What can be done to keep retention ponds safe?

WESTFIELD, Ind. -- Retention ponds are often required in new developments to alleviate flooding, but sometimes more than flood water ends up in the ponds. 

Dwayne Dunn lives near Thompson and Five Points roads, an intersection with retention ponds on two sides. 

"I can recall at least three instances where people have driven into ponds," Dunn said. "You really wish that they would have some kind of guard around to possibly save a life."

In March, an 88-year-old woman drove into one of the ponds near Dunn's house. Firefighters say she was slumped over her steering wheel. She later died. 

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"If they had some kind of rail -- some kind of guard against the pond would it have prevented a death," Dunn said. 

A different central Indiana community is taking steps to prevent those deaths. 

The City of Westfield is adding guardrails along roads near ponds, and making them mandatory for new developments. The city adds 1-2 guardrails per year at a cost of $20,000-$30,000 each.

Mayor Andy Cook said it's well-received by the community. 

"Where we get into some negative comments is when people begin approaching, 'Well to make them totally safe we should put chain-link fences around them,'" Cook said.

Some would like to see the chain-link fences to keep kids from wandering into the ponds.

"Some form of fencing can be installed and required that would at least inhibit most unintentional entry and accidental drownings in retention ponds," Indianapolis City-County Councilwoman Christine Scales said. 

Dunn said he can get behind those changes. 

"When it comes to kids, you want to protect as much as possible," Dunn said. "I'm more than happy to pay more taxes to get something done if it results in saving a life."

MORE STORIES | 'It's filling up:' Woman pulled from vehicle submerged in pond | Woman rescues two children from retention pond on Indianapolis' west side | 3-year-old found in apartment complex retention pond on Indy's north side | Missing Westfield woman's body found in car pulled from retention pond | Elderly man drives into freezing Franklin Township retention pond

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