Construction Standards/Specifications for Ponds



These specifications are generally appropriate to all earthen ponds. Practitioners should consult their local dam safety division for the latest version of pond construction specifications. All references to ASTM and AASHTO specifications apply to the most recent version.

Site Preparation

Areas designated for borrow areas, embankment, and structural works shall be cleared, grubbed and stripped of topsoil. All trees, vegetation, roots and other objectionable material shall be removed. Channel banks and sharp breaks shall be sloped to no steeper than 1:1. All trees shall be cleared and grubbed within 15 feet of the toe of the embankment.

Areas to be covered by the reservoir will be cleared of all trees, brush, logs, fences, rubbish and other objectionable material unless otherwise designated on the plans. Trees, brush, and stumps shall be cut approximately level with the ground surface. For dry stormwater management ponds, a minimum of a 25-foot radius around the inlet structure shall be cleared.

All cleared and grubbed material shall be disposed of outside and below the limits of the dam and reservoir as directed by the owner or his representative. When specified, a sufficient quantity of topsoil will be stockpiled in a suitable location for use on the embankment and other designated areas.

Earth Fill

Material - The fill material shall be taken from approved designated borrow areas. It shall be free of roots, stumps, wood, rubbish, stones greater than 6", frozen or other objectionable materials. Fill material for the center of the embankment, and cut off trench shall conform to Unified Soil Classification GC, SC, CH, or CL and must have at least 30% passing the #200 sieve. Consideration may be given to the use of other materials in the embankment if designed by a geotechnical engineer. Such special designs must have construction supervised by a geotechnical engineer.

Materials used in the outer shell of the embankment must have the capability to support vegetation of the quality required to prevent erosion of the embankment.

Placement - Areas on which fill is to be placed shall be scarified prior to placement of fill. Fill materials shall be placed in maximum 8 inch thick (before compaction) layers which are to be continuous over the entire length of the fill. The most permeable borrow material shall be placed in the downstream portions of the embankment. The principal spillway must be installed concurrently with fill placement and not excavated into the embankment.

Compaction - The movement of the hauling and spreading equipment over the fill shall be controlled so that the entire surface of each lift shall be traversed by not less than one tread track of heavy equipment or compaction shall be achieved by a minimum of four complete passes of a sheepsfoot, rubber tired or vibratory roller. Fill material shall contain sufficient moisture such that the required degree of compaction will be obtained with the equipment used. The fill material shall contain sufficient moisture so that if formed into a ball it will not crumble, yet not be so wet that water can be squeezed out.

When required by the reviewing agency the minimum required density shall not be less than 95% of maximum dry density with a moisture content within 2% of the optimum. Each layer of fill shall be compacted as necessary to obtain that density, and is to be certified by the Engineer at the time of construction. All compaction is to be determined by AASHTO Method T-99 (Standard Proctor).

Cut Off Trench - The cutoff trench shall be excavated into impervious material along or parallel to the centerline of the embankment as shown on the plans. The bottom width of the trench shall be governed by the equipment used for excavation, with the minimum width being four feet. The depth shall be at least four feet below existing grade or as shown on the plans. The side slopes of the trench shall be 1 to 1 or flatter. The backfill shall be compacted with construction equipment, rollers, or hand tampers to assure maximum density and minimum permeability.

Embankment Core - The core shall be parallel to the centerline of the embankment as shown on the plans. The top width of the core shall be a minimum of four feet. The height shall extend up to at least the 10 year water elevation or as shown on the plans. The side slopes shall be 1 to 1 or flatter. The core shall be compacted with construction equipment, rollers, or hand tampers to assure maximum density and minimum permeability. In addition, the core shall be placed concurrently with the outer shell of the embankment.

Structure Backfill

Backfill adjacent to pipes or structures shall be of the type and quality conforming to that specified for the adjoining fill material. The fill shall be placed in horizontal layers not to exceed four inches in thickness and compacted by hand tampers or other manually directed compaction equipment. The material needs to fill completely all spaces under and adjacent to the pipe. At no time during the backfilling operation shall driven equipment be allowed to operate closer than four feet, measured horizontally, to any part of a structure. Under no circumstances shall equipment be driven over any part of a concrete structure or pipe, unless there is a compacted fill of 24" or greater over the structure or pipe.

