ROCHESTER, Minn. – With the stretch of extreme cold we’ve been experiencing, you might think small bodies of water like ponds are safe to go out on, but that’s not always the case.
The Rochester Public Works Department wants to remind folks that regardless of how cold it gets, stormwater management ponds are unpredictable and will not reliably support weight. Not to mention, the ponds are not intended to be used for recreational purposes. Stormwater ponds are meant to capture polluted runoff from roads and neighborhoods and because of how they’re designed, they can have water moving throughout.
“Because that water is moving underneath the ice surface, we have no idea what is happening,” explains Megan Moeller with Public Works. “There might be pockets of warm water that have warmed up in the sunshine on the surface that it’s been flowing off of, and that can undermine the stability of the ice and how that water is moving around.”
Stormwater ponds vary is size and depth, and many will have large culverts coming into the pond. There are more than 350 scattered throughout Rochester, so if you’re not sure if a pond is used for stormwater management, Public Works says it’s best to just stay off of the ice.