When a new neighborhood or office building is constructed, the natural flow of the land is disturbed. Most of the trees, natural grass and soil are destroyed and replaced with concrete, pavement, sidewalks and other unnatural structures. The topography of the land is likely altered and the former natural flow of water has now been dramatically changed.
The direct result of all the changes is that rainwater that used to be soaked up by the natural land will now flow off the developed land at a much faster rate. The amount of water flowing out of gutters, down driveways, streets and parking lots is much larger then the land can handle. In order to handle the rapid rate of water runoff, both residential and commercial properties are required to establish and maintain retention or detention ponds.
In the State of Georgia and many other states, the Homeowners Associations (HOA’s) and property management companies are required to maintain the retention and detention ponds to ensure that all rainwater on any given property is collected in a manner that does not disturb the surrounding land.
All retention ponds are subject to annual or biannual city or county inspections. The inspector will want to see the retention pond is capable of running at full capacity and that the retention or detention pond meets most of the requirements that we discuss below.
Retention and detention ponds need periodic maintenance. If you are a property manager or part of a homeowners association, you will want to ensure that your retention or detention pond is cleaned out on a regular basis to ensure compliance with city and county codes.
Retention Pond or Detention Pond Maintenance Checklist
• Keep the earth and dam around your retention pond in good order. The vegetation around your retention pond will reduce the pollutants in the storm water; however, the vegetation should be well maintained and any overgrowth should be reduced. It is also a good idea to remove any new trees that may cause future problems.
• On a periodic basis remove any debris and any silt buildup from your retention pond.
• Communicate with the homeowners in your neighborhood or the tenants in your commercial space and make sure everyone understands the importance of reducing the chemicals, pollutants and waste products that make their way down the storm drains in the neighborhood or office park.
• Inspect the headwall, the weir, the exhaust and other key components of the retention pond on a regular basis to ensure the pond is operating as intended.
• Remove any silt or sediment that may have accumulated at the basin forebay on a regular basis.
• Inspect the storm water drains that are delivering water to the retention or detention pond and make sure they are free of debris and in good working order.
Items like grass clippings, pet waste and other various organic materials that find their way down the storm drains causes algae to grow at much faster rates in the pond and increases the maintenance needed to keep the pond in working order.
Taking great care of your retention and detention ponds ensures that the water we are returning to our streams and rivers is cleaner then it would have been had it just passed over a greasy pavement? If we educate people on the roll the retention or detention pond is playing in their neighborhood or office park; people will be more careful the next time they are going to blow their grass clippings or send their pet waste down the closest storm drain.
Most reputable landscaping companies are well equipped to work with the HOA or property management group to come up with a reasonable maintenance plan that will keep the retention or detention pond working as intended. A properly maintained retention or detention pond helps all of us.
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Joe Archer is the owner of Mobile Joe’s Landscaping. Mobile Joe’s Landscaping is a full service landscaping and landscape design company based in Atlanta, GA. Joe’s company can help any HOA or property management group maintain their retention or detention pond.
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