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Do I need a Permit for My Pond?

Do I need a Permit for My Pond?

Whether or not you will need a permit to construct your backyard pond depends heavily on the size of the pond you plan to build and where you plan to build it. A small water garden likely will not need any permits, but a large pond might. As you are doing the research to figure out if you’ll need to apply for permits, you should probably check in with your neighbors. If they decide that they don’t want you building a pond next to their home, whether it be because of safety concerns for their children or pets, or they just don’t want to look at it, they may make obtaining a permit more difficult.

Because ponds can significantly disrupt the landscape of your yard, permits from local agencies might be necessary. At the very least, you may be required to fence in your pond or yard. This is beneficial for you was well because it prevents accidents from happening. It’s also a good idea to take a look at the liability aspect on your homeowner’s insurance, and ask about any insurance requirements that will be needed for your pond.

You should look into your local codes and zoning regarding building a pond. To be safe, check with your local building department or code enforcement to see if there are any codes that relate to your pond, and plan ahead to ensure you meet those requirements. There is a chance that local ordinances will regulate depth or access, require fencing or mandate an inspection or permit. It’s also a great idea to get your gas, electric, cable and phone lines marked out to avoid risky contact with gas and electric lines.

Three common types of permits include:

  • Dam Safety
  • Stream Protection
  • Freshwater Wetland

Most of these situations involve building near an existing body of water, such as disturbing the bed or banks of a protected stream or excavating or placing fill in or within 100 feet of a regulated freshwater wetland.

The bottom line is, better safe than sorry when determining if you’ll need a permit to build your backyard pond. Double check with your local building department or code enforcement as well as your homeowner’s insurance before you break ground. Also have a quick chat with your neighbors to alleviate any of their concerns and avoid them complaining to the city about your plans. This can all save you in the long run.