How to Drain a Pond
Some ponds have a pipe installed through the dam wall that can be opened to quickly drain a pond. My pond does not, because I did not want to risk any seepage, or spend the extra labor and materials to make that happen. Besides, I had not plan to drain the pond anytime soon. Of course, shortly after filling the pond, I realized that I needed to drain it, to do some repair work to correct some seepage that was occurring.
I have a ½ horsepower electric transfer pump that takes about three days to drain the pond. It is a pretty simple setup. The transfer pump stays on shore next to where you plan to plug it in. You connect two garden hoses to the pump. The intake hose goes into the pond, and the exit hose goes wherever you would like for the water to exit.
I like that this pump is reliable, inexpensive, and very easy to setup. I also like that I can use long garden hoses for the intake and exit. The bad thing about this pump is that it takes a long time to pump the pond dry. It takes me 72 hours to pump 40,000 gallons.
If you need to pump a pond dry much faster, a gas powered trash pump is a good option. I rented a 2 inch trash pump, and it pumped the pond dry in about four hours. The upside is obviously the speed at which the pump works. The downside is that the intake hose was only 20 feet long, which made it difficult to put the hose where I wanted it, and the pump is heavy so it was difficult to put into place. The other downside is the water literally comes out like a fire hose, and this trash pump was the smallest one that the rental place had. They also had a 3 and 4 inch pump. So you have to plan where you are going to have the water exit. I have houses downslope of me, so I need to be sensitive to that. Luckily, I installed a 550 linear foot swale downslope of the pond, so I pumped the water into the swale. The entire swale was almost full, but it did hold the water, and soak it slowly and safely. I did have some erosion of my swale that I had to repair because of the water pressure.
The setup of the trash pump is fairly simple. You have to hook up the intake hose and place the hose into the pond. When I setup the pump originally it did not work. It turned out that the rental company did not give me the rubber gasket that goes in the intake hose. The morale of the story is to make sure that you have a rubber gasket for the intake hose so it can get the suction it needs. The suction of the hose is pretty strong, so I set it on a pallate that I am using for fish habitat. I was concerned about the intake hose suctioning soil off the bottom of the bond. The way the head of the intake hose was, you could set the hose directly on the bottom of the bond floor, but it had to be straight down, it couldn’t lay on the side.