Stormwater facilities capture, control and filter runoff before it enters our local streams. The general system is:
- water enters the facility from various sources (catch basins, groundwater, rain and snow)
- sand, dirt, silt and other sediments settling in the stormwater facility
- cleaner water leave the facility, returning to our rivers and streams
Stay off stormwater facilities
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. While the surface may appear solidly frozen, it is not.
Stormwater continues to be released underneath the ice due to snowfall, snowmelt, road clearing and salting operations. This runoff entering the pond throughout the winter contains concentrations of salt or warmed water. This can thin ice surfaces rapidly and may not be evident from the surface. There also may be a sudden unforeseen rise in the water level, resulting in unsafe conditions.
Stormwater facilities are never safe for recreational use (sledding, skating, walking) for many 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