One way to battle stormwater runoff and the water pollution it causes is through retention ponds. Also known as “wet ponds,” these helpful structures are created to store and treat runoff. The collected stormwater is then eventually emptied into a larger body of water.
Proper maintenance of stormwater ponds is critical to ensure their safety, effectiveness, and longevity and avoid serious problems like flooding and increased pollutants. Follow our guide for complete retention pond care.
Who Is Responsible for the Maintenance?
Let’s start with who is required to take care of this pond maintenance. It primarily comes down to the location of the pond. Cities are responsible for any retention ponds within the public right of way or land owned by the town. Runoff that occurs on private property is the responsibility of the property owner, property management company, or community Homeowners Association (HOA). So, if a retention pond is in your community, office park, or shopping center, your HOA or property management company needs to take steps to care for it.
Businesses are required by the Clean Water Act to control runoff from construction sites and completed structures. This includes implementing measures to prevent polluted runoff from flowing into the area’s water supply (such as a retention pond).
If you’re unsure if a stormwater pond is your responsibility, it’s best to contact your city utility department.
Common Retention Pond Problems
Despite their importance, retention ponds can experience problems that may undermine their effectiveness. Here are three common issues:
Sediment Buildup: Over time, pollutants and other materials settle on the pond bottom, creating sediment buildup that reduces the pond’s capacity and increases the risk of flooding.
Erosion: Retention pond embankments can erode due to wave activity, storms, or poor construction, leading to leaks and breaches.
Vegetation Growth: When left unchecked, vegetation can overgrow and interfere with water flow, obstructing drainage and impeding the pond’s ability to store water.
In addition to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) federal regulations, different states and counties may have their own laws governing stormwater ponds. For instance, Maryland and Virginia have specific stormwater management acts that property owners should review before constructing or maintaining retention ponds. A professional stormwater maintenance company like iSTORMWATER can help navigate these regulations and ensure legal compliance.
Why Is It Essential To Maintain Retention Ponds?
Stormwater ponds can be a powerful tool in managing runoff, but only if properly cared for. Failure to do so can result in the release of pollutants downstream and an increased risk of flooding.
On the other hand, preventative maintenance ensures the stability of downstream channels, maintains good water quality, prevents unpleasant odors and annoying insects, and keeps the area looking well-kept — all critical aspects for both a business and a residence.
How Often Should Retention Ponds Receive Maintenance?
There are several retention pond maintenance tasks to stay on top of. Read on for a list of the most important routine measures you should take to prevent more significant problems and keep your pond in good working condition.
Inspections: Stormwater pond inspections should be performed as part of an overall stormwater management plan. Depending on the size of the property, they should be conducted quarterly or annually and within 24 hours of a major storm event that generates more than 1 inch of rain. Inspectors should have a detailed checklist of things to look for after rainfall, including obstructions, trash accumulation, erosion, and sedimentation.
Vegetation management: Monthly mowing helps prevent erosion and maintains pleasing aesthetics around the stormwater pond. Businesses or property owners should minimize fertilizer and pesticide use to avoid downstream pollution.
Mechanical equipment maintenance: Check valves, pumps, fence gates, locks, and mechanical components during periodic inspections.
Sediment removal: About every six months, accumulated sediment must be removed from the bottom of the outlet structure. During this process, pond depths should also be checked at several points. Accumulated sediment should be removed if it has decreased the pond’s original design depth by more than 25%.
Structural repair and replacement: Eventually, the structural components of a stormwater pond will need to be repaired or replaced. A stormwater professional can help you determine when this is necessary.
Where Can I Get Maintenance Help?
If you’re responsible for maintaining a stormwater pond on your property and need help, turn to the industry experts at iSTORMWATER. We have over 20 years of industry experience in pond management and maintenance and offer a satisfaction guarantee for your peace of mind.
Call us at (443) 699-2828 or contact us online to schedule preventative or emergency stormwater pond maintenance in the MD, VA, and DC areas.
Guaranteed Quality Service!
iStormwater LLC was an excellent choice. They made the process of the Storm water pond repairs seamless. They took charge of the project and got the project approved and passing the inspection. We highly recommend them and would use them again.
Incredible stormwater management service. The owner John consulted on a property I manage and ended up saving us thousands of dollars in environmental fees from the government. Now, our property is compliant with the EPA and we have a great partner to keep us maintained on storm water regulations over time.