Stay off all local stormwater facilities no matter how the ice looks. There are no circumstances in which the ice on stormwater facilities is safe. The surface may appear solidly frozen, but stormwater continues to be released underneath the ice due to snowfall, snowmelt, road clearing and salting operations. Runoff entering the pond throughout the winter typically contains concentrations of salt or warmed water, which can thin ice surfaces rapidly and may not be evident from the surface. There may be a sudden unforeseen rise in the water level, resulting in unsafe conditions. The structural integrity of the ice will be compromised due to voids between the water level and the ice.
Stormwater facilities are not ever safe for recreational use (sledding, skating, walking) for a number of reasons:
inlet and outlet pipes keep water continuously flowing beneath the frozen top layer
the ice surface varies in depth across the whole surface. It may appear thick in some areas, but other areas may have little or no ice —you won’t be able to tell by looking snow often obscures holes in the inconsistent ice
salt content in the runoff from roads impedes the water’s ability to freeze (remember: this is salt used to melt ice on the roads)
Town crews actually lower the water level under the ice to reduce H2S gas levels. This creates a dangerous air pocket between any ice that has already formed and the top of the water