What is Stormwater?
- Downstream flooding
- Stream bank erosion
- Increased turbidity (muddiness created by stirred up sediment) from erosion
- Habitat destruction
- Changes in the stream flow hydrograph (a graph that displays the flow rate of a stream over a period of time)
- Stormwater Damage
- Contaminated streams, rivers and coastal water
Stormwater in Richland County
The Richland County Commissioners adopted the Stormwater Management and Sediment Control Regulations for Richland County. The purpose of these regulations is to reduce Stormwater and erosion impacts from earthmoving and/or construction activities. Anyone within Richland County limits (not inside city/village limits, except Lexington Village) with a project that will entail earth disturbing or construction activity, must apply for a Stormwater Permit. The permit process requires the applicant to submit a site plan detailing how erosion and Stormwater will be handled during and after the project. The goal is to keep sediment from leaving the site and to handle Stormwater in a way to promote water infiltration into the soil and not create a drainage nuisance to neighboring properties. Larger commercial construction projects may be required to submit an engineered plan that will retain Stormwater onsite and release it at a controlled rate.
Neighborhood Drainage Issues
Neighborhood drainage issues are becoming a major county issue in populated areas. Here is an explanation of what you can do and how we can help.
Resolving Drainage Issues
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 the parties getting together in our office with a mediator. The goal of mediation is to develop a mutual agreement between neighbors. The court driven mediation will help minimize confusion and promote a solution. The mediation is at the expense of the parties.
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 go to our contact page.
Drainage