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#472303 - 05/19/17 08:00 PM Detention Pond Maintenance
DB26 Offline

Registered: 05/19/17
Posts: 4
Loc: Ohio
Hi all,

Complete newbie here looking for some advice that probably already has been discussed. I apologize in advance if it has. I'm a new trustee to a HOA and I've been tasked with trying to make our community pond visibly appealing.

Our pond is approximately an acre in surface area and it serves as a detention pond for the stormwater runoff from houses, driveways and roads in our development. Its approximately 8' deep at the center. Most of it is very shallow.

the pond has been maintained by a pond service company for several years, but it appears that no improvement in the water quality is ever achieved. The aquatic plants are out of control. The pond service company has added aeration about 4 years ago (just one aerifier) and have dye added on a regular basis (sometimes weekly). This is a tough pond to maintain due to when it rains, a lot of the treatments wash out at the overflow. as far as i know, there have not been any chemicals added to kill off the vegetation.

Based on the photos attached, what do you recommend as a good process for cleaning this pond up? Residents would like a weed free pond that looks visibly better and can be fished from.

I appreciate any and all advice.

pond 1.jpg (184 downloads)
pond 2.jpg (112 downloads)
pond 3.jpg (118 downloads)

#472316 - 05/20/17 08:23 AM Re: Detention Pond Maintenance [Re: DB26]
Bill D. Offline

Registered: 10/19/14
Posts: 5521
Loc: Boone County Illinois
Welcome to PBF DB!

I can see why you got discouraged with your management company. That's a lot of vegetation!

A couple questions....do you know how deep the muck is on the bottom? Do you know how deep the pond was when new? From the pictures showing the abundance of trees on the shoreline, I suspect you have a significant muck/sediment layer fueling the vegetation with excessive nutrients and the pond probably needs to drained and cleaned out as the first step.

....Just my 1 cent

Hopefully, the pros will be along to offer opinions.

Bill D.

You'll never know what ya can catch unless you wet a line!

#472328 - 05/20/17 09:58 AM Re: Detention Pond Maintenance [Re: Bill D.]
DB26 Offline

Registered: 05/19/17
Posts: 4
Loc: Ohio
Thanks Bill. a little bit of history - The development was constructed in 2003 with 40 buildable lots. until 2010, most of the lots were vacant. Now we are 100% built out. since this is a detention pond, it receives run off from the homes in the development, including their lawn fertilization.

I haven't put my waders on to see how deep the muck is, but if i had to guess it would be several inches thick. The pond was a natural low spot in the development and used to be farm land. It has been there forever as far as I can predict. In 2003 when the development was created, the pond was converted to a detention basin with the development storm piping being run to it.

Back in the day, the pond may have been 10-12' deep. Cattails started to grow by the inlet channel to the pond, which tells me sediment is finding its way into the pond and is making the inlet area of the pond shallow enough to support cat tail growth. Those were killed off with round-up last fall.

i mentioned dredging the pond out last year but the expense of it is probably not an option for the community.

#472331 - 05/20/17 10:18 AM Re: Detention Pond Maintenance [Re: DB26]
esshup Offline
Field Correspondent


Registered: 01/26/09
Posts: 24021
Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
Due to the short water retention time a herbicide that takes a long time to act like Fluridone isn't an option.

The first thing that needs to be done is ID the submerged weeds. Take a look at http://aquaplant.tamu.edu/ and ID the submerged weeds. Then an appropriate herbicide to use can be determined based on the plants in the pond.

I would be remiss if I didn't tell you that using Round-Up in a pond or body of water is not recommended or legal as it is not approved for use in or around water.

Due to the nutrients that have accumulated in the pond, and that continually run into the pond, once you kill the weeds you will have an algae explosion, and you will have to manage the algae, either by using algaecides or by adding Tilapia.

I'm assuming that since this is governed by the HOA, what is their budget for the storm water retention pond this year?

3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).

#472355 - 05/20/17 02:03 PM Re: Detention Pond Maintenance [Re: DB26]
John Fitzgerald Offline

Registered: 10/27/15
Posts: 1736
Loc: S. end of Elkins, Arkansas
Can you drain the pond and then clean it out?

#472358 - 05/20/17 02:18 PM Re: Detention Pond Maintenance [Re: DB26]
CJD Offline

Registered: 08/25/15
Posts: 57
Loc: Fl, USA
Is a detention ponds main purpose the rehabilitation of wayward fish?

#472360 - 05/20/17 02:24 PM Re: Detention Pond Maintenance [Re: DB26]
RAH Online   content

Registered: 05/17/09
Posts: 3983
Loc: Indiana, Boone County, 25 mile...
I would look at hardy ornamental water lilies to block sunlight and compete with the submerged plants, eat up nutrients, and add beauty. I would also init ally protect them from herbivorous with a perimeter fence. This works for me. This pond has an agricultural field as most of the watershed.

