Stormwater runoff is excess rain water that flows into larger water bodies and local storm sewer systems largely due to the surrounding prevalence of hard surfaces, such as concrete. Large quantities of water that would ordinarily be absorbed into the ground in a more natural environment instead enter streams and lakes. Stormwater runoff collects pollutants, chemicals and debris as it flows over paved surfaces and into water bodies. It also causes erosion, decreases groundwater recharge and alters aquatic environments.
Retention ponds or "wet ponds" are ponds constructed to treat and store stormwater runoff. Retention ponds are permanent pools of standing water and eventually empty into a receiving water body. Forebays can be included in the design of a retention pond to "pre-treat" the stormwater before it spills over into the major water feature. Water is treated through sedimentation and nutrient uptake.
Benefits of stormwater retention ponds include:
- Improved water quality in surrounding water bodies. Retention ponds manage stormwater quantity and quality, lessening the transfer of pollutants and chemicals into nearby water bodies.
- Aesthetic appeal. A retention pond may enhance aesthetics via plant selection, plant placement, topography and pedestrian access options.
- Increased biodiversity. Biodiversity is defined as the variation of life forms in a given ecosystem. Landscaping with ponds and different varieties of plants can add to the the natural environment.
- Wildlife habitat. Retention ponds provide habitats for animals, organisms and insects.
- Water conservation. Water that is stored in retention ponds is available for non-potable human uses such as irrigation.
- Flood prevention. Stormwater quantity reductions minimize the risk of flooding in nearby areas.
- Minimization of erosion. Stormwater quantity reductions minimize erosion in the nearby area and along the banks of water bodies.
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