Pond Siphon Systems

Prior to the 1970s almost all pond drainage and overflow systems were made out of galvanized pipe.  A pipe was embedded during construction at the bottom of the pond with a standpipe protruding upward to the desired level of the water.  These systems preformed adequately but the had some serious short comings.

  • They rust out.  Galvanized piping, even when efforts were made to minimize it, have a very limited life span.  Typically this might be 15 to 20 years.  Replacing it without digging up the pond is almost impossible.
  • They drain water from the top of the pond.  The top couple of feet contain most of the nutrients for you fish and since the pond drains from the top, much of the nutrients are swept away with the drain water.

A new system provides answers to these problems and many pond builders have been installing syphon systems in both new ponds and as replacements for old galvanized systems.

Pond Siphon System diagram

Pond Siphon System


The advantages are that when made of Schedule 40 PVC  ( the same stuff your plumber uses ) the piping is virtually weatherproof for an untold number of years.  It drains from the bottom so little or no nutrients for your fish are flushed away.  Since the structures are glued together it is fairly easy to build.   To replace an existing galvanized system you must seal the old piping completely.  This can be done by stuffing sacks or other bulky items into the old pipes and then using submersible concrete such as Sakcrete into the pipes until you get a good seal.

Photo of a Pond Siphon System

Pond Syphon System

The only real disadvantage to the siphon system that I can see, is when draining the pond it is almost impossible to get to the very bottom of the pond.  Since you are left above the bottom you cannot completely drain the pond.  If you are replacing fish you may have to use a fish kill to totally start over with your fish population.

A complete description of a Pond Siphon System is available.

You can look here for parts in Georgia and further information.


About Tice Brashear

Tice Brashear is the President of Brashear Realty Corporation. He is a licensed real estate broker and has over 37 years experience in selling land, farms, acreage, commercial and investment properties. He is a past President of the Georgia Association of Realtors and a past President of the Augusta Board of Realtors.
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25 Responses to Pond Siphon Systems

  1. ge petrea says:

    I have an existing 3 ac pond it has a 10in stand pipe 2 18in run arounds very little water shed less than 1in after 7yrs can i convert existing sch40 stand pipe into siphon system

  2. You can’t really convert the conventional system to a siphon system but you can replace the existing system by sealing the old system and them installing a new siphon system. Unfortunately it still means that you have to cut a trench into your dam at the water line. 10″ Schedule 40 for the new construction might be overkill. 8″ in probably more than enough.

  3. Brenda LeFer says:

    Hello I have a one ac pond and the old 60 plus ceramic/cement overflow pipe system is leaking. One pond guy once to place glavinzed pipe which I not in favor of. The local guy once to do the siphon which I think is top dog and the way to go. The address/pond is visible on any google map at 7000 Koweta Road, Fairburn GA, 30213. Over the years it has filled in and my question is do we go ahead and pay big bucks to dig out at least 1/4 low end or can we do later. We would not mind an on site evaluation. Do you do such? Plus and repair cost. Brenda Cell#770-238-7349,,,,Home 770-964-1187. Tks so much for your web site,,first site that shows and explains the Siphon setup.

  4. Marc Richards says:

    I have been in the pond business about 10 years. Richards Land Development 706-401-0809

  5. Check these guys out they built our pond and converted another to a dual siphon system as we are in the mountains and they can get the rising water down in a hurry. Did a great job with anchors and screens for less headache for us.

  6. Mike says:

    How would this system work in the Northern US where it gets down around 0 degrees for a few weeks at a time? My pond is spring fed so it would need to flow year round


  7. George Lee says:

    Pond in previous email is 7ac but feeds a 14ac in which BEAVERS are a CONSTANT hassle. In fact, the 14ac pond recently was at least 2′ high due to their stopping up its conventional spillway. We had to clear most of the blockage immediately to allow water volume from the 7ac to dump into the 14ac.

  8. George Lee says:

    “Previous” email referred to above is this one which didn’t post. Due to excessive rain in SW GA and being an absentee owner we recently found a broken off siphon control pipe, water running around the dam’s end, water high on the dam and 2″ of water running out the 12″ main siphon pipe. Immediate action was taken to fix the control pipe which resulted in full flow through the main pipe. Question … besides concrete and maybe rip rap on the run around area, does it sound like the main siphon pipe was installed too high?

  9. Alan DeWitt says:

    I have a pond that is 40 plus years old. It has a 12inch stand pipe to maintain the right level of the pond. The problem is that the medal drain pipe that the stand pipe is connected to is completely blocked or caved in. I am looking at putting in the 8″ siphon that you show. Is there anywhere in Northeast Georgia or the Monroe area that I can see this system?

  10. Lisa says:

    Hi, I just wanted to thank you for posting this information. My home’s basement has been flooding for the past 5 years due to hydrostatic pressure under the house that I believe is being caused by the volume of my pond. When the pond is low, the basement dries up. I have consulted so many people on what to do and have not found a practical solution until I read this article. I’m in Canada however so I’m wondering if our below freezing temperatures will affect the pipe at all? I would drawdown the pond before winter so it wouldn’t need to be drained during the winter months but would it be okay to leave the pvc pipes exposed to the elements?

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  13. Lynn Turner says:

    I have a 1 & 1/2 acre pond with an old metal stand pipe which is leaking. I am considering putting in a siphon system and the person who wants to do it says a 4 inch pvc pipe will be big enough. I’m not sure so what do you think?

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  18. Roy Riales says:

    Tice – we have a 1yr old 1ac pond with an installed 8 inch siphon system. However it only has a 2 inch hole in the pipe at the point where it bends to transfer acoss the dam.
    No vent stack. The siphon works perfectly, but I want the water level to be higher by 2-3 feet and to be able to manually control the level. We do not have fish and have no reason to siphon the water off the bottom. Absent installing a manual control valve in the top of the dam pipe, what could you advise?

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  24. Robert Geiger says:

    I have a four acre pond and the overflow pipe that was installed 50 years ago is deteriorating to the point that it is about to break off. Pond is in mid state SC and I would like to install a siphon system to replace it. Where would I go to find the right supplies of people to install new system? I considered had an estimate to install a system using drill system but cost was in excess of 15K.

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