“It’s always a lot less expensive to stay ahead of maintenance and be preventive vs. waiting until county inspectors get involved.”
Detention ponds temporarily store and slowly release stormwater runoff that flows off the land when it rains. Like a bathtub with a partially closed drain, detention ponds enable water to accumulate in the tub and then slowly empty after storms have subsided.
Stormwater detention ponds help slow heavy water flows to avoid floods and improve the quality of urban stormwater runoff from roads, parking lots, and commercial and industrial areas by filtering the water. Nearly every commercial property in Georgia has one.
But to do their job right and comply with local requirements, stormwater detention ponds require proper and regular maintenance.
Now is the time to be thinking about your detention pond
Annual routine detention pond maintenance can include:
- Detention pond inspections
- Sediment, trash, debris, and litter removal
- Vegetation management
- Structural checks
Sometimes detention ponds require additional maintenance, such as bank stabilization with plants to prevent erosion.
In Atlanta, June and July are the best months for detention pond cleanup and renovation because the weather is hot and dry. There is less water in the detention ponds, so the transition is smoother and more efficient, explaining HighGrove Partners Land Services Manager Kevin McHenry.
Metro-Atlanta Commercial property owners and managers are responsible for detention pond upkeep.
For instance, inspectors can cite Atlanta commercial properties with too much debris in their stormwater detention ponds, don’t meet the county or city’s predefined requirements, or don’t run properly at full capacity.
The costs of cleaning detention ponds at this stage usually escalate very quickly, McHenry points out. “It’s always a lot less expensive to stay ahead of maintenance and be preventive vs. waiting until county inspectors get involved,” he says.
When commercial properties have the budget to invest improvement dollars in their sites, they usually choose to screen their detention ponds with plants or incorporate them into the surrounding landscape to improve their aesthetic appeal.
“Some of our clients want to make their detention ponds more appealing to the eye,” McHenry explains. “Some will add a water feature like an aeration fountain, and others will dress them up with additional plants, such as native grasses, wax myrtle, or miscanthus.”