Though subject to periodic vegetation blooms due to storm water runoff that contains nutrients, the Tomlinson Park Complex retention pond is working according to plan, said Gulfport City Manager Jim O’Reilly.
The park, located at the corner of 54th Street South and 19th Avenue South, is not a naturally occurring body of water. “It is a retention pond,” he said. “And, it’s serving its purpose.”
After a rain event, it’s common for the area’s geography to have storm water runoff that drains into the pond, he said.
“Periodically, there is a flush of high nutrients” and then the “algae and vegetation blooms,” said O’Reilly. “Sometimes, it’s exceptional so then we go in and treat it as part of a process.”
The first part of the treatment workflow consists of a licensed spray company coming in to apply a specific chemical, he said.
“After a two- to three-week dying off period, then city staff will go in and do some labor-intensive work to try to thin some of the vegetation out. It won’t all be removed but we’ll get out as much as we can,” said O’Reilly. “Some vegetation is routine. The greenery or vegetation serves as part of the filtering system. After treatment, a lot of it will fall to the bottom and deteriorate.”
Storm water entering the pond from surrounding areas is designed to then go into the Tangerine Greenway located along Tangerine Avenue South between 54th Street South and 49th Street South, said O’Reilly. From there, it percolates and dries up before it making its way to Boca Ciega Bay.
After treatment, in several weeks the pond is back to normal, he said.