Despite it’s less than favorable appearance, the pond located in front of the Center for the Arts is a sustainable resource that contributes to both the environmental and campus well-being.
The man-made pond was excavated in 1989 in order to control the volume of rainwater that flows through the western end of the campus. A smaller pond located by Roberts Rd. and Braddock Rd. covers the eastern end.
“It’s all gravity,” said Bob Endebrock, director of Facilities Project Management and Construction.
He explained that no pumps or pressurized systems are necessary for the water to flow since the campus is located uphill.
As far as maintenance goes, a control gate along the edge of the pond regulates the level of water.
People occasionally complain about the pond being brown since they do not understand its other purpose.
The pond was not only built to control the flow of water throughout the campus but clean pollutants as well.
While attempting to level itself, the excess water that exits through the control gate becomes filtered before being released into the greater environment, thus legitimizingthe pond as a sustainable resource.
In other words, the Mason Pond, including the small pond by Roberts Rd. and Braddock Rd., serves as a medium that purifies Mason’s flow of water so that it will not harm the surrounding habitat.
The brown color of the pond stems from sedimentation – the process in which matter accumulates at the bottom of the pond due to erosion.
An annual survey is conducted to analyze sediment that has accumulated inside the pond. Every few years the bottom of the pond gets dredged out in order to bring it back to its designed capacity.
When it rains, toxins are picked up and flowed down into the pond.
The constant construction on Mason’s campus is a possible source for pollutants, according to Endebrock.
Endebrock said that the Office of Facilities Project Management and Construction is waiting for the completion of the campus’ construction before the pond undergoes another dredging process.
Despite the present-day construction around campus, a proposal for the pond is circulating.
Endebrock said that they were planning to reestablish a plant ledge around the pond in order to store plants like duck potatoes and cattails.
Water plants are known to improve the water quality because they absorb chemicals.
This would be another method of sustainability.
The project, however, costs a little over one million dollars.
In the meantime, students and faculty members can rest assured knowing that the Mason Pond is undoubtedly a sustainable resource that contributes to the betterment of the environment.