Coastal Waccamaw Stormwater Education Consortium
Helping local governments meet requirements for stormwater education and public involvement

How does my pond play a role?

Stormwater ponds are a common feature in the South Carolina coastal landscape, and are often advertised as “amenities” to homebuyers who wish to live near a water feature. However, these ponds, also known as detention and retention ponds, are designed not to be neighborhood amenities, but instead to capture stormwater runoff, and help reduce flooding and erosion by slowing the flow of stormwater. Gutters and storm drains direct stormwater off of paved surfaces through a series of underground pipes which discharge into stormwater ponds. Ponds then connect to receiving waterways.

These ponds trap sediments and other pollutants such as bacteria, oils, heavy metals, pesticides and herbicides that are washed off of the landscape. These contaminants pose a risk to people and animals (such as pets and wildlife) that come into contact with the water. Because ponds harbor these contaminants, they also present a contamination risk for the streams and rivers that they are connected to. Many of these ponds are not fenced off and are easily accessible. While they may seem enticing to some on a hot day, it is very important not to swim in, play in, or eat fish from stormwater ponds.

Proper maintenance and proactive measures must be taken to prevent stormwater ponds from becoming environmental threats. Failure to maintain stormwater ponds can lead to excessive aquatic weeds, noxious odors, poor water quality, fish kills, failing shorelines, trash, biting flies, and the overall reduction of property value. This makes them health and environmental threats if the local communities don’t step into to prevent polluted stormwater from ending up in ponds.

For more information on what you can do to prevent stormwater pollution and to properly maintain your local stormwater pond, please visit the Managing Stormwater Ponds website.

See also “What Can I Do?
Resource: Stormwater ponds