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Dan Palmer
Photo © Craig Mackintosh

by Dan Palmer, Very Edible Gardens

The Site-Specific Design Problem

The problem was how do you drain a duck pond in a way that

  1. directs the overflow to the same exit pipe as when you drain it totally
  2. doesn’t involve reaching your hand to the bottom of a pond full of duck poo
  3. lets you easily drain out every last millimetre of sludge, and
  4. lets you refill the pond without having to wait around to turn the tap off when it’s full.

Below is the design in which this conundrum arose. The duck pond is just above the tank in the lower left (under an apricot) and the infiltration path/trench it feeds is the worm-like thing curving up and around under the fruit trees….


Click for larger view

The Site-Specific Design Solution

After trying a few ideas that were expensive and only partially effective, the solution came to us. We added a bath plug to the lowest point on the base of the pond, which would mean draining every last millimetre of water when it was opened up. We then crafted a short length of 50mm PVC pipe with a rubber adapter that pushed snugly into both the pipe and the plughole. In a single system this both defined the overflow point and allowed the whole pond to be drained by simply lifting the pipe up. We then added a simple twist timer on the inlet pipe meaning you can pull the overflow pipe / plug out, let the pond drain in about 1 minute, twist the timer to however long it takes to full the pond, shove the overflow pipe / plug back in, and walk away. It works so well we’ll be using it in future duck ponds for sure.


Click for larger view

Here’s an album showing the installation of the pond…

…and here’s a video of what the ducks do when the plug is pulled.

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