Pond Building Requirements in Alabama


The thought of a beautiful pond in your backyard may sound appealing, but if you are an Alabama resident, the construction of that pond may be more complicated than you think. It's not as simple as digging a hole and putting water in it. In Alabama, there are multiple components that must be considered regarding site selection, water allocation and legal regulations. Once those requirements have been satisfied, you are free to go ahead and build your own personal waterfront view.

Soil Requirements

  • The most important and practical requirement for building a pond in Alabama is finding a site that is suitable for construction. This concept primarily revolves around the type of soil at a potential site. The site of the pond must obviously be able to hold water, and the type of soil on the bottom will be an indication of your potential success. Clays or silty clays are usually your best option, but in parts of Alabama, you will find only coarse-textured sand and sand-gravel mixes, which will not hold water for very long.

Water Source Requirements

  • Once you have a location in mind, you should think about your water requirements. It is important to determine where your source of water will be. Typically, there are three natural options. The best option, and the cheapest for you, is to fill your pond with runoff water. This means that water will flow from surrounding areas with any rainfall into your pond. This option typically only works with low-lying ponds. Another option is to use groundwater, pumped up from a well or other water source into your pond. This can be costly. A final option is to get your water from a different surface source by diverting flow from a stream, spring or reservoir nearby, but this can be difficult to accomplish. However, without a water source like one of these, it is impractical to even consider building a pond in Alabama.

Legal Requirements

  • Before you can build a pond in Alabama, there are three major legal considerations of which you must be aware. First, it is important to make sure you are not building on wetlands. Federal law protects wetlands and has very specific requirements regarding any kind of construction on such grounds. You would be ill-advised to attempt to build a pond on wetlands, as it requires multiple permits and constant monitoring and thus can quickly become cost-prohibitive. It is critical to make sure you are operating within the bounds of the law on that issue, as Alabama is home to a plethora of wetlands. Second, you must ensure that you have the proper space and materials to construct adequate runoff accommodations, as you will not be legally allowed to construct your pond otherwise. Finally, you must receive a permit from your local municipality even to start construction. Failure to do so can result in multiple fines.

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