DRAINAGE :: DRAINAGE CONCERN FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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1 DRAINAGE :: DRAINAGE CONCERN FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS The City of DeSoto s Department of Development Services is the point of contact for storm drainage related issues. The following are some frequently asked questions related to storm drainage: 1. My neighbor has done some work on his lot and now I m getting more runoff. What can I do? 2. I have discussed my drainage problems with my neighbor and they will not work with me. I have considered placing swales or other improvements on my property, but it is not feasible. Is the City responsible for ensuring proper drainage on my lot? 3. There is new construction behind my lot and I m having drainage problems due to the construction. Is there anything the City can do to make the developer drain his development away from me? 4. The new construction behind my house is causing a lot of dirt and sediment to enter my yard. Can the City force the builder to place erosion protection on his lot? 5. My neighbor has been draining his swimming pool onto my lot. Who can I contact to stop this? 6. The creek behind my house is eroding and threatening my house and/or yard. Can the City fix this problem? 7. After it rains there is a puddle in my street gutter. Will the City repair the street to eliminate the gutter ponding? 8. The storm drain system on my street does not appear to be functioning as well as it used to. What can the City do? 9. Am I allowed to construct a fence crossing a drainage easement? 10. What is the difference between public and private drainage systems? 11. When it rains water flows over the street curb and floods my home. Is there anything that the City can do?

2 12. What does it mean if my drainage concern is designated as a project candidate? 13. There is some ponding in the creek behind my house. Water will sit for several days and there is a mosquito problem when this happens. Who can I call? 14. What can I do to determine if I have a groundwater problem? 15. A hole has developed in my yard over a City pipe system. What can the City do? 16. The concrete channel behind my house has become overgrown with weeds in the joints and along the banks. There is also trash and debris from an unknown source within the channel. Will the City clean this up? 17. My driveway culvert has become clogged and no longer drains properly. Will the City come out and clean out my culvert? 18. I have a drainage problem on my property and none of the above questions seem related to it. Who can I call? My neighbor has done some work on his lot and now I m getting more runoff. What can I do? In the past, city staff has come out to look at situations such as this. These situations are civil matters between the property owners. It does not violate city code for one lot to drain onto another, and you should try to perform work on your lot to help your yard drain more efficiently. It is against state code to divert or concentrate runoff, or block runoff from draining onto your property. We advise that you meet with your neighbor and discuss the problem to work toward a mutually agreeable solution. If this is not possible, consider grading swales on your property to convey the runoff around your home. Swales are depressions similar to wide shallow ditches that will collect runoff and take it to a more desirable area, typically the street. If swales are graded, care should be taken to ensure that grass is established so that they do not immediately fill up with silt. Occasionally, area drains may be considered. However, we do not generally recommend them for surface flow situations. Area drains typically do not have the capacity to handle the volume of runoff that is threatening to flood a home, and must be frequently cleaned of leaves and debris to function properly.

3 I have discussed my drainage problems with my neighbor and they will not work with me. I have considered placing swales or other improvements on my property, but it is not feasible. Is the City responsible for ensuring proper drainage on my lot? The City is not responsible for ensuring proper drainage on privately owned property. If it is impossible to remedy the problem by working with your neighbor, then civil court action may be taken. This should be a last resort to resolving drainage problems. Only if the neighbor is diverting or impounding water against its natural flow or unnaturally concentrating the flow would the neighbor be liable for damages. If water is flowing as it naturally would, then the neighbor has no liability. Property owners are responsible for maintaining drainage on their own property. You could also consider hiring a civil engineer with expertise in storm drainage to examine alternative solutions. There is new construction behind my lot and I m having drainage problems due to the construction. Is there anything the City can do to make the developer drain his development away from me? There is a misconception that new development is not allowed to drain onto existing development. If the area drained onto the adjacent property prior to development, it may continue to do so after development. New development may not worsen existing structural flooding as reported to the City. If problems are being created during construction, please contact the Department of Development Services at and we will investigate to determine whether the development is being properly constructed. The new construction behind my house is causing a lot of dirt and sediment to enter my yard. Can the City force the builder to place erosion protection on his lot? Please contact the Department of Development Services at It is helpful if you know the name of the adjacent development. The developer of a subdivision or a commercial site is required to maintain pollution control on his property until adequate vegetation is established. My neighbor has been draining his swimming pool onto my lot. Who can I contact to stop this?