Structure backfill may be flowable fill meeting the requirements of the local Department of Transportation or State Materials Testing Agency. The mixture shall have a 100-200 psi; 28 day unconfined compressive strength. The flowable fill shall have a minimum pH of 4.0 and a minimum resistivity of 2,000 ohm-cm. Material shall be placed such that a minimum of 6" (measured perpendicular to the outside of the pipe) of flowable fill shall be under (bedding), over and, on the sides of the pipe. It only needs to extend up to the spring line for rigid conduits. Average slump of the fill shall be 7" to assure flowability of the material. Adequate measures shall be taken (sand bags, etc.) to prevent floating the pipe. When using flowable fill, all metal pipe shall be bituminous coated. Any adjoining soil fill shall be placed in horizontal layers not to exceed four inches in thickness and compacted by hand tampers or other manually directed compaction equipment. The material shall completely fill all voids adjacent to the flowable fill zone. At no time during the backfilling operation shall driven equipment be allowed to operate closer than four feet, measured horizontally, to any part of a structure. Under no circumstances shall equipment be driven over any part of a structure or pipe unless there is a compacted fill of 24" or greater over the structure or pipe. Backfill material outside the structural backfill (flowable fill) zone shall be of the type and quality conforming to that specified for the core of the embankment or other embankment materials.

Pipe Conduits

All pipes shall be circular in cross section.

Materials - (Polymer Coated steel pipe) - Steel pipes with polymeric coatings shall have a minimum coating thickness of 0.01 inch (10 mil) on both sides of the pipe. This pipe and its appurtenances shall conform to the requirements of AASHTO Specifications M-245 & M-246 with watertight coupling bands or flanges.

Materials - (Aluminum Coated Steel Pipe) - This pipe and its appurtenances shall conform to the requirements of AASHTO Specification M-274 with watertight coupling bands or flanges. Aluminum Coated Steel Pipe, when used with flowable fill or when soil and/or water conditions warrant the need for increased durability, shall be fully bituminous coated per requirements of AASHTO Specification M-190 Type A. Any aluminum coating damaged or otherwise removed shall be replaced with cold applied bituminous coating compound. Aluminum surfaces that are to be in contact with concrete shall be painted with one coat of zinc chromate primer or two coats of asphalt.

Materials - (Aluminum Pipe) - This pipe and its appurtenances shall conform to the requirements of AASHTO Specification M-196 or M-211 with watertight coupling bands or flanges. Aluminum Pipe, when used with flowable fill or when soil and/or water conditions warrant for increased durability, shall be fully bituminous coated per requirements of AASHTO Specification M-190 Type A. Aluminum surfaces that are to be in contact with concrete shall be painted with one coat of zinc chromate primer or two coats of asphalt. Hot dip galvanized bolts may be used for connections. The pH of the surrounding soils shall be between 4 and 9.

Helically corrugated pipe shall have either continuously welded seams or have lock seams with internal caulking or a neoprene bead.

Reinforced Concrete Pipe - All of the following criteria shall apply for reinforced concrete pipe:

Plastic Pipe - The following criteria shall apply for plastic pipe:

Drainage Diaphragms - When a drainage diaphragm is used, a registered professional engineer will supervise the design and construction inspection.

Concrete

Concrete shall meet the requirements of your local Department of Transportation or State Highway Administration Standard Specifications for Construction and Materials.

Rock Riprap

Rock riprap shall meet the requirements of the local Department of Transportation or State Materials Testing Agency.

Geotextile shall be placed under all riprap and shall meet the requirements of the local Department of Transportation or State Materials Testing Agency.

