Swim pond

Discussion in 'Water Features' started by turner_landscaping, Jul 12, 2012.

  1. turner_landscaping

    turner_landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 187

    Time to consult the pond gods..:laugh: I'm currently working on a job proposal for client with a different type of request. They want a swim pond a very large swim pond. The area is roughly 100' x 100' x 10' deep. The area at which there house is has heavily rock formations in the ground so digging a natural clay bottom pond is out of the question. I have two options to create one; one being a swim pond with a designed area for swimming or a a more traditional farm pond style with soil being shot over the the liner when installed. In the swim pond the designed area would be roughly 80'x80' and the remainder of the 100x100' area would be for the bog/wetland filtration using up-flow through the gravel areas. The actual swim area will have 3 - 4" inch bottom diffuser drains installed. Question is that enough filtration for this pond? or designate a larger area for filtering? Any pump suggestions I'm leaning toward 20000 gph maybe a little more. I know slower is better when working with wetland filtration. I also know that trying to filter this big puppy completely in a timely matter is out of the question.. I know water clarity will not be clear all the time and the use of U.Vs would be over kill and expensive because of the number of watts needed for this project. So mother natural will have to get her butt in gear lol..

    The other option is a farm pond with liner. Again i would use up filtration thru bogs around the perimeter as well as bottom aerators no bottom drains. However this style would be set up as a pond for stocked fish and swimming as well so the aeration is more key than filtration.
  2. tadpole

    tadpole LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,221

    Are there any local or state regulations that you need to consider? In many locales, this would fall under Swimming Pool Construction and as such would probably mandate chemical sterilization at some level.
    In the U.S., there are very few areas, that I am aware of, where a non-chemical swimming pool/pond is permitted.
    If you construct this as a pond (never mentioning the word swimming), you may be able to get around it. Again, every region has different statutes.

    Even if you can get around the authorities, if this pond is going to provide habitat to ANY vertebrate organism, the water WILL contain E. coli bacteria, of which most varieties are harmless, it is the few that are infectious that cause the most concern, and depending on location, the water may also contain fecal coliform bacteria, which is really your prime concern. There are also several other naturally occurring micro-organisms that can cause health problems in humans. I am not in any way trying to discourage you in pursuit of this project. Swim ponds have been in use in Europe and Southeast Asia for many years, apparently with little problems.

    Several years ago, I did extensive research on Swim Ponds including eliciting an opinion from the CDC in Atlanta. Health-wise, they insisted that the only way to control and maintain a level of water sterility was through chemical means (read Chlorine). They did say, that on a residential site, a sufficient level of UV sterilization MIGHT be acceptable. This would require the installation of a commercial size sterilizer ($3.000 - $4,000).

    As to the ultimate size of the phyto-filtration area, 40% of total surface area should do the trick. Flow rate through this filtration zone should be low to allow greater RT (resident time) for the plants to take up the nutrients and impurities.

    Whether you will use bare liner with BDs or a backfilled lined pond determines a lot of the other decisions.

    I assume that you are planning a Waterfall, hence the choice of a 20,000+ gph turnover rate. A low flow rate through the phyto-filtration can still be achieved with a simple wye and valve.

    This may prove to be a lengthy thread as there are many factors that are peculiar to keeping a Swim Pond functional and balanced.
  3. turner_landscaping

    turner_landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 187

    I have looked into the commerical Uvs. for this concept for the bacteria concerns. I too looked into swim ponds as you did as its a natural transiton or addition to a business. Everywhere but the U.S. has them for our standards in water quailty for consumption and bathing is 2 even 3 times that of Europe or Asia yet they are fine. Its puzzling to think that a swimmimg pools vs ponds is that big of a debate when it comes to swimmimg or just playing in the water when it comes to the goverment. I remember growing up swimming in lakes rivers streams etc. The fact of the matter is bacteria is always present in wells ponds streams and lakes. The only time its not is when you add clorine. Nature keeps it in check. The plants, coloinzation of healthy bacteria, high oxygen levels all keep it balenced.
    Most locals here dont have regs for ponds in fact the state doesnt even have a liabilty standards for homeowners they have been debating it for yours. I talked to some gov officials and they just scratched theirs heads because the concept is so forigein to them. Realistically a swim pond is just a supersized pond that is deep for swimming in. I dont know just waiting on some other info and call backs before i proceed lol..
  4. tadpole

    tadpole LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,221

    Not wanting to branch out into a different area of discussion, but the reason for the concern in the U.S. is the anthropogenic factors that have been thrust upon nature over the past century that has resulted in 90% of natural waterways being polluted to some extent. This is what is behind the present governmental mind set of preventive action to protect human health.
    Let's face it, the natural earthen pond of 2012 does in no way, as far as water quality is concerned, resemble the natural earthen pond of 1900.

    One other factor that I would consider is liability. If you don't follow government guidelines and you declare or imply that the pond safe for swimming, you could possibly find yourself in court trying to save your company if someone, especially a child, becomes ill.

    Keep us updated.
  5. 1idejim

    1idejim LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,358

    My grandson went to a mvlti-purpose camp in the mountains near a village where i have been working.

    My dad and i were discussing this camp on the way to work yesterday, i was trying to remember the year i taught a "ropes" course there and the conversation drifted to the stream fed swimming pool he built at the camp.

    He said that in 1962 he built the pool plumbed with only a main drain for draining the "cement pond" once a week.

    50 years later the pool is used as a fishing pond by thousands of kids.

    1985 was the year i taught the class and the pool was still being used for swimming at that time.
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  6. Woodman1

    Woodman1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 333

    Did you ever do anything on this pond?
  7. rcreech

    rcreech Sponsor
    Male, from OHIO
    Messages: 6,163

    I should have read this before I posted my last post

    This is exactly what I am wanting to do only on a much smaller scale

    I guess my question is...what is the difference between this type of pond and a farm pond when it comes to bacteria etc
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  8. raggs

    raggs LawnSite Member
    Messages: 40

    This was my original post from when I was with turner. To answer your question they both have the same bacteria Lol. To give you better understanding look at oase swim ponds. That example is more in lines of what you want to do and will look alot cleaner and nicer in a residential setting.
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  9. rcreech

    rcreech Sponsor
    Male, from OHIO
    Messages: 6,163

    I have been swimming in ponds and lakes forever

    That makes sense to me

    It's called nature


    I am very excited to do this
    Posted via Mobile Device
  10. tadpole

    tadpole LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,221

    Although I have already commented on this thread in the past, I feel compelled to toss in another 2 cents.
    YES, the bacteria in all bodies of fresh water are the same. The difference is in levels. E, coli and other fecal coliform bacteria are ubiquitous in fresh water. They are even in your drinking water, only a levels so low as to be considered not a health hazard. The pathogenic levels in a pond, whether natural or man-made will be determined by its immediate environment and the animal (including human) immersion load. In addition, there are other parasitic organisms that can trigger major health issues in humans.
    I would, at least, be prepared to conduct periodic biological water testing to monitor pathogen levels.
    Most people involved in the Water Feature industry will wear protective clothing, wader and gloves, when performing any in-pond maintenance. Why do you think this is?

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