free suction dredging cost estimator

Are you interested in learning how expensive it will be to dredge your pond or waterfront? Look no further. We have created a free suction dredging cost estimator so that you can get a better idea how much sediment and/or “muck” is in your pond or lakefront and what it will cost to remove it. Once you have entered all of the information, you must click “submit” to see the results which are summarized on the following screen. While we do occasionally send an email or follow-up on a submission, we will never sell your information and you can rest assured your information will remain completely safe and protected.

Below the estimator we have also provided a guide to finding out the information you will need in order  to use the free dredging estimator. Please keep in mind that this is a relatively loose estimate. While the numbers you receive should be fairly accurate, you will need to have a company like Pristine Waters come out and inspect the proposed work site to receive a firm price quote. There are some factors that need to be assessed on site to determine feasibility and true cost. The dredging estimator assumes several things:

  • Your property has adequate de-watering areas that are relatively flat and open. If not, we may need to have a “pad” built at additional cost upon which to place a de-watering bag.
  • The lake or pond is relatively accessible. Essentially, we must be able to navigate a pickup truck to the pond or waterfront.
  • The customer will handle the removal of spoils. We can assists in finding a reputable company to do this work, however, the estimate does not account for this expense.
  • The customer has acquired the required permits. Again, we can assist in this process.
  • We actually get into your pond or waterfront to do a physical assessment. Sometimes we find a potential client (or one of their prospective contractors) has overestimated the amount of material that needs to be removed, which reduces the cost of the project.

All fields (except phone number) are required to receive the pricing information.

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Below are some tips on getting the information needed to use the free dredging cost estimator accurately.

you will need an accurate estimate on the square footage of your pond or waterfront.

If you have a survey of your pond, great. You can move on to the next section. If not, please continue below.

Beware of contractors that will not provide a more accurate measurement of your pond’s size. A simple length times width calculation will simply not work as your pond is likely an irregular ellipse. Additional square footage based on an inaccurate measurement will yield substantially higher amounts of material and thus inflate price dramatically. As an example, let’s say we can measure your pond to have a maximum length of 126′ and a maximum width of 77′. This calculation would yield an area of 9,702 square feet.



But wait a minute…that formula is to calculate a rectangle, not an irregular ellipse. What is the formula to calculate an irregular ellipse you might ask? I am sure we could have figured it out back in high school while learning analytic geometry, but that was a long time ago. Thankfully there is free mapping software online that can calculate it for you!

Using a tool such as Bing Maps (which is detailed further below), we can determine that the area of the pond is actually closer to 7,466 square feet. That is a difference of 2,236 square feet. Why is that important you might ask? Well, we calculate the price to dredge out sediment from your pond by charging a per cubic yard rate. Let’s assume that in this example there is an average of 2′ of sediment throughout the pond. This would yield about 719 cubic yards if we use the length times width calculation for area of the pond. If we use the actual mapped area of the pond, we would be basing our fee on 553 cubic yards. If we assume a $30 per cubic yard fee to dredge, you would be looking at a difference of almost $5,000!



We prefer to use Bing Maps, a  free measurement tool, although Google Earth Pro and DraftLogic also offer similar free tools utilizing Google Maps imagery. Just use whichever tool offers the least obstructed view of your pond or waterfront.

By searching an address in Bing Maps, you can zero in on your pond. We suggest enabling the “aerial view” which brings up satellite imagery to replace the road map. This option is found in the upper right portion of the screen. By right-clicking where you would like to start measuring from, you can then bring up a pop-up menu as seen below.

A screenshot of the options available upon right-click in Bing Maps. Notice the option "Measure distance" towards the bottom of the pop-up menu.
A screenshot of the options available upon right-click in Bing Maps. Notice the option “Measure distance” towards the bottom of the pop-up menu.

Select the “Measure distance” option from the pop-up menu and you will immediately notice that there is a line extending from where you initially clicked and your cursor. You now have the ability to select points to delineate the area of a pond or waterfront, or anything on the map you would like to measure. Just keep clicking points to select your area. The resulting area (and length for that matter) can be viewed in the box on the left hand side of the map as seen below. When you are finished, click the “close shape” option in the same box.

A screenshot of Bing Maps being used to measure the area encompassed in a dredging work zone. You will notice the measurement results on the left hand side of the screen.
A screenshot of Bing Maps being used to measure the area encompassed in a dredging work zone. You will notice the measurement results on the left hand side of the screen.

Congratulations! You have now measured your pond or waterfront and you are one step closer to understanding your dredging project.

you will need an average depth of sediment for the pond or the area requiring dredging.

To generate this figure it is a bit more tricky and there are several ways to do this:

  1. Get a bit dirty! Get in your pond and use a marked pole (with tape marking off each foot) to probe the sediment depth. Do not be afraid to push quite forcefully down into the sediment as sometimes there are crusted layers of material with additional sediment below. This method is not for the faint of heart as you will usually get quite dirty but we find this the most accurate way to get sediment readings. Try to be systematic in you measurement intervals (eg., measure every 4′ in any direction from another point). Progress throughout the zone, all while writing down or having a friend write down the measurements. Having a sketch or a printed map of the area is helpful.
  2. Hire a company to generate a bathymetric map using sonar. While much easier, this can be costly and may or may not accurately delineate sediment depths depending on the consistency of the sediment (muck vs. sand).
  3. Use a marked pole to measure sediment from a boat. This is likely the least accurate way to measure as the ability to penetrate harder substrates that are not the “true bottom” is questionable. This is however certainly a cleaner approach to the first method.

do a little simple math.

Regardless of which method you use, you can now get a basic understanding and average of the depth of sediment. Let’s say this average is 1.5′ for this example.

Congratulations, you now are most of the way to understanding the volume of material in your pond or waterfront!

do some more simple math.

So, now that we have the square footage of the area needing dredging, along with an average depth of sediment in feet, we can calculate the cubic feet of sediment:

8,442 Square Feet X’s 1.5 Feet = 12,663 Cubic Feet

However, almost all pricing for dredging in the United States is calculated in cubic yards.  There are 3 feet in a yard,  and since we are dealing with cubic feet at the moment, we must convert this number. A cubic yard is a unit of measure to represent the volume of 1 yard x 1 yard x 1 yard. This can also be done in feet with the volume equation 3 X 3 X 3, which is equal to 27. To convert the cubic footage into cubic yards, simply divide the cubic feet by 27. This will yield your wet cubic yards total:

12,663 Cubic Feet ÷ 27 = 469 Cubic Yards

or, try our free dredging volume calculator for yourself!


We are getting there…we now know the amount of material you would like to remove through dredging and we can move on to pricing and additional expenses.

Suction dredging is priced based on volume. The greater the volume of material to be removed from the pond or waterfront, the lower the per cubic yard price. Contrarily, as the volume of dredged material goes up, some of the ancillary or extra costs also go up, such as the geotextile tubes and site materials. However, while it is difficult to account for some of the variables inherent to every site/project (available de-watering space, consistency of sediment, water depth, accessibility, etc., …), the calculator can give you a basic pricing estimate.

give our free suction dredging cost estimator a try!


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