Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Retention Pond Standards Simply Must Change

A Decatur Township retention-detention pond claimed the life of a 5 year old girl yesterday.

WRTV, Channel 6, reports it this way (click here for article and video report):

A 5-year-old girl drowned in a retention pond on Indianapolis' southwest side late Monday night.

Indianapolis police were called to the 4300 block of Ten Oak Drive, just west of Kentucky Avenue, at about 9:20 a.m.

The parents of Chesney Allen told police that when they called a home where the girl had gone, accompanied by her older brother, to play at about 5:30 p.m., they found that she wasn't there.

"The friend she was going to play with was in time out, and Chesney had been sent home," said Sgt. Matt Mount.

When officers arrived, neighbors told them that the girl had been seen playing near a retention pond nearby with several other children.

Police checked the pond but didn't find the girl. When they checked for a third time after 11 p.m., officers and firefighters found Allen's body floating about 12 feet away from a dock, Mount said.

A firefighter pulled Allen out of the water. The girl was taken to Riley Hospital for Children, where she was pronounced dead early Tuesday morning.

There is quite a bit of tall grass around the pond, but there is no fencing. Authorities weren't sure when the girl went into the pond.

Nobody wants to see a life lost in a detention pond; not developers, not property owners, not City officials, not the community at large. We are all saddened and shocked and dismayed. But, that is not enough.

Several years back, a retention-detention pond in the Seerley Creek subdivision claimed the life of a young boy. Considering that Decatur is not all that developed, this should be a huge wake-up call to all of Marion County.

Our City ordinances require that swimming pools be fenced and locked, but nothing regulates fencing of man-made storm water ponds. An addtional approach to safe water retention is using underground pipes instead of depressions in the ground for holding storm water.

The lack of a fencing requirement just lowers the cost of development - in a dollar and cents sort of way. It doesn't doesn't weigh appropriately, the cost of a life lost.

I am all for development, but not development at any price. The City codes and the City ordinances need, no - must, be changed to required either fencing with access to rescue workers, or underground water retention facilities. We simply cannot afford the loss of any more children just to save a few dollars.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

This pond is directly behind the bus garage. Busdrivers have constantly chased kids away from pond. This winter there was a child playing on the ice which was very thin and a driver chased a mentally challenged child from the ice. The driver called Ameriplex to ask them to do something about a fence or something since a lot of children in the trailer park hang out there. The person at Ameriplex was very rude and told her "we have signs posted that say no tresspassing'... Well unfortunately mentally challenged and five year olds may not be able to read... This child has been on my mind all day......SO SO SAD

Anonymous said...

Yes it has been reported several times to to chief of the fire dept Dale Henson 4 star school board president but just like everything else children aren't his concerns

Anonymous said...

This is so sad. We must take care of the children.

C.A. Dailey said...

"we must take care of the children"
I agree parents, guardians, friends and family should take care of the children. I have never once needed a government regulation to keep my children safe. Passing the buck does nothing for the children. Government regulations should work under the assumption that a five year old or the mentally challenged are always under adult supervision. This is a horrible event and I hope every parent that hears about it will reexamine their supervision of their children. And I am very hesitant to suggest a lack of supervision in this case (I don't have the details) but suggesting a lack of concern for chidren by Dale Henson (who I do not know) is equally innapropriate.

Had Enough Indy? said...

I have to agree with CA Dailey on the point about Henson.

I do, however, firmly believe that the code should require more protection to the public regarding retention ponds than it does now. The issue is public safety and not adult supervision. We are required to fence and lock our pools as a matter of public safety and so too, should we require it of these ponds.

Anonymous said...

Years ago when the boy drowned someone from the city or maybe fire department came out to the schools in Decatur and spoke to the children about retention pond safety. I think this would be a good place to start.
I also wonder if more may be involved than the girl falling in or getting in the water.

Anonymous said...

I don't know all the details, but a fence isn't going to keep the children safe. Parents keep the children safe. As a parent, this story saddens me. I said a prayer for the family. But, also, I am very viligant about the safety of my child. It is so sad today that children are not fully superivsed. Could this be a matter of neglect? Not too sound heartless, but fences around every pond? really? Not only should the children be taught safety, we should include parents in that safety training. God bless that little girl.

Paul K. Ogden said...

A lot of safety experts oppose the fence requirements because they don't keep people out and fences make it more difficult to see those near the water and for rescure personnel to get to them and save them if they get in the water.

Had Enough Indy? said...

Paul - a fence would keep out a small child, at least. Gates with locks supplied by fire departments could allow rapid rescue - with less frequent need for rescue.

If it is so bad to have fences, why require them for pools?

Paul K. Ogden said...

