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The original item was published from 7/11/2022 11:26:00 AM to 10/1/2022 12:00:01 AM.

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Posted on: July 11, 2022

[ARCHIVED] West Fargo residents are reminded public retention ponds are not for recreational use

Retention Pond Safety Press Release (PNG)

The West Fargo Police and Fire Departments want to remind residents that public retention ponds are not intended for recreational use. Retention ponds serve an important purpose that makes them unsuitable for play, and pose multiple safety hazards that can cause serious injuries or even death. 

“Retention ponds are not designed for recreational use or play,” said West Fargo Fire Chief Dan Fuller. “Retention ponds are designed for maximum rainwater collection and have steep elevation changes with constantly changing water levels.”

Retention ponds are stormwater management facilities that assist with water quality treatment and flood control. The ponds store stormwater and street runoff for a short period of time to allow for sediments to settle at the bottom of the ponds. The stored stormwater limits the rate of flow to eliminate flooding during rain events. 

“We are urging you to not utilize West Fargo retention ponds for recreational use,” said West Fargo Police Chief Denis Otterness. “Retention ponds can contain oils, pesticides, fertilizers and other hazardous materials that are unsafe for human contact.”

Multiple factors constantly change the state of retention ponds including agitation pumps in the ponds running intermittently, varying water depths, 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, visit

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