Retention and Detention Pond Maintenance & Management

The requirement for water diversion grows as towns develop. Stormwater runoff clogs municipal sewers and causes erosion in surrounding streams and rivers. Stormwater management at the source can save millions of dollars in costly repairs that you would otherwise use to remedy erosion or prevent floods. The construction of a basin is a popular method of stormwater management. Basins gather water and release it slowly enough to avoid floods and erosion. At Smith Creek Fish Farm, we specialize in retention and detention pond management. 

The Difference Between Detention and Retention Ponds

The presence or absence of a permanent pool of water, or pond, is the primary distinction between a detention basin and a retention basin. A low-flow orifice regulates the water level. The orifice is usually part of a riser, which is a metal or concrete structure. A detention pond, also known as a dry pond, has an orifice level at the bottom of the basin but no permanent pool of water. All the water evaporates between storms, and the area is usually dry. Use a riser and orifice at a higher point to keep a persistent pool of water in a retention basin or pond. A retention pond resembles a conventional pond, yet it serves a crucial function in stormwater runoff control.

The basins are essential for holding and reducing stormwater runoff from neighboring regions, mainly where asphalt or concrete construction occurs. Stormwater runoff flows significantly quicker from these surfaces than naturally occurring areas; thus, you must channel it to achieve the appropriate discharge rate. The amount of water that you can clean and treat is restricted. Only flood flows, also known as detention basins. By minimally controlling only flood flow pollutants and sediments, a retention pond can help to improve water quality. Smith Creek Fish Farm offers professional retention pond services. 

Dry Detention Basins

Dry detention ponds are most effective in places with 10 acres or more. Water quality is more challenging to manage in smaller locations; therefore, other choices may be more suitable. Dry detention ponds usually have a very tiny slope to redirect water. The intake must be at most 15% higher than the outflow to guarantee the proper quantity of water flow through the system. The technique works by providing a considerable water-gathering area or basin. The water then gently drains out the bottom of the building into the outlet. You can use concrete blocks and other structures as a deterrent to impede water flow and collect debris in detention pond management. 

Wet Retention Basins

Wet retention ponds are stormwater management structures that collect and treat polluted stormwater runoff. Wet retention ponds regulate stormwater quantity and quality by catching and holding stormwater runoff. The pond's natural processes subsequently remove pollutants. You should surround retention ponds with natural vegetation to promote bank stability and aesthetic advantages.

A network of buried pipes connects storm drains to a wet retention pond. The system permits enormous volumes of water to enter the pond while the outlet releases small amounts of water as needed to keep the water level at the appropriate level.

Standing water is always a source of worry from a health aspect, as this is a potential drowning hazard, especially for youngsters. Mosquitoes are attracted to ponds, which may contribute to disease transmission. So, professional retention pond management is required. 


The pipelines must be clear; this is one of these basins' most critical maintenance tasks. The ponds and basins will work correctly if the channels are kept clean of debris. Keeping up with retention and detention pond maintenance will save you money in the long run.

Typical routine retention and detention pond maintenance tasks include:

  • Check for gullies and other disturbances on the bank a few times a year and after significant storms to identify and fix erosion areas.
  • Removing silt and debris - Clearing debris from pipes and removing sediment ensures they work correctly. To avoid difficulties, remove debris from around and in ponds before it reaches the outlets.
  • Vegetation care varies depending on the vegetation surrounding the basin. Some grasses require weekly mowing, while others you can mow just a few times a year.

Management Service

If you are planning a new project, Smith Creek Fish Farm can help you design the appropriately sized structure to comply with DEC SPEDES regulations.

We can also handle compliance on an existing structure. Compliance inspections and maintenance would include inspection and cleaning of incoming and outgoing pipes and weirs, sediment depth monitoring for estimating volume, budgeting for an entire clean-out situation, and weed and algae management.

We also offer suction dredging and geotextile bag containment of the sediment, which is often affordable compared to complete mechanical dredging.

Fountains can often turn a retention pond into a focal point of the property rather than a cattail-choked swamp, and stocking fish will help with mosquito control.

Please contact us at Smith Creek Fish Farm for all your retention and detention pond BMPs in the New York Area.


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