Residential Draining & Flooding
Following a significant weather event (e.g. heavy rainfall, rapid thaw of heavy snow/ice accumulation), stormwater drainage may take up to 72 hours to clear from your yard. Please allow for this amount of time to pass following the inclement weather event.
Proper Yard Drainage
There are many steps that homeowners can take to mitigate localized flooding. Ensure that if there is a storm inlet in your yard that it is free and clear of all obstructions such as leaves, grass and other debris.
Landscaping & Lawn
In the adjacent area surrounding your home, the ground should be graded away from your home’s foundation to ensure that stormwater flows away from the house and not towards it. A goal of three to six (3–6) inches of pitch in the first five (5) feet is recommended.
Adjacent driveways, sidewalks and patios should be graded away from your home to ensure the stormwater flows away from the house’s foundation and not towards it. A minimum goal of three quarter (¾) inch over five (5) feet is recommended.
Downspouts & Sump Pumps
It is good practice to extend your downspouts and sump pumps away from your home to keep stormwater from collecting in your yard. To prevent creating a nuisance for your neighbors, downspouts and sump pumps should discharge a minimum of ten (10) feet from your property line. You may connect your sump pump or down spout to the public storm sewer with permit approval from the Lockport Building Department.
Grading & Drainage Changes
Yard drainage issues may arise for various reasons. The following topics are example situations to consider if you are having problems.
Ground Settlement (Natural)
Areas of your yard, including the ground surrounding your home, may settle over time. These areas could cause water to drain towards your house or collect and hold water. When this occurs, it may be a good idea to fill the depression with clay below the topsoil layer.
Heavy rain events, sump pumps, or downspout discharges could cause soil erosion and create low spots for water to collect. Splash blocks or porous stone may be options to consider to prevent erosion at concentrated discharge locations.
Home & Landscaping Improvements (Man-Made)
The installation of patios, decks, pools and landscaping are the most common changes to yard grading and drainage. Installing leveled plant beds, planting trees or shrubs, and/or creating a berm do not always require a permit, but can change or obstruct the designed drainage for your lot. For these reasons, the following projects shall be permitted and may require a grading plan:
- Patios or decks
- Retaining walls
- Sheds or other freestanding structures
When planning your next home improvement project, please consider how it will affect you and your neighbors grading and drainage.
Citywide Stormwater System
Stormwater run-off from your yard should have a clear path via side and rear yard swales towards the City’s storm sewer and detention ponds. These swales may continue through your neighbor’s property. It is the homeowner’s responsibility to ensure that water is able to flow through their property unimpeded to avoid creating flooding or drainage issues for themselves and their neighbors. Drainage swales are typically constructed within a drainage easement on a homeowner’s property. The drainage easement comes with many restrictions, such as building, planting or grading, and should be considered before any work is done on a property.
Detention and Retention Ponds
Detention and Retention Ponds are designed to collect water from subdivisions and slowly release it downstream. In larger storms, it is common for the water level to get close to the top. All detention and retention ponds are designed to have an overflow to prevent flooding residents’ homes.
If you have any concerns regarding the detention or retention pond in your area (i.e. the water level is not dropping 48-72 hours after the rain even stops or there is excess erosion along the sides), please contact your HOA representative.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) determines if a property is in a floodplain. FEMA regularly publishes floodplain location maps and other valuable resources, available on their website.