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At Home Autism Safety Fact and Figures Ponds Pools Winter Hazards

Pond Safety Tips

NEVER let children wade or swim in a retention/detention pond.
Ice on neighborhood ponds is unpredictable. Don't allow children to play there, and set the example as adults.
Know where the bodies of water in your area are.
Work as a group to monitor ponds in your neighborhood

What is a "Retention Pond"?

A retention pond is a body of water that is used to collect storm water runoff for the purpose of controlling the release of this runoff. Retention ponds have no outlets or streams, creek ditches, etc. Water collects and then is released through atmospheric phenomenon such as evaporation or infiltration.


What is the difference between a Retention pond and a Detention pond?

The biggest difference between a detention pond and a retention pond is that a detention pond has an outlet such as a pipe that discharges water to a stream. A detention pond is a body of water that is used to collect storm water runoff for the purpose of controlling the release of this runoff. The pipe that a detention pond contains is sized to control the release rate of the storm water runoff.

Both retention ponds and detention ponds can be located in your neighborhood, so be sure to apply the safety rules to both types of ponds. Both can be dangerous.

So always remember what Diver Dan says, When in Doubt, Just Stay Out!

Pond Construction

Neighborhood ponds serve several purposes, but none of those purposes include swimming or wading.

The ponds must be of sufficient depth (at least 8-10 feet) to prevent stagnation and algae growth, and to handle the amount of stormwater runoff that will enter from your neighborhood.

Many people, and most children, don't realize that these ponds typically have a "safety ledge" at the edge to keep those who UNINTENTIONALLY enter the pond from getting into deep water immediately. This safety ledge is generally no wider than 10 feet, and leads directly to much deeper water. The slope off the safety ledge varies greatly, as does the depth of water it leads to. This is a common place to find young drowning victims who were unaware of this hazard.


The graphic below is an example of a construction guideline for building a new pond. Note the minimum pond depth of at least 8 feet. This guideline calls for a 10 foot minimum safety ledge with a maximum water depth of 2 feet.

Got Geese?

One common problem with ponds is the buildup of bacteria like E-coli. Because of the limited water flow and the tendency of wildlife like geese to gather around ponds, they can become breeding grounds for dangerous bacteria. If you have a large goose population at your pond, have you noted the amount of droppings in and around the water? Where do you suppose all of that nasty stuff goes?
One more reason to stay out of the water.