Where do I find a private property dam inspector in NJ?
There is land I'm interested in purchasing near Morristown New Jersey
which has a tiny 100 foot diameter 10'foot deep pond with a ten foot
tall embankment and a 1-foot diameter pipe about 5 feet long going thru
that bank to the next property.
Where do I find a POND & DAM INSPECTOR to inspect that?
The home inspector the real estate agent set up said just go to the
town but I'm afraid of the town (I'd rather get a private assessment
I don't even know what to look for in my searches (hydraulic engineer?
dam inspector? pond inspector? civil engineer? waterway engineer?)
Whoever they are, I need to ask those dam people if they think the
embankment & outflow pipe is structurally sound and what it might need
to fix it.
Any help for me?
I would start with the extension office of that local county. Sounds a bit
weird that the pipe is going to a neighbor.
What are the water/ground water laws for NJ. I know in Colorado you can have
water/river/stream on the property and can not use it. Best check with the
county/local authority and find out what the deed restrictions/title are for
the property. That information can be found in the county recorders office.
It is public record..
I grew up on a farm in Iowa and if the dam did not leak that was good enough
A title search should show any water rights currently belonging to your
Any experienced real estate attorney could likely advise you here,
also....if its been abandoned or fallen into dis-use, it shouldnt be a big
legal hassle to get the rights vacated.
Damn....might turn out this would be an excellent source for geothermal
heating /cooling should you consider using water-source heat pumps.....
I should mention I live 1000 miles away from this property so
everything needs to be done by the Internet.
I already called the town who said they didn't have a clue what
category to look under (they gave me the names of three "Engineering"
firms in the town but they also didn't have a clue what to look under".
So, the problem isn't to look in the phone book (I'd be glad to if I
had one and I knew what to look for) ... it's what CATEGORY to look in
Do you know what to look for in that phone book?
I tried three civil engineering companies referred to me by the town
"planning and zoning" people.
All three say they didn't have a clue where to get an inspector
qualified to inspect a personal property dam.
BTW, this dam is just an earth embankment with a pipe running through
it so it's not all that complicated ... but I'm no way qualified to
inspect it myself when I visit the property.
I tried the town "planning & zoning" people (after the "construction"
folks referred me to them). They said to call one of three engineering
firms in the town but those engineering firms came up blank. They
didn't have a clue who would inspect an earth embankment.
Maybe I explained it wrong. The pipe merely goes to the other side of
the earch embankment (i.e., it transects the dam). It just sticks out
the other side of this ten-foot-tall embankment. It just so happens the
neighbor's property line is exactly at the foot of that embankment,
parallel to the embankment ... so the results is that the water goes
from the pond on property #1 to the pipe to a brook on property #2.
I do not know and I'm scared to death of the town becoming involved but
I do know that if the system is broken, I'll need to fix it and if I
want to modify anything I'll need competent engineering advice before I
do anything to the riparian system. But, I'd like to do all that
privately if possible.
I don't understand what this implies. All I'd use the incoming water
for (which comes in from a stream) is to fill the pond and then spill
out to the neighbor's property. Nothing else is intended (the house is
situated only on 2 acres of hilly lawan so there's not much else to do
with the water but let it run on by).
As per above, I don't understand how this would matter.
All I want to have is some professional person (civil engineer,
hydraulic engineer, dam inspector, whatever) inspect it to tell me if
it's safe and sound and if it's not, to then tell me what I need to do
to fix it so that it is safe and sound.
There's more to the story than I said in that the neighbor is
complaining that it's structurally not sound (I think he is just trying
to keep anyone from purchasing the property but I don't know that for a
All I need is the Internet listing to find a company that has the
credentials to inspect an embankment such as this and tell me reliably
what (if anything) needs to be done to make that dam safe & sound.
What have I done wrong?
Does anyone know of such a consultant in northern NJ?
army corps of engineers should tell you how to deal with water on the
property, or where to find someone to look at it. in az they're the ones to
go to if you have questions on the running of water in washes on your
cave creek, az
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Some comments --
A hydraulic engineer is a specialized civil engineer. That is what I was
before my retirement some years ago. I will provide some comments in no
1. I doubt that pipe through a 10' embankment is only 5' long. I will
it is much longer.
2. The surface area of the pond is about one-fifth of an acre. Assuming an
average depth of 5', a failure of the embankment could flood an acre of land
only 1' deep. Unless there are significant structures, houses, etc.,
downstream, the risks are pretty small.
3. One of the two principal failure modes for earthen dams is seepage under
the embankment. Consider the number of years it has been in place. These
failures usually show up shortly after the water is impounded. To inspect
for problems, you look for damp soil or flowing springs below the dam.
Small flows of *clear water* generally indicate a stable (safe) condition.
Muddy flows indicate active erosion of the substrate of the dam and
4. The other principal failure mode is spillway inadequacy. A spillway is
usually provided to bypass sudden storm inflows that are too large for the
normal outlet (that 1' pipe). It may be as simple as a sodded channel
around the end of the embankment. Without a spillway, water might overflow
the embankment causing a sudden spill of the water in the pond.
5. There are thousands of such small dams and ponds around the country.
Many have been designed by the Soil Conservation Service of the U. S.
Department of Agriculture. They usually are of simple design appropriate to
their use and locale. The local office may (or may not) be able to help in
evaluating the design of the outlet and spillway.
6. Some states require a permit before constructing such a pond. If so,
there may be construction drawings on file. It is very likely that a search
will show that the structure was never registered and you may be required to
do that after the fact.
7. It seems you may be overly concerned for the soundness of this small
structure. But -- and a big "but" -- I know nothing of the area downstream
from the structure and I know nothing of the neighbors who may have a
concern. If there is a real concern about the structure, it would be a
simple matter to cut a trench through the embankment and let the pond drain.
That means that in Colorado the rights of the people downstream are
more important than those upstream. I've been told by an attorney who
lived in Colorado at the time that you can't even catch rain water in
(Remove the Primes before e-mailing me)
My experience comes from my purchasing a landlocked lot having a springhouse
upon it, adjacent to my parcel a few years back...in SW Wa.....
It had been used by the family whose heirs had filed the original donation
land claim a few generations prior for irrigating some bottom lands for
farming....but the pipeline hadn't been actually used since the early
The agreement was actually written by myself, then reviewed by an
attorney....If I recall correctly, the agreement called for him to
relinquish all rights to said water excepting I was to do nothing to cause
the water to flow in a different direction than it currently followed....
In the Morris County (Morristown is the county seat) phone book, there is a
listing for Apgar Associates under Civil Engineers. They list their services
as Engineers, Surveyors, etc. and also include Dam and Bridges. Phone is
908-234-0416. They are in Far Hills, NJ.
Denison, not Dennison. (Birthplace of Dwight David Eisenhour) Completed in
late 40's with surveying of the turbine house in '45 or '46. National Parks
Service had a recreational park, similar to Lake Mead, until 1948. First
overflow of the dam, about 1963. There has been another earthen dam, not
sure where, that exceeded the size.
There are basically two different types of water law in the US. Eastern and
Western. In western water law, a person registers a claim, and noone
upstream is allowed to use water that would affect that persons claim. If
there is a serious drought, many people may have water go through their
property, and not be able to use a drop. That is how California gets most
of the Colorado river, though it has many more miles in Arizona. Eastern
water law basically says that you can use the water that goes across your
property, including damming it up, but you cannot divert the water to a
different waterway. Some cities in the east are violating the water law, by
creating lakes on one waterway, and piping the water to their citizens.
This creates some change in flow pattern, allowing changes in species, etc.
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