4 If the pool is draining onto private property then it is a civil matter between property owners. However, it is a violation of city code to drain pool water into the street. If swimming pool water is reaching the street, please contact the Development Services Department at It is usually necessary to catch them in the act, so please call as soon as you notice it. The creek behind my house is eroding and threatening my house and/or yard. Can the City fix this problem? Please contact the Department of Development at to report a creek erosion problem. We will log it into a database and use this list of erosion problems to develop a possible erosion program in the future. It may be a few years before any erosion problems are addressed; therefore, the property owner should be proactive in determining a solution to the erosion problem. If the creek is not designated as FEMA Floodway/Floodplain, the homeowner may place materials, such as concrete sacks, gabions, or rocks in the creek for erosion protection. Wood materials, including cross ties or landscape timbers shall not be placed in the creek. Please contact the Department of Development Services prior to placing anything in the creek so that we may discuss it with you. Care should be taken to match the flowline of the creek with the materials so that the creek capacity is maintained. If the creek is designated as FEMA Floodway, then an engineering consultant should be hired to design the erosion control measures, coordinate with the City and determine if any correspondence with FEMA will be required. After it rains there is a puddle in my street gutter. Will the City repair the street to eliminate the gutter ponding? Please contact the Department of Development Services at and we will determine if your street is publicly or privately maintained. If your street is public, we will place your location on a list and it will be graded based on the severity of the ponding. If the problem is fairly minor, it will be placed on a list to be repaired by the Street Division. If it is more significant, it may be placed on a list for a future street rebuild project. If you live in a private subdivision, then it is the responsibility of the homeowners association or the individual homeowner to correct the problem. The storm drain system on my street does not appear to be functioning as well as it used to. What can the City do?

5 Please contact the Department of Development Services at The storm drain system may have become clogged. If there is a problem with a public storm drain system, we can inspect for blockage and remove debris if present. If the system is private, then it is the responsibility of the homeowners association or the individual homeowner to maintain the system. Am I allowed to construct a fence crossing a drainage easement? Fences are allowed in drainage easements in some situations. A fence permit must be obtained from the Building Inspections Division for any fence construction. Proposed fences within drainage easements will be forwarded to the Drainage Engineer for evaluation. We may allow a fence to be placed across a concrete flume as long as the bottom of the fence is placed at or above the flume s curb height and does not block the flow of the flume. Fences are never allowed across concrete channels, within natural creeks, or within the floodway. Depending on the type of fence, it may be necessary to execute an Easement Use Agreement. What is the difference between public and private drainage systems? Public drainage systems are located within public drainage easements or street right-ofway. We require that a system be public when it crosses a lot line. Public drainage systems are the city s maintenance responsibility. Private drainage systems are located on private property and may or may not be located within private drainage easements. Private drainage systems typically do not cross lot lines and are generally used to collect runoff on a specific lot. Private drainage systems are required to be maintained by the property owner. When it rains water flows over the street curb and floods my home. Is there anything that the City can do? Please contact the Department of Development Services at and we will investigate. There could be a problem with the street capacity when storm water flows over the curb. If this is the case and a structure is flooding, then the problem may be designated as a project candidate on the city s Drainage CIP. Typical solutions to this problem are: construction of an overflow flume; construction of berms and reconstruction of driveways to keep the water in the street; or construction of an inlet and pipe system to connect to an existing drainage system.

6 What does it mean if my drainage concern is designated as a project candidate? If a drainage problem is caused by public infrastructure (or lack of necessary infrastructure) then the City may designate the problem as a project candidate. Each year project candidates are listed and ranked based on specific criteria including number of residences that flood, frequency of flooding, and cost effectiveness of the project. After the projects are ranked, they are placed on the Drainage CIP. The Drainage CIP is a multi-year plan that identifies drainage projects proposed for upcoming years. Project priorities can change from year to year as new problem areas are identified. The number of drainage projects planned for a given year is based on the project costs as related to the revenues generated by Bonds. If you have any questions about a project on the list, please feel free to call the Department of Development Services at There is some ponding in the creek behind my house. Water will sit for several days and there is a mosquito problem when this happens. Who can I call? Typically, homeowners are responsible for the maintenance of the creek adjacent to their property. Contact the Action Center at for information related to mosquito control. What can I do to determine if I have a groundwater problem? Please contact the Water Department at We can send someone out to evaluate whether the water is groundwater, tap water, or sanitary sewer water. You will be notified of the results. If it is groundwater, then it is the property owner s responsibility to address the problem. You may wish to contact a civil engineer or landscape contractor experienced in drainage problems. A hole has developed in my yard over a City pipe system. What can the City do? Please contact the Development Services at If the system is public, we can investigate the cause of the problem and repair the system if necessary. If the system is private, then the owner of the system is responsible for maintenance.

7 My driveway culvert has become clogged and no longer drains properly. Will the City come out and clean out my culvert? City crews will clean and regrade ditches as needed, but homeowners are responsible for cleaning out driveway culverts. I have a drainage problem on my property and none of the above questions seem related to it. Who can I call? Please contact the Development Services at When you call this number, the receptionist will ask you a few general questions to get an idea of the concern. She will then assign the call to an engineer. The engineer will research the location and will call you back to discuss your concerns. Once any questions have been answered or action has been taken, the engineer will log the complaint into a database. After the information has been logged into the database, it becomes public record and we must provide the information to anyone who asks for it.

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