Care of Water during Construction

All work on permanent structures shall be carried out in areas free from water. The Contractor shall construct and maintain all temporary dikes, levees, cofferdams, drainage channels, and stream diversions necessary to protect the areas to be occupied by the permanent works. The contractor shall also furnish, install, operate, and maintain all necessary pumping and other equipment required for removal of water from various parts of the work and for maintaining the excavations, foundation, and other parts of the work free from water as required or directed by the engineer for constructing each part of the work. After having served their purpose, all temporary protective works shall be removed or leveled and graded to the extent required to prevent obstruction in any degree whatsoever of the flow of water to the spillway or outlet works and so as not to interfere in any way with the operation or maintenance of the structure. Stream diversions shall be maintained until the full flow can be passed through the permanent works. The removal of water from the required excavation and the foundation shall be accomplished in a manner and to the extent that will maintain stability of the excavated slopes and bottom required excavations and will allow satisfactory performance of all construction operations. During the placing and compacting of material in required excavations, the water level at the locations being refilled shall be maintained below the bottom of the excavation at such locations which may require draining the water sumps from which the water shall be pumped.

Stabilization

All borrow areas shall be graded to provide proper drainage and left in a sightly condition. All exposed surfaces of the embankment, spillway, spoil and borrow areas, and berms shall be stabilized by seeding, liming, fertilizing and mulching in accordance with local Natural Resources Conservation Service Standards and Specifications.

Erosion and Sediment Control

Construction operations will be carried out in such a manner that erosion will be controlled and water and air pollution minimized. State and local laws concerning pollution abatement will be followed. Construction plans shall detail erosion and sediment control measures.

OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE

An operation and maintenance plan in accordance with Local or State Regulations will be prepared for all ponds. As a minimum, a dam inspection checklist shall be included as part of the operation and maintenance plan and performed at least annually. Written records of maintenance and major repairs needs to be retained in a file.

Supplemental Stormwater Pond and Wetland Specifications

1. It is preferred to use the same material in the embankment as is being installed for the core trench. If this is not possible because the appropriate material is not available, a dam core with a shell may be used. The cross-section of the stormwater facility should show the limits of the dam core (up to the 10-year water surface elevation) as well as the acceptable materials for the shell. The shape of the dam core and the material to be used in the shell, should be provided by the geotechnical engineer.

2. If the compaction tests for the remainder of the site improvements is using Modified Proctor (AASHTO T-180), then to maintain consistency on-site, modified proctor may be used in lieu of standard proctor (AASHTO T-99). The minimum required density using the modified proctor test method shall be at least 92% of maximum dry density with a moisture content of ±2% of the optimum.

3. For all stormwater management facilities, a geotechnical engineer must be present to verify compaction in accordance with the selected test method. This information needs to be provided in a report to the design engineer, so that certification of the construction of the facility can be made.

4. A 4-inch layer of topsoil shall be placed on all disturbed areas of the dam embankment. Seeding, liming, fertilizing, mulching, etc. shall be in accordance with NRCS Soil Standards and Specifications or your local Standards and Specifications for Soil Erosion and Sediment Control. The purpose of the topsoil is to establish a good growth of grass which is not always possible with some of the materials that may be placed for the embankment fill.

5. Filter fabric placed beneath the rip-rap shall meet state or local department of transportation requirements for a Class "C" filter fabric. Some acceptable filter fabrics that meet the Class "C" criteria include:

This is only a partial listing of available filter fabrics based on information provided by the manufacturers to the 1997 Specifier's Guide dated December 1996. It is the responsibility of the engineer to verify the adequacy of the material, as there are changes in the manufacturing process and the type of fabric used, which may affect the continued acceptance.

6. The design engineer and geotechnical engineer should make the determination that the settlement of the pond will not cause excessive joint extension. For further information on joint extension analysis, see NRCS Publication TR-18.

7. Fill placement shall not exceed a maximum of 8-inch. Each lift shall be continuous for the entire length of the embankment.

8. The embankment fill shall not be placed higher than the centerline of the principle spillway until after the principle spillway has been installed. If the embankment needs to be excavated to install the principle spillway, the side slope shall be no less than 2:1.

9. The side slopes of a cut to repair a dam, install a principle spillway for an excavated pond, or other repair work, shall be done on a slope of no less than 2:1.