HILBERT - FOX 11 is finding out there's not much municipalities are required to do, to keep people away from ponds of water.
This after an 11-year-old boy drowned in a retention pond in Hilbert Tuesday.
There are four such ponds just in Hilbert designed to handle and retain water runoff. And some parents say what happened could have happened to one of their children.
"You hate to see anything happen to anybody," said Hilbert Village Board President Ken Stenklyft. "It was just a bad series of events that culminated in this tragedy."
Speaking to FOX 11 by phone, Stenklyft says the retention pond Jacob Meronek's body was pulled from Tuesday was built a couple years ago after the city purchased the property to develop into a business park.
"Part of the DNR regulations are that you have to put a retention pond in and at that time," Stenklyft explained. "We put one in to accommodate those businesses."
FOX 11 contacted a DNR spokesman about stormwater ponds and why they are needed.
The spokesman could not make anyone available, but told FOX 11 the DNR has no real requirements for 'wet detention ponds,' other than guidelines for municipalities to follow.
No where in that guidance document does the DNR explicitly say a stormwater pond must be secured, such as with a fence. The guidelines do suggest a pond owner – like a municipality – consider additional safety features where needed.
Some residents say other retention ponds in the village are causing concerns for them and their kids.
"I think with this large of a body of water in a little, tiny neighborhood, somehow it needs to be secured," said Jayne Young, who lives on the east side of the small village of Hilbert.
Young and her husband moved to the Fochs Trial subdivision 14 years ago.
Since then, she's had three kids; Wyatt, the youngest, has Down syndrome.
"I immediately took it very hard because I have a disabled son who has no fear and it immediately registered in my mind that it could have been my own child," said Young.
Young says even a simple chain-link fence could keep people away from the potentially dangerous water – admitting it would be an eyesore.
"I'd still rather have a chain link fence than to have to look for an obituary in the paper," she said.
As for the village, Stenklyft says it's not required to secure the retention ponds, despite having requirements for people's swimming pools.
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