As homeowners, you play an important role in the overall health and function of the stormwater ponds in your community. While many homeowners purchased “lake front” property, the reality is that these are stormwater ponds which have a purpose. Here we will discuss what a stormwater pond is, its purpose and what your role is as a homeowner.
Stormwater ponds have two purposes:
The first is to collect runoff from our impervious surfaces. Stormwater ponds are designed based upon the amount of impervious surface in the area. Prior to becoming a community, the land where your home is located consisted of soil and vegetation. During rain events, water was absorbed into the ground. Now that the land has been developed, impervious surfaces have been added. Impervious surfaces are surfaces that water is unable to penetrate. These surfaces include but are not limited to roadways, driveways, sidewalks, rooftops etc. Since the water in these locations is not able to soak in, in turns into runoff and makes its way to your stormwater ponds. We’d much rather the water runoff to a stormwater pond rather than flood our homes, yards etc.
The second is to trap pollutants. As water turns to sheet flow and enters our stormwater ponds, it picks up pollutants along the way. These pollutants include but are not limited to motor oils, gasoline, fertilizers, ant killer, asphalt from shingles, goose and duck feces etc. Now that these pollutants are in our stormwater ponds, the ponds are designed to slow down the water. They slow the water down in order to provide the pollutants enough time to drop out of suspension in the water column and sink to the bottom of the pond. The goal here is to trap the nutrients/excess pollutants within the pond so that clean water runs down stream. This process can be seen during rain events. When we receive a rain event, the pond water level is going to rise. Once the rain event concludes, it is normal for water levels to be elevated. At this time, the excess nutrients/ pollutants are dropping out of the water column. Within 24-48 hours the water level should drop back down within normal levels. At this point, your pond has successfully treated the water and prevented pollution in our downstream waterways.
Now that you’re familiar with the excess nutrients that get trapped within your stormwater ponds, it’s no wonder that these ponds experience algal blooms and other vegetation growth. Fertilizer makes our lawns green and beautiful. This same fertilizer can and will make our ponds green as well. Stormwater ponds are full of various types of nutrients that these species thrive on. This is where you as a homeowner and we as a professional pond management company come in to work together to keep the ponds in top shape.
Herbicide/Algaecide Treatments: The Lake Doctors, Inc. utilizes EPA approved Herbicides, Algaecides along with beneficial bacteria and pond dyes. Each Herbicide and Algaecide has to go through a minimum of a 10 year testing process prior to being approved for use in the aquatic environment. Each of our Technicians carry their own State Certification for the application of these EPA approved Herbicides and Algaecides. We utilize beneficial bacteria to help consume excess nutrients so that those nutrients are not available for the bad stuff such as algae and nuisance/invasive vegetative species. Pond dyes are often utilized to help darken the water. The goal here is to help prevent sunlight penetration. If sunlight is bale to penetrate to the bottom of the pond, photosynthesis can occur and things can grow.
Fertilizing: Always be mindful when fertilizing your lawns. We recommend pulling a soil sample and taking it to the Clemson Extension Office. There, they will test your soil and determine what fertilize you need. Many homeowners stick with 10-10-10 or a similar variation. Most lawns do not need extra phosphorus. Performing a soil sample will confirm exactly what your lawn needs. When you do fertilize, we recommend staying at least 15 feet from the waters edge and do not fertilize the banks. If the banks get fertilized, the next time it rains it will likely end up in the pond. Instead of a green slope, you’ll end up with a green pond.
Geese/Ducks: Geese and Ducks frequent our stormwater ponds. It’s important to remember that these are wild animals. While its temping to toss out bread, vegetable scraps etc to these birds, we should refrain from doing so. Did you know that one goose creates up to 2 pounds of fecal material per day? Therefore, a flock of 10 geese equals approximately 20 pounds of fecal material. That’s gross. This fecal material is loaded with nutrients and will likely end up in your pond, contributing to nutrient loading.
Mowing: When mowing your lawns, we recommend that you direct all grass clippings away from the pond and not into the pond. You’ve likely caught on by now but this material is nutrient rich. As it decays and composts it becomes nutrient rich.
Shoreline Buffers: Shoreline buffers are a fantastic option to reduces the amount of excess nutrients entering our ponds. A shoreline buffer is established by allowing native species to grow within 2-5 feet of the waters edge. These buffers are kept under control by periodic trimming to keep at a 1-2 foot height. As water flows to your stormwater pond, this buffer filters out the pollutants prior to them entering the pond. As a result, less nutrients enter the pond and less growth occurs in the pond.
As a community, the things that we do matter. We should pay extra attention and always consider what impacts we could have. If we work together, we can ultimately have something that we can all be proud of and achieve that “lake front” property that we all desire.
Lake owners and managers have been placing the care and nurturing of their lakes and ponds with The Lake Doctors since 1979, and we invite you to join the growing list of satisfied customers.