure you are away from the pipe so you or any part of your body is not suck into the pipe.

    I’m not sure if you can rent a snake from Home Depot or Lowes or maybe a rental company?

    hope this helps.