Soil erosion has affected land all over the world from small residential landscaped properties to large forests and deserts. Soil erosion is described as soil particles being shifted around due to the devastating impact of rainfall, wind and ice melt. It is a natural process but in most cases human activity speeds up the process. Once the soil particles shift around to unknown areas it begins to cause gullies, cracks and severe dryness to the soil. Soil erosion will affect plants, flowers, vegetation and crops because the soil does not contain enough nutrients or energy to help them growth healthily.

Soil erosion prevention should begin with soil erosion controlling methods. Prevention methods should be determined by the depth and severity of soil erosion which has occurred on your property. Soil erosion prevention methods will help keep your soil healthy and willing to offer a place for plants and trees to grow and thrive.

What happens when detention ponds are neglected?

Giving the rate at which we experience near-record rainfall, stormwater runoff is an issue. Many Residential as well as commercial properties may have downspouts and parking lot drains tied into detention or amenity  ponds. If those basins get backed up, water will not properly exit surfaces causing pooling—and in worst case scenarios, you can get water backup in buildings.

First Environment Erosion Controls  conducts inspections looking for signs of erosion, stress on soil embankments, debris or vegetation that blocks waterflow, proper rip-rap, sediment and debris buildup, and the condition of headwalls.

You can pass a retention and detention pond inspection if you pay attention to those key areas of your commercial property’s basin.

Let’s talk more about these maintenance red flags and what maintenance steps can keep your retention or detention pond in inspection-ready condition.

Pond Maintenance

Let’s talk more about these maintenance red flags and what maintenance steps can keep your retention or detention pond in inspection-ready condition.

Prevent Erosion

The embankments of retention and detention ponds are naturally going to erode because of the way these structures work. They’re designed to catch water, which flows from the surface into the basin.

Water flow takes a toll on the ground over time. So does mowing in the same pattern, which is necessary because we always make horizontal passes with mowers on slopes for safety reasons.

When erosion occurs, soil and sediment can wash into the basin, compromise the integrity of the embankment and impact the water quality.

Solutions – Balding embankments may require reseeding, which is ideally done in spring or fall. Rock may be added to bolster areas where erosion is a real problem. The point is to keep soil in its place, whether by planting vegetation or installing rock beds that slow the flow of surface water. Another prevention method is using concrete pavement as shown above.

Stop Critter Damage

Groundhogs burrow into the ground and disrupt the surface near inlet and outlet pipes, along embankments and behind headwalls of retention and detention ponds. When these critters set up shop near your commercial property’s basin, they damage the ground. Then, erosion and sediment run-off can become a problem.

Rodents can be trouble-makers, too. They create holes that compromise the integrity of embankments. Meanwhile, wasps, hornets and bees can interfere with maintenance activities.

Solutions – A critter control specialist (some pest control firms offer this service) might be necessary, but as far as fixing the damage, holes burrowed by groundhogs and rodents should be filled with rock, topdressed with soil and reseeded.

Manage Cattails And Phragmites

Phragmite is a big word in retention and detention pond maintenance. This invasive water-loving weed can grow like mad. (Same goes for cattails, actually.) The problem is, these invasive species can crowd out other vegetation including grass that is designed to stop erosion. And, excess vegetation taking over pond embankments does not look attractive.

Many times these basins are positioned within plain view on a commercial property. (Aesthetic appeal is not part of the inspection report; it focuses on infrastructural integrity.)

Solutions – Timing is everything when managing cattails and phragmites. If you cut them back during their growing season—which is spring through summer—then they’ll grow back fast and strong. Ideally, this vegetation management should be taken care of in winter.

Clear Blocked Inlets & Outlets

The moist environment surrounding retention and detention ponds is ripe ground for invasive vegetation. Grasses and weeds just grow faster, and it can block inlets and outlets that must remain unobstructed to ensure proper water flow into basins. This vegetation can trap debris, which also naturally tends to collect near these inflow/outflow areas because it gets trapped.

Solutions – Ongoing maintenance that includes trimming back weeds and tall grasses that block pipes will keep inlets and outlets working effectively. Debris should be removed. Watch for it regularly rather than allowing the inspector to find a reason to mark the “yes” box for requiring corrective action.