Thursday, September 14, 2023

Board OKs larger warning signs at Sherwood Pond

While it may be a bit late in the season, visitors to Sherwood Pond in Sumpter Township can expect to see much larger signs advising them to swim at their own risk.

Currently, testing for bacteria in the pond water is limited due to scheduling inconsistencies with available laboratories and there is no lifeguard on duty at the pond. Last month, Trustee Matt Oddy suggested taking the precaution of prohibiting swimming at the pond due to several drownings in surrounding municipal water attractions. Most members of the board agreed with Oddy that some precautions were necessary but were hesitant to ban swimming at the township park.

Following discussion at a previous meeting, a public meeting was scheduled for input regarding township residential ponds. Oddy said there was no public input on the proposed ban at Sherwood Pond at that meeting.

Township Manager Anthony Burdick explained the three-week cycle of testing the pond for bacteria or harmful elements noting that by the time the testing was complete, the environment at the pond had changed due to the weather conditions. He noted that some water features in other communities where the water is filtered and cleaned, testing takes place three times a day to ensure safety of those using the facility. 

Trustee Don LaPorte said he was concerned with the safety at the pond but noted that after the Labor Day holiday it could be the end of swimming season at the pond.

Oddy was also concerned that township ordinances are in place regarding residential ponds in the community, but those same regulations are not enforced at the township-owned pond in Banotai Park. He added that federal standards might classify the pond as a lake, based on area size and depth as it is 20 feet deep in spots. 

“At the minimum, we need larger signs permanently installed,” Oddy said.

LaPorte agreed and suggested investigating a possible regular testing routine for next year.

The board members agreed to increase the signs cautioning swimmers to 3 feet by 3 feet. In the absence of Supervisor Tim Bowman, Trustee Peggy Morgan cast the only no vote on the cautionary signage.