Wet detension ponds are an effective way to battle pollution caused by stormwater runoff. The ponds slow down the fast water flow out of the pipes and allow time for some of the nutrients to settle out of the water. In each pond, there are control structures that control the discharge of cleaner water into the Lagoon or St. Johns River once the water level reaches a certain elevation. The ponds also help alleviate flooding.
You may not have "waterfront" property, but the wet retention pond in your neighborhood is designed to capture all the run-off from your roof, lawn and driveway. Eventually the water in the pond will release to local waterbodies. By following the eight steps listed below, you can help prevent pollution of our precious Indian River Lagoon and St. Johns River.
1. Easy on the pesticides and herbicides. Please don't over spray your lawn and garden with pesticides and herbicides since they may be toxic to wildlife and may contaminate local waterbodies. Use them sparingly and strictly according to label directions. Seek nontoxic alternatives, and pull weeds by hand.
2. Use chemical fertilizers sparingly. Please don't overuse fertilizers especially near the water's edge. Rain and lawn irrigation wash the excess fertilizer into the pond causing nutrient pollution which contributes to the overgrowth of algae.
3. Please don't throw grass clippings into ponds or storm drains. Use your clippings for mulch or compost or, if you aren't planning to use them, put them in trash. Organic materials decay in water and are a source for nutrient pollution.
4. Plant, don't pave. Ground cover minimizes runoff and is prettier than concrete. Consider converting lawns adjacent to ponds to native vegetation which act as a buffer to control runoff and erosion. Plants native to the area should be used for landscaping since they have reduced needs for fertilizers and pesticides.
5. Redirect rain runoff from roofs, patios and driveways. Minimize flow by directing runoff to grassed areas or swales where in can infiltrate through soil and recharge groundwater levels. Consider using a rain barrel to collect rain water from your roof.
6. Watering the driveway won't make it grow. Save the hose for gardening, not sweeping. Wash your car on the lawn (and easy on the soap) which will help filter out detergetnts. Use biodegradable detergents with little or no phosphate.
7. Storm drains are only for rain water. Never pour used motor oil, leaves, lawn clippings, pet waste or other waste material into storm sewers. Motor oil is extremely toxic to wildlife. Drop used oil off at a recycle center. Pick up after your pet, and put the waste in the trash.
8. Educate your neighbors. Pass along the guidelines to your neighbors and discuss the importance of keeping pollutants out of local waterbodies. Better water quality begins with you! Working together, you and your neighbors can maintain your stormwater pond to improve water quality, provide valuable wildlife habitat and an attractive environment for the community.