Storm Ponds - what is their purpose?

September 9, 2021 / 5 mins read
Storm Ponds - what is their purpose?

Storm Ponds

Stormwater is water that flows from rainstorms and melting snow. As the water flows from roofs, driveways, lawns, streets, and sidewalks, it collects dirt, sand, gravel, and other particulates along the way. The water empties into a storm drain where pipes carry it away to storm ponds.

What are Storm Ponds? Why is there one in my Community?

Storm ponds are created to collect and hold rainfall and snowmelt before the water reaches the surrounding rivers, creeks, and streams. Not only are storm ponds beautiful green spaces within the community, but they also serve to control water runoff near homes and businesses after a storm, reduce erosion risks, and reduce sediment from entering our waterways.

How do Storm Ponds reduce the number of sediments and pollutants before they enter our waterways?

As water runoff is collected in the storm pond, it brings along undesirable particulates found in every community such as dirt, fertilizers, pesticides, vehicle fluids, and road salts. As the runoff is collected, over time the sediments settle to the bottom of the pond and then become removed from the stormwater. Vegetation around these ponds also serves to reduce erosion and assist by pulling nutrients and sediment out of the water before entering the waterways.

Can undesirable particulates enter the groundwater through the pond?

Wet ponds, like the one in Painted Sky, work by retaining water, therefore slowing down the water's return to natural bodies of water. This process helps settle out the sediments and allows undesirable particulates to be removed or degraded by natural environmental processes. This helps return cleaner water to our natural waterways in the area. The engineered storm pond liner that has been installed in Painted Sky is intended to separate stormwater and the naturally occurring aquifers in the area.

Can the Storm Pond flood?

Storm ponds are designed to aid in the protection of homes and businesses from possible flooding after a storm. During fast rainfall, the catchbasins, storm drains, and pond areas temporarily hold back runoff so that areas downstream do not receive large quantities of water all at once. These systems are designed in compliance with the municipal approved Stormwater Management Plans to handle severe rainstorms.

Can Storm Ponds be used for recreation?

These ponds are designed to have a water depth of three metres, which can rise quickly after storms. Storm ponds provide many features to the community, but they are not safe for recreational activities. Due to the rapidly changing water levels and water quality not intended for body contact, a storm pond should not be used for recreational purposes like swimming, fishing, or boating. In the winter, weather systems and pollutants such as road salts in the ponds can cause the ice to be thinner and weaker than other bodies of water. This makes them extremely dangerous to walk or skate on. Storm ponds have an important job to do as they protect the community from extreme rain and help create cleaner stormwater. Due to the constantly flowing water in and out of the ponds, it is important to remember to enjoy the ponds from a distance.