Retention Pond

Definition - What does Retention Pond mean?

A retention pond, also called a retention basin or a wet pond, is an artificial lake used to hold stormwater and other runoff. Unlike alternative methods for containing runoff, retention ponds are designed to hold a permanent pool of water.

In many jurisdictions, the use of retention ponds is required on work sites in which there is a danger of contaminated runoff entering groundwater. For instance, operators of construction sites above a certain size may be legally obligated to use a retention pond as a means of ensuring that sediment and other contaminants created by construction activity drain into the pond instead of into groundwater or another sensitive body of water.

Safeopedia explains Retention Pond

Retention ponds are used in a variety of contexts. These include permanent civic ponds used for municipal stormwater management, temporary sediment basins used to contain sediment dispersed through construction activities, and permanent industrial retention basins used to collect any contaminated runoff resulting from chemical process manufacturing.

As retention ponds are used as a form of environmental health and safety (EHS) management, their use is predominantly regulated by EHS authorities such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, as well as sub-national authorities that hold jurisdiction over water management or conservation activities.

In occupational contexts, retention ponds provide secondary containment to prevent contaminants from entering the natural ecosystem. Reflecting this use, they typically have raised walls that allow them to hold an amount of liquid much greater than their normal water level. To ensure that groundwater and other sensitive environmental contexts are not contaminated, retention ponds that hold chemical contaminants such as oil must be lined with a material capable of providing a barrier between the contaminant and its natural surroundings.

Retention ponds have occasionally been associated with workplace drownings resulting from unsafe use of the pond or from unsafe vehicle activity around the pond. Drowning accidents associated with retention ponds include those resulting from members of the general public accessing uncovered retention ponds as well as accidents involving vehicles falling into the pond. The risks of this hazard can be exacerbated by situations in which the wall surrounding the pond is high enough to prevent or inhibit an easy escape.

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