Villagers want to see vegetative mats restored at a pond near their homes.
Residents who live in and around the Allandale Villas in the Village of Duval have petitioned the Project Wide Advisory Committee for the replacement of the mats.
Villager Woody Lake, representing the residents at Monday morning’s PWAC meeting, said the quality of the pond has deteriorated since the mats were removed. He indicated algae has increased and the pond smells bad.
The mats were put in place in 2012 after a previous petition.
The floating islands were put in at eight ponds in The Villages, but were pulled when it was determined they were not performing as hoped.
“The mats were not effective,” said Sam Wartinbee of District Property Management.
Reports showed a decrease of 15 to 23 percent in the need for chemical treatments at the ponds with the mats.
“But they still required treatment. We were hoping vegetative mats would help with hydrilla. But they have not,” Wartinbee said.
The reduction in use of chemicals did not save any money as the cost is calculated on a per acre basis, he said.
The mats have to be changed out four times per year at a cost of $3,000 each time for this particular pond. So the annual cost to PWAC would be $12,000 for this pond.
There are 200 ponds in PWAC’s jurisdiction.
“We don’t want to be putting mats in 200 retention ponds,“ said PWAC member Don Wiley.
He noted that the reduction in the use of chemicals is a good thing
“It’s not a natural lake. It is a hole in the ground. I wouldn’t drink it, I would not step in it. It takes in the runoff from the street,” Wiley said.
PWAC member Jerry Vincenti said it’s hard to believe the mats didn’t work, based on what the residents were saying.
“The decision was money driven,” he said.
It was decided to gather more information and to discuss the matter again at a future meeting.