Richland Soil and Water

Assistance We Provide with Neighborhood Drainage Issues

Neighborhood drainage issues are becoming a major county issue in populated areas. In our experience, landowners want to involve our agency as an intermediary between neighbors. Our agency does not work with property owners to settle disputes. When neighbors agree to work together, then we can provide recommendations for solutions.

If the drainage concern is complex, a civil engineer should be consulted at the landowner(s) expense. Our agency is not an enforcement agency, but we do explain the parameters of Ohio Drainage Law when surface water issues arise. Ohio Drainage Law is specific. In short, surface water is owned by the state of Ohio and landowners that receive surface water must not impede or block the natural flow of water. Many of our recommendations include slowing surface flow by diverting or retaining water while the discharge flows naturally, the way nature intended.

Also, we can consult and recommend practices to be installed to minimize drainage concerns. These are verbal recommendations and it is up to the landowner to implement the practices suggested. We can provide examples of practices for landowners to follow.

In addition, we cannot walk onto neighboring properties to investigate drainage concerns. When there are issues between neighbors, we must be invited to go onto the property. Above all, it is the responsibility of the two parties/neighbors to come up with an agreeable solution.

When drainage issues cannot be resolved between landowners, we offer the option of court driven mediation. The goal of mediation is to develop a mutual agreement between neighbors. The court driven mediation will help minimize confusion and promote a solution, at our office's expense.

In an ideal situation, both landowners involved in a dispute share the expense of implementing a solution. This solution will not only benefit them; it will benefit all landowners in the community. When neighbors cannot communicate and mediation is unsuccessful, the only recourse is to proceed with civil court.

When a landowner considers civil court, it is important that their claim(s) warrant the complaint on the basis of damage to life, property, equipment. Is it life threatening? Is the drainage devaluing my property? Is the drainage a seasonal moisture issue that disappears when rainy periods diminish? Is this drainage issue affecting my quality of life, or well-being of my property (buildings, basements, foundations, etc.)? Am I in a floodplain or wetland? It is important to remember that there are federal and state laws in place to protect natural resources. Many of our complaints are temporary issues; they involve ponding or the holding of surface water during seasons of high rainfall.

Finally, we encourage landowners who experience drainage issues to document with dated pictures, videos and receipts of repairs resulting from stormwater damage in a dated folder. This information will be important if the landowner chooses to resolve the concern in civil court.

Please contact us if you have further questions at 419.747.8684 or click here to go to our Contact Us page.