Dry retaining ponds remain dry

Brookfield is famous for demanding open retaining ponds in areas of new development. While some hold water all the time, many are engineered as “dry” retaining ponds. This morning I drove around my old district to see how these dry ponds were holding up to yet another 100 year rain event.

For the most part, they are still dry.

Driving around the city it’s easy to see that there are hundreds of homeowners struggling to reclaim their basements from flood water and sewer backups. These ponds, with designs approved by city engineers, are supposed to be relieving the storm water burden from both homeowners and sanitary sewer treatment facilities. Yet the pond I saw this morning, behind the very disappointing VK project of Capitol Heights (nicknamed Capitol Blights by many in the area) had only about an inch of water in it. The tall grass that is allowed to grow in the dry pond, which flows to a wet pond, shows no sign of current that indicates it conducted water to the pond below.

Today I’ll call some of the residents behind the project to see how they held up. I suspect it’s no better than prior to the project. One of the reasons the council stuck these homeowners with this giant neighbor is because their water worries would be over.

The dry pond behind my home remains dry as well. Many of my neighbors are struggling to clean up from water damage, though.

If you see other dry ponds failing in our community, let me know. I’m going to try to get some pictures later today.


I’m taking the plunge later today with my perspective on VK’s newest request of the plan commission. I won’t be holding anything back, so you’ve been warned.


  1. We adopted a dog from the Elmbrook Humane Society and are supposed to pick it up this afternoon, but Barker Road is closed this morning and access to the shelter appears to be out of the question. I bet is takes a few days for the Fox river to go down. Wouldn’t it seem like they would elevate Barker Road and River Road.? They go under water every year when the Fox is high.

  2. Ah, but the county owns those roads now. It’s not a city decision.

    Congratulations on the newest member of the family. I’ll expect pictures soon.

  3. Shelter just called and they are dry in the building but the roads are flooded and access to them is dangerous, so we are going to wait and see what tomorrow brings. I bet the water goes higher for days before it goes down!

  4. Kathryn says:

    The pond at Greenfield and Vista View is wet at the bottom. I would have expected more. Meanwhile, Hackberry at Moreland is still closed. I’m told there was a vehicle still floating there Sunday morning.

    Does anyone know if that area flooded 10 years ago? Do the emergency personnel in the fire station there have an alternate route?