Water-Related News

Experts weigh in on effectiveness of storm detention ponds

LEE COUNTY – Storm detention ponds are a common practice in Florida used to help mitigate flooding and control pollutants from flowing downstream.

These storm detention ponds are built when new residential or commercial properties are built where natural native wetlands used to be.

A new study from the University of Florida focused on how effective the storm ponds are at mitigating flooding and excess pollutants.

Kayla Hess, an author and contributor to the study said “They’re supposed to remove about 80% of, like, nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment, but often they’re only removing 50% or less.”

Some environmentalists said this is not surprising and the bigger problem may be how they are originally built and maintained.

Dr. Serge Thomas, from the FGCU Water School, studies the local stresses to our aquatic systems. He said there are ecological recommendations to build a more efficient storm pond but the recommendations are not enforced and therefore not always followed.

Instead of a storm pond, a wetland would provide a better nutrient filter before the water flowed downstream, Thomas said.