HEI,

Gates would only keep out the very smallest children.

As far as the fire dpeartment providing locks for the doors, obviously a lot more than the fire department would need the key. Local people still have to mow and otherwise take care of the property.

I'm still not convinced that fences would really help much. In fact, I'm prtty persuaded that fences couold end up making a bad situation worse.

Anonymous said...

12:44 A Fire Chief has NO authorization to do anything in regards to retentions ponds except, the tragic duty to retrieve the unfortunate individuals that become endangered or worse yet, drown in them.

To say that Chief Henson does not care about children as his role as Fire Chief and even as School Board member shows ignorance.

Fence no fence, it won't matter, children love water. Additionally, don't worry about the fire department needing a key, I bet they would get that gate open without one.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous April 22, 2010 9:18 AM

Dale Henson is not accountable for retention ponds. Property owners and parents should take precautions to make sure kids are not near the water. That is a parent's job. BUT Mr. Henson cares only about his own recognition and prestige. He is self-righteous and wants everyone to know who he is. I have never watched any spokesperson from police or fire departments being interviewed on television regarding a tragedy who also tells the newsperson that he is a member of a school board or any other organization not related to the incident. With the upcoming election he felt the need to say, "Look at me. I care about kids," and put that little plug in for himself, even though he just voted to reduce the Decatur Township teaching staff by 60+ teachers, give the superintendent a $40,000+ increase in pay in these dire times and refuse to answer any questions from taxpayers as to what he is thinking. No, April 22, 2010 9:18 AM it not ignorance that makes these statements, just cold, hard truth.

Anonymous said...

Seems that the "all about the children" teachers could have avoided the lay-offs by accepting 5% reduction in pay but,....oh no.."we won't accept that"!. IMO a bunch of greedy people that has no clue as to what a UNION is, "Leave no brother behind" means nothing to teachers..it is all the school boards fault right.

The fact that Decatur teachers are over-paid and have an hour off every Monday for training, reading whatever is sickening.

I've said here before I hope the School Board does the respectable thing and reduce our taxpayer burden by significantly reducing teachers salary by oh..I'd say 15% I said 20% earlier but, since they RIFing 60, 15% would be fine by me. If the teachers don't like it during contract negotiations let'em quit or fire them straight up and re-hire the RIF'ed teachers.

Either way taxpayers win and we can keep the land! As a bonus no impact on kids education!

Anonymous said...

Seems that the "all about the children" teachers could have avoided the lay-offs by accepting 5% reduction in pay but,....oh no.."we won't accept that"!. IMO a bunch of greedy people that has no clue as to what a UNION is, "Leave no brother behind" means nothing to teachers..it is all the school boards fault right.

The fact that Decatur teachers are over-paid and have an hour off every Monday for training, reading whatever is sickening.

I've said here before I hope the School Board does the respectable thing and reduce our taxpayer burden by significantly reducing teachers salary by oh..I'd say 15% I said 20% earlier but, since they RIFing 60, 15% would be fine by me. If the teachers don't like it during contract negotiations let'em quit or fire them straight up and re-hire the RIF'ed teachers.

Either way taxpayers win and we can keep the land! As a bonus no impact on kids education!

Anonymous said...

Administration would not put in writing that if teachers took the 5% cut the riffed teachers would be called back.

Anonymous said...

What an interesting strain of comments. How did the original topic become skewed into teachers being greedy? Wow.

HOOSIERS FOR FAIR TAX said...

I agree with Paul. As a kid, if I wanted a swim, I would jump the fence.

Is there some kind of suction in a retention pond that is drowning these kids? I mean are they dangerous or have some kind of undertow I don't know about.

Life is dangerous and you cannot make enough laws that will keep everyone safe at all times. People need to be responsible for themselves and their kids.

Had Enough Indy? said...

Thanks to all for the comments on the retention ponds. I will have to do some digging on statists about deaths from pools vs ponds vs other states with tighter safety measures for drainage ponds.

It just seems to me, that children, especially the smallest ones, cannot be watched every microsecond to ensure their safety. I do think we should protect them from an attractive, but dangerous, feature required of all development in Marion County.

I appreciate the points made and will see what I can find to bring a fresh approach to the topic.

C Metcalf said...

No fencing requirement? How about the fact that we allow neighborhoods to have restrictive covenants that PROHIBIT homeowners whose lots abut retention ponds from having fences????

It's disgusting. If you have a pool you have to have a fence or an automatic pool cover, but if you live in a neighborhood like mine, you can't put up a fence if you live on a pond. And the control-freak HOA board members (who were the last ones picked in gym class in elementary school) fight to enforce these rules that are contrary to public safety.

Disgusting. Truly disgusting.