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Keeping Dry in a Saturated Spring

Article Published 04/13/2023

While the City has crews continually monitoring the snowmelt areas and our drainage systems, there are measures you can take that will help us mitigate flooding. Please walk your neighborhood and locate the storm water inlet grates and make sure they are clean, allowing water to flow directly into them. Then look at the gutters leading to those grates. As a neighborhood please work together on keeping them clean as well. The City has an excellent storm water system, we just need to make sure the water gets into that system.

While there are plenty of news stories about snowmelt issues, the real story is what you can do to keep your home and your neighbors' homes dry during this historic spring. Here are ideas that will mitigate the potential for water getting into your home:

Rain gutters. These should be clear of debris in order for the water to reach the downspouts. If your rain gutters are clogged, the water will flow out of the rain gutter, landing next to your foundation. Rain gutters should also be maintained so they remain secure against your home. Otherwise, the water will drain next to your home, or accumulate in low spots in the gutters, and not drain at all, causing further maintenance problems. This maintenance check and cleaning should be done in the spring and fall of each year.

Downspouts. Make sure your downspouts discharge the water a good distance away from your home. They should discharge so that the water will find its way to the storm water system. This may require adding extensions to the end of your downspouts, which are available at home improvement stores and are easy to use. And be mindful of your neighbors - they have their own water to worry about. Please DO NOT have your downspouts discharge directly into land drain lines. Land drain systems are not designed for this water - the storm water systems are designed for this water. Putting your downspouts directly into the land drain will push the system beyond its capacity, causing flooding in yours and your neighbors' homes. If you live in a hilly area, do not discharge this water onto any slopes, as this will saturate the hill, making it susceptible to sliding.

Landscaping. The City's Code requires that the ground around your home is sloped away from your home at minimum of a 2% slope, for a minimum distance of 10 feet. The City inspects this at the time of the final inspection of your home - when it was first built. So if it has been a while, the ground may have settled, or there may have been a change in your landscape plan. It is important to be mindful of maintaining that slope as you add ground cover, add plantings, or make other changes around your yard. Neighborhoods are designed for water to drain away from the homes, towards the property lines, which should have a slight swell configuration. These are to facilitate the water being conveyed along property lines, to the storm water system. This means you should be mindful of other landscaping changes you make on or near your property lines to avoid interfering with the conveyance of water. Obstructing these areas would be detrimental to you and your neighbors.

Sump pumps. In areas with high ground water levels, homes will have sump pumps installed to remove the ground water away from the home. These are generally installed in such a way that the water is discharged into the yard, away from the home, or into the storm water system. If your sump pump is removing ONLY ground water, it may be connected to the land drain system. However, if it is also collecting ANY surface water, these pumps cannot be discharging water into the land drain or sanitary sewer systems, as these two systems do not have the capacity to handle that water, and such connections will result in this water, and sewage, backing up into your home or the homes of your neighbors.

Currently the City's systems are handling the snowmelt well, yet we are far from the end of the spring and summer runoff.

Thank you for your sense of community as we prepare for and address these ongoing circumstances. We will continue to be diligent in monitoring and responding to different developing situations, as you and your neighbors continue watching your neighborhood and keeping us apprised of any needs.

Thanks again!