There’s security in knowing you have a retention basin or stormwater pond on your property. 

The pools collect water from rain and runoff and release it slowly, at a nice, easy rate that prevents flooding or erosion.

But is yours really working? Not without regular retention basin maintenance. 

Cameron Cook, operations manager at Level Green Landscaping, walks us through the stormwater pond maintenance tasks Level Green crews do to keep these vital wet ponds working — and passing those inspections. 

The Importance of Pond Maintenance 

Retention ponds aren't an area to neglect.

“If you just leave the pond alone, it can fail,” Cook says. “It won’t drain properly. There could be a clog. A tree could uproot and cause a weak spot in the embankment, causing the dam to fail.”

Municipalities want to make sure that doesn’t happen. So they conduct regular inspections of these wet ponds. 

“They contact property managers and tell them to arrange for pond maintenance,” Cook says. “Then our customers call us.”

Here’s a look at what retention basin maintenance entails. 

Mowing the Embankment 

The grass and plants around a retention pond help filter pollutants from the stormwater, but they can’t be overgrown.

retention pond surrounded by green grass

“Inspectors need to be able to visually inspect the area to make sure there are no holes from moles, gophers or groundhogs that could compromise the pond,” Cook says. 

Crews mow the back side of the pond to remove any woody growth that can catch debris, obstructing the flow of water. They’re always on the lookout for cattails and other invasive plants that can block water flow and crowd out beneficial greenery. This is one of the many reasons retention pond landscaping is so important. 

Erosion Control 

On the sloped hill of a pond, water tends to flow in the same spot, which can cause erosion. Erosion causes soil and sediment to wash into the retention basin, affecting the water quality.

Retention pond in HOA community

If the pond’s bank is eroded, crews backfill it with soil, Cook says. After planting grass seed, they cover it with an erosion control blanket of plastic mesh that protects the seed from wind and water erosion. 

Sediment Removal

Mucky pond sediment can build up on the retention pond stone installed to help prevent erosion. Grass and weeds take root in the sediment, and the growth can often completely obscure the stone, Cook says. 

So crews excavate the stone, clean it off and reset it.

The Best Retention Pond Maintenance Schedule

“The easiest way to avoid a big failure when the inspector comes through is regular maintenance four times a year,” Cook says.

Regular mowing around a stormwater pond means crews can tackle the task with standard mowers, he says. If they only mow once a year, the thick brush requires heavy equipment — a more expensive job. 

Leave It To The Pros

This is a job for experts, Cook says. 

“It’s dangerous,” he says. “You’re using heavy equipment to mow a sloped embankment.” 

You need special certification to climb down into the structure to inspect for cracks and repair any damage.

LevelGreen HOA house retention pond 3

“There can be dangerous gas build-up down there,” he says. “You need a special tool to measure oxygen levels to be sure it’s safe.” 

Trust Your Stormwater Pond Maintenance in DC To Level Green

A 30-minute storm can cause water to build up really fast,” Cook says. “If a crazy 10 -year or 100 -year storm comes through, you don’t want any pond failures.” 

You won’t have failures, if you trust your retention basin maintenance to Level Green. We expertly tend to all the details that keep your wet pond working perfectly and passing all inspections.

If you’re not already a Level Green Landscaping client, we’d love to add you to our growing list of happy customers.

Our focus is on commercial properties like offices, mixed-use sites, HOAs, municipalities and institutions in Maryland, Washington DC and parts of Virginia.

Contact us at 202-544-0968. 

You can also request a free consultation online to meet with us one-on-one.

We’d love to hear from you.

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