Edited by RAH (05/20/17 02:30 PM)

#472361 - 05/20/17 02:32 PM Re: Detention Pond Maintenance [Re: RAH]
DrLuke Offline

Registered: 06/04/15
Posts: 270
Loc: Grinnell, IA
Originally Posted By: RAH
I would look at hardy ornamental water lilies to block sunlight and compete with the submerged plants, eat up nutrients, and add beauty. I would also init ally protect them from herbivorous with a perimeter fence. This works for me. This pond has an agricultural field as most of the watershed.

RAH, I love the lillies! Do you know what other emergent plants you show there? I am looking to add something to compete with my FA for nutrients that won't get too out of control..
Uva uvam vivendo varia fit

#472365 - 05/20/17 03:04 PM Re: Detention Pond Maintenance [Re: DB26]
RAH Online   content

Registered: 05/17/09
Posts: 3983
Loc: Indiana, Boone County, 25 mile...
I like pickerel weed, giant bur-reed, arrow arum, blue flags, and lizard's tail quite a bit, along with various spike rushes as emergent plants. I like horsetail (scouring rush), but it can be invasive so I only add it to water edges with an established emergent and bank population. Swamp milkweed is also nice along with spiderwort a little farther up the bank. I really guess that I like a diversity of plants, and flowers are a plus. A good natural edge and water lilies can soak up a lot of nutrients and cut down on algae problems. It may take a while to work while the plants spread unless you have a lot of money to buy a bunch of plants. Maybe one of the Pond Boss family lives near by and is willing to share? Also hibiscus is spectacular when it blooms.

Hibiscus in one of our wetlands.

P.S. I like woolgrass and monkey flower too.

Edited by RAH (05/20/17 03:18 PM)

#472408 - 05/21/17 11:49 AM Re: Detention Pond Maintenance [Re: esshup]
DB26 Offline

Registered: 05/19/17
Posts: 4
Loc: Ohio
Thanks all for the responses. I pulled some of the weeds out and it appears we have Curly-Leafed Pondweed. See attached and confirm if i'm correct on the identification. There is some FA mixed in and also a little bit of duck weed.

There is about 6" of muck on the bottom. The association has approximately $2500 annually to maintain the pond. In years past, most of that has been outsourced to a pond service to put in dye on a regular basis (sometimes weekly depending on rain events since this is a detention basin that collects water from roof run-off, ditches, driveways).

My roundup comment for the cat-tails was probably my ignorance in chemical matter. The pond service applied the herbicide to those and I do not know what they used. In any event, i appreciate the education very much!

Based on the weed species, any recommendations to control them moving forward? Though a big job, I wonder if raking them out and then applying a chemical application would be of benefit?

Thanks all,


20170521_110333.jpg (86 downloads)
20170521_110324.jpg (75 downloads)

#472547 - 05/23/17 10:47 AM Re: Detention Pond Maintenance [Re: DB26]
Matzilla Offline

Registered: 08/12/16
Posts: 251
Loc: Iowa
if the FA covers the curly leaf it will choke it off and accelerate its die off...the curlyleaf usually tapers back and dies once the summer continues on

It seems most people say you need to treat the curly leaf as soon as possible in the later winter and early spring. The plant will produce seeds very early in the growth cycle and proliferate quickly. You can treat with chemicals at any time and rake as needed to clear the water way.
Mat Peirce
1.25 acre southeast Iowa pond

#472554 - 05/23/17 11:44 AM Re: Detention Pond Maintenance [Re: DB26]
highflyer Offline

Registered: 07/09/11
Posts: 1824
Loc: East Texas
Mechanical removal is a lot of work, but it does remove the nutrients from the system. If you have the flushes you talk about, and aeration, you should be removing some of the nutrients that way, but it looks like there is a lot of nutrients remaining even after a few years of aeration. I would start with some mechanical removal and see if you can make a noticeable difference.

Oh, I would look for a different pond maintenance expert. There are several here on PB that are in your area. They will be able to work with you to attain your goals in a reasonable amount of time.

The one thing is the one thing
A dry fly catches no fish
Try not to be THAT 10%

#472676 - 05/25/17 05:41 PM Re: Detention Pond Maintenance [Re: Matzilla]
DB26 Offline

Registered: 05/19/17
Posts: 4
Loc: Ohio
thanks everyone. I did read on this forum that the recommendation for pondweed treatment is late fall or early spring. i think we missed the window for this season, unless we commit to doing it twice (fall and spring).

i agree with the comment about finding another pond service. Its been a mess for way too long.

thanks for all the advice.



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