Although natural areas may have Mother Nature’s idea of the best drainage system, the natural order of the land generally doesn’t work the best when it comes to development. When we come in to clear a parcel of land to build on, time must be spent designing and then modifying the land to drain so we can live on it. A standard part of most urban or residential areas in Florida are the ponds. Their primary function is that of stormwater management, and they are designed to manage the intake of water that an area may receive. At the same time, they work to slow polluted runoff by allowing time for the stuff in the water to settle out. Although their purpose may seem simple enough in theory; manage the water intake to prevent flooding and runoff, there is a lot going on in your neighborhood pond.
First off, people seem to really like living near water, ponds included. They can be aesthetically pleasing, and they can provide recreation opportunity. There is a caveat to this, however, and that is the state of the pond. If a pond is poorly maintained, you end up with the exact opposite of aesthetically pleasing or something you would want to swim in. A poorly maintained pond can send your property value in the complete opposite direction.
One thing to keep in mind is that everything from the surrounding area including homes, businesses, roads, all have a chance to end up in that pond. Everything that goes into the pond can impact pond health. Chemicals, fertilizers, sewage, and all other types of stuff can all cause your pond health to decrease over time. A pond too rich in nutrients can result in too much vegetation and the death of different types of aquatic species, not to mention the foul smell and ugly look the pond will develop if not properly maintained.
Once the problem has been recognized, there are several different things that can be done to bring a pond back to a healthy state. These include manual removal of problem plants, herbicides, introduction of biological controls such as sterilized fish, or bio-dredging. The key is to be preventative from the start, however. Be sure to utilize the appropriate storm drain protection during construction. Your NPDES inspector will gladly help to mitigate issues by pointing out any problem areas that may be washing into the storm system. You can help from your own home as well by continuing to monitor what you wash down those drains in your own neighborhood! Remember; Only rain down the drain!