Guidelines for aquaculture pond construction

When building ponds for an aquaculture farm, there are a number of processes and guidelines that you should follow.

Guidelines for constructing and maintaining aquaculture containment structures (PDF, 1MB) will help make sure your containment structures are stable, effective and environmentally friendly. These guidelines contain detailed information on the following:

Designing containment structures

Consider the following factors when designing aquaculture ponds:

  • Farm layout - aim for the lowest possible risk to surrounding land, accounting for run-off, flooding, noise and odour.
  • Containment structures - before building your containment structure you should assess the design of foundations, embankments, freeboards, inlet/outlet works.
  • Intake and discharge points - by using concrete blocks, rock armouring and other design solutions you can minimise erosion and leaks around intake and discharge points.
  • Buffer zones - mound formations provide separation between containment structures and environmentally sensitive areas and beneficial land uses.
  • Engineering plans and drawings - seek the advice of a qualified engineer when designing aquaculture facilities. Up-front costs for their expertise can be offset by savings on construction and operating costs.

Building containment structures

Consider these construction steps for aquaculture ponds:

  • Notification - notify administration authorities such as local governments before any construction begins.
  • Site preparation - before you begin construction, clear all trees and woody materials; you may require a permit to remove native plants.
  • Material suitability - make sure you line the structure with well graded, impervious material.
  • Placement of material - when deciding where to place materials you should consider earth material lining, embankments, erosion control and pipes, culverts and weirs.
  • Correct moisture content - material used for lining should be treated to meet moisture content standards needed for compaction and low permeability.
  • Compaction - each layer of material should be compacted to a density greater than 95% of the standard compaction density.
  • Documents and records - a certified engineer should prepare a post-construction report confirming that the structure has been built to the certified plans and drawings. Any reasons for variations to the plans should be documented. Keep records of all excavation works and foundation levels and document any testing of earthworks undertaken during construction.

Monitoring pond structures

Monitor your pond structures after they have been built to make sure they are working properly:

  • Purpose - assess the impact of containment structures on the environment by checking for potential leakages, embankment instability and contamination of pond water quality.
  • Visual inspections - regular visual inspections should be carried out to identify any potential problems.
  • Groundwater monitoring - helps identify significant problems with containment structures.

Maintenance programs for containment structures

  • Routine maintenance - develop a routine maintenance program for your containment structures, which includes repair of erosion, pond floors, and removal of woody vegetation.

Fixing structural issues with aquaculture ponds

  • Structural repairs - fixing aquaculture ponds can be costly. If structural issues do occur, you should consult a certified engineer.

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