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Water and ice safety on ponds

As the weather changes, the Airdrie Fire Department would like to remind everyone that ice on ponds and creeks may be tempting to play on, but playing on ice is very dangerous.

Stormwater facilities, often called stormwater ponds, are not safe for skating or any other winter activity. The surface may look solid, but stormwater flows underneath the surface due to snowfall, snowmelt, road clearing and salting operations. Runoff typically contains concentrations of salt and/or warmed water, which can quickly thin ice surfaces. There also may be sudden water level changes under the ice, resulting in unstable and unsafe conditions.

Many factors can affect ice thickness and strength including:

  • Fluctuating temperatures
  • Depth and size of body of water
  • Flowing water under the ice
  • Chemicals like salt and silt from run-off found in storm ponds in the water including fluctuations in water levels
  • Logs, rocks and docks in the water absorbing heat from the sun

Any of these factors can cause the ice to weaken and become dangerous. Talk with your children about ice safety. It is also important to keep your pets on a leash when walking them near natural ice surfaces.

View information on safe outdoor rinks 

Look but don't swim

Stormwater ponds, such as East Lake and the Canals, located around the city are not intended for recreational use such as swimming, fishing, or kayaking.

There are a number of reasons these water bodies should be enjoyed from the shore:

  1. Fluctuating water levels
    With heavy rain, water levels can change unexpectedly and very drastically in a short period of time.
  2. Water quality
    With outfalls from a variety of areas including parking lots and overland runoff from pastures, water quality cannot be guaranteed.
  3. Submersible pumps and electrical code
    Where fountains are present please be aware that electric submersible pumps have been installed in bodies of water.