Pond Management

Asked May 9, 2020, 2:33 PM EDT

I am looking for information regarding a small pond on our property in Meridian Township. I would love to know if it is safe for swimming, how deep it is, and how to keep the algae under control during the summer months so it is more fun to swim or paddle boat in. We don't want to destroy any important part of nature or use a bunch of unfriendly chemicals or anything. Is this something that can be done?

Ingham County Michigan

3 Responses

Hello, and thank you for using eXtension for your pond questions. I can answer some but not all of your questions. I can not answer if it is safe for swimming, for example what would be entirely up to you. Do have algae that needs controlling? Is it perhaps duckweed pretending to be algae? You must measure your own pond to determine its size and depth. That will also give you the water volume so you can determine what is needed in what quantities to manage the pond better. Here is a series of articles and a website to visit to help you with managing your pond. You can also hire a pond management specialist to do all of this for you. As with any contractor, get multiple quotes and make sure that they will service your needs and not talk you into what is easier for them.

Articles that can help:

https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/preserve_your_natural_backyard_pond

https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/how-much-water-is-in-my-pond

https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/cold-weather-kills-pond-duckweeds-until-spring

Thank you for your response. I guess what I meant in terms of safe to swim in, was more about could there be harmful bacteria or anything that could be unsafe for humans. Is there a place that I could bring a water sample in for testing or is that not necessary?

Hello again,

Most places that test water for water quality test it for drinking water,. Because surface water is exposed to everything surface water testing is not as common and mostly test for pollutants. If you have a healthy frog population in your pond you can be assured that the water is pretty good. Frogs are an indicator species because they breath though their skin when under water, and are the first to be impacted by low water quality. E.Coli is the primary concern in surface water and is usually the result of faulty septic systems or localized livestock farms.

The first place to contact about water testing is your local environmental health department to see if they will test your water for you. There are also great resources on the EGLE page .
https://www.michigan.gov/egle/0,9429,7-135-3313_3681_3686_3728---,00.html
https://extension.psu.edu/interpreting-water-tests-for-ponds-and-lakes