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Understanding Your Drainage System May Help Prevent Flooding

Posted on March 3, 2021

Stormwater management plays an important role in reducing the chance of flooding inside your home.  Homeowners should be aware of the drainage system on their property to ensure that it is properly functioning.  Most residential lots utilize a swale system to move water away from and around the home.  Below are some key factors to understanding your drainage system.

Drainage swales:

  • Are shallow-sided, sloped ditches designed to carry surface run-off from a property, towards the nearest street, catch basin, or stormwater retention basin.
  • Are typically located along common property lines and sometimes at the back of a lot.
  • Should be graded and maintained in accordance with the approved lot grading plan.
  • Swales must be unobstructed and free draining.  Residents are encouraged not to place sheds, landscaping, or any other object in a drainage swale.
  • Do not plant trees in a swale, as over time, a large tree can impact drainage.
  • Keep fences at least six inches above the bottom of a swale to allow water and small debris to pass under it.

There are generally two types of lot drainage:

  1. Rear-to-front drainage
    1. The rear lot line is the high point on the lot
    2. Surface water on the property is drained to side yard swales along the common lot line and out the front of the property toward the street.
  2. Split drainage to a rear yard swale
    1. The highest elevation is set near the midpoint on the property.\
    2. Surface drainage then flows to the street and to the rear lot line onto a rear yard swale.

Rear to Front Drainage Split Drainage


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