The West Fargo Police and Fire Departments want to remind residents that public retention ponds and diversion waterways are not intended for recreational use. Public retention ponds and the diversion waterways serve an important purpose that makes them unsuitable for play, and pose multiple safety hazards that can cause serious injuries or even death.
“Water levels will continue to rise in both retention ponds and our diversion waterways,” said West Fargo Fire Chief Dan Fuller. “These structures are designed for water collection to prevent flooding, not any type of recreational activity.”
Retention ponds and the Sheyenne Diversion are water management facilities that assist with flood control and water quality treatment. These ponds and waterways store stormwater, floodwaters and street runoff for a short period of time to limit the rate of flow to decrease spring flood levels.
“We are urging all West Fargo residents to stay off retention ponds and diversion waterways,” said West Fargo Police Chief Denis Otterness. “The water levels will be nearing maximum levels presenting a serious safety hazard for any recreational activities.”
Multiple factors constantly change the state of retention ponds and diversion waterways including agitating pumps in the ponds running intermittently, varying water depths, release of floodwater levels, contaminant drainage into the ponds and potentially dangerous currents.
If someone does fall into a retention pond, call 911 immediately. The West Fargo Fire Department is equipped with special equipment and completes extensive training to allow them to respond safely to these situations.
For more information on retention ponds and the Sheyenne Diversion can be found online.