This may seem like an unusual topic to blog about, however with the recent deluge of rain delivered to this area by Tropical Storm/Depression or Hurricane Hermine depending on the day and location of the storm, I couldn’t help but notice how effective the retention ponds were as I drove around. Because of the volume of rain we experienced in a short period of time our streets had a difficult time draining the water but I didn’t experience any flooding, although it did happen in low lying areas of Pinellas County.
What did happen very effectively was the filling of retention ponds and doing exactly as they were designed to do. My subdivision has a retention pond about the size of half a football field with a spill over at one end for any water rising to a level where the excess water is diverted to a drain that leads directly out to the Intracoastal Waterway. That process of collecting all the rain water and then diverting anything the retention pond couldn’t hold into a spillway did exactly what it was designed to do.
All of this led me to think about the design and use of retention ponds that most of us normally don’t even think about or appreciate until we experience days of rain. The research I did said that most residential areas are often overlooked when considering storm water runoff. One purpose of the retention pond is to capture water from our streets, driveways, sidewalks, walkways and roofs and divert it into a specific location – the retention pond.
An added beneficial factor of a retention pond is that they provide pollutant removal through settling and biological uptake. Ponds remove 30-80% of certain pollutants from water before it enters nearby streams. Common pollutants reduced are sediments, bacteria, greases, oils, metals, total suspended solids, phosphorous, nitrogen and trash. Ponds are one of the most effective tools at providing channel protection and pollutant removal in urban streams. Essentially, retention ponds provide water quality and quantity control.
Retention ponds are beneficial for providing storm water abatement and the removal of pollutants from storm water. Many states including Florida began requiring storm water treatment in new developments in the 1980’s. I know for myself, witnessing the water runoff from our driveways, street, gutters, etc. into the retention pond protected us from any flooding and showed us the design of our pond is working quite effectively.
So the next time we have quite a deluge of rain, take a look around and notice how your retention pond is performing relative to the amount of storm water you are experiencing.