LANDFALL COA MAINTENANCE

Summer Maintenance Update

Steve Hughes, Chief of Operations

July 28, 2016

What a difference a year makes; last year, we were dealing with record rainfall amounts and this year we have had periods where we were increasing our irrigation amounts to the max due to high temperatures. The heat and humidity this year has been unreal. Despite all of that, calling Wilmington home is wonderful.

As we move forward through the summer of 2016, let me share with you some of our projects that are underway. The walls along Eastwood Road are starting to be refinished
(I know, it’s about time) and within the next couple of months all entrances will be completed to include the security buildings as well.

Landfall Lake’s increased water level has reduced a few of the invasive weeds, but the lily pads are still out of control. We are looking into options for having a great number of these removed; I will keep you posted as we get closer to a solution.

Several new flower beds have been added around the property as well as new plantings.  I would like to thank Jeff, Zack, Caron and Julianne, our horticulturists, for all their amazing designs and efforts.

The rainfall total from the beginning of 2016 through the month of June is at 24.4″ compared to 28.2″ through June of 2015. During the last few weeks of the heat wave, the COA maintenance department has averaged a daily consumption of 100 gallons of water and 25 gallons of Gatorade as the employees power through the hot temperatures. Since it is that time of year, let’s talk about lightning. You may not know that lightning strikes the earth approximately 100 times every second and each bolt can contain up to a billion volts of electricity. A single bolt of lightning can reach temperatures up to 5 times hotter than the temperature of the sun! Here is one fact that is truly amazing and is important to remember, because it could save your life. Lightning can travel up to 3 miles underground, so when the sky is looking threatening and ominous, seek shelter and don’t risk it. Sooner than later is better than being a fried green tomater…Okay that was bad, but I bet you’ll remember it.

Ponds

Lakes and ponds… I use these terms loosely, as there is no scientific difference between the two. For the sake of this article I will refer to all bodies of water in Landfall as ponds.

Ever ask yourself why there is a pond in one location and not in another? Why one is big and another one so small? Or maybe you have never really thought about it. Please continue to read anyway because I believe you will learn some interesting facts about Landfall’s storm water ponds and cleaning storm water for a healthier environment.

The size and locations of ponds are often determined by the size of area which is being developed, the number of homes and miles of roads etc. There are several government agencies that have laws and rules which go into the size and location of these ponds as well. These same rules and laws apply to golf course construction. The ponds in Landfall are referred to as retention ponds. This is important to remember. They are not swimming pools and never will be, so they will not be treated to look like one. Once again there are laws that prevent this. Their sole purpose is to collect and clean storm water. When it rains, the water runs off roofs, driveways, lawns and streets and heads toward storm drains, ditches and eventually into the ponds. Along with the water, everything the water comes in contact with ends up in the ponds as well; oil, fuel, rubber, fertilizer, animal feces, paint, pollen… I will stop there, you get the point.

We humans likely think this is all pretty disgusting; however, there are many different organisms, animals, insects and plant species that literally eat this stuff up. Many of these species live in and around our ponds. The more food sources exist, the more plant and animal species will be around and in the ponds. So much for the clean looking pond! Algae, aquatic weeds and the like are eating up all those nutrients and getting bigger and bigger. So, we spray and spray trying to control the algae and weeds and then it rains and rains and the vicious cycle goes on and on. Sometimes we win this battle quickly and sometimes it takes a lot longer to get things under control.

Our ponds also have sand bottoms by design. The sand bottoms allow the water to infiltrate through the bottom back into the ground, which is another way Mother Nature cleans her water. As the water passes through the ground (nature’s water filter), it cleans itself.

Keep in mind that there is a level at which the ponds are kept. In the past, our retention ponds have been kept to what is called the emergency spill level, which means they’re kept to a very full point until they spill over into the next pond in the system (or the Intracoastal Waterway or Howe’s Creek). Once again, there are state laws that dictate these conditions. Let me explain, once it starts raining, the ponds are already at their maximum level, so the storm water entering the pond immediately spills over the spillway and does not allow for any of the fertilizers, oils and chemicals I talked about earlier to settle out to the bottom of the pond before it goes to the next pond in the system. If the ponds are already at their maximum level and we get heavy rains, the water has only two choices, to find a different route to that pond or to sit there and wait until there’s room for the water to enter the pond. In doing this, the water backs up our storm drains, comes out our catch basins and starts to flood the roads making them (in some cases) impassable or very dangerous to drive on. Again, not a very positive result. With the ponds at their maximum level and our contractors spraying for the aquatic weeds and algae at the legal standard we are allowed, what happens when it rains or the wells are running?  The aquatic herbicides are diluted and washed down into the next pond or out into the Intracoastal Waterway… it does not give them any time to work against their target species and to get the kind of control we need to get the ponds to the conditions we are looking for in the future.

Now that we all understand the basics of our storm water systems and ponds throughout the community, the next time you’re washing your car, fertilizing your yard,  or washing your paint brushes down by the street, please remember where all this ends up. Let’s continue to work together to help keep Landfall the beautiful place you call home.

One more quick reminder, if you need to reach the COA maintenance department, you can call directly at: 910-256-7604 or email maintenance@landfall.org.

Thank you all and have a safe and wonderful summer!