News Flash

News: Blaine

Posted on: January 16, 2019

The Story Behind All the Ponds

Rebecca Haug Leading Class Discussion at Westwood Middle School - 300

Recently, city staff presented to the 8th grade honors Spanish science class at Westwood Middle School. During the presentation, the students took a water trivia quiz and were stumped to find out that there is only one natural lake in the City of Blaine, Laddie Lake.

Many developments have large ponds that were excavated below the peat to find sand, which was then hauled to the surface to create building pads for homes. This was done to have stable ground for homes to sit on and prevent properties from flooding.

These ponds were also designed to capture the rainwater (stormwater runoff) that runs over hard surfaces such as parking lots, roads and buildings. These ponds are not designed to be like a natural lake. Inviting as they look, storm water ponds can also pose hazards including strong currents during storm events, steep side slopes and drop-offs, unsafe winter ice and contaminated water and sediment.

The daily activities of people cause pollutants to collect on impermeable surfaces, these pollutants include dirt, oil, fertilizers, yard waste, litter and salt. With stormwater ponds in place, rainwater can collect, sediment and pollutants can settle to the bottom of the pond, before being released back into the watershed.

City ordinance addresses alterations to and uses of public and private stormwater ponds:

  1. The city discourages recreational activities such as boating, swimming, fishing, and skating on storm water ponds.
  2. No alterations to shorelines or vegetation around stormwater ponds is allowed without authorization from the city and in some cases the watershed district.
  3. Structures are not allowed within the stormwater pond or protective buffer zone. These include but are not limited to retaining walls, docks, piers, diving platforms, bridges, etc.
  4. Fountains or other circulating devices are not allowed without a permit from the city.
  5. Dumping of yard waste materials in, on or around any stormwater pond is prohibited. Cattails growing in and around stormwater ponds may be cut with permission and direction from the city.

The pollutants being collected by the ponds can be potentially harmful to people and local wildlife. The city inspects the stormwater ponds on a five-year rotating basis to ensure that they are operating properly. Here are some tips to make sure these stormwater ponds continue to function properly:

  • Keep litter, yard waste and pet waste out of drainage ditches and storm drains.
  • Pesticides and fertilizers need to be used and disposed of properly; one of the main contributors to algae blooms in stormwater ponds is excess nutrients from fertilizers.
  • Properly dispose of oil and antifreeze.
  • Never hose off your driveway, sidewalk or other impermeable surfaces.
  • Use a carwash rather than washing your car at home to prevent the soap from going into the storm sewer and eventually into the stormwater ponds.
  • Plant grasses and other plants over exposed areas to reduce erosion and leave natural vegetation around your pond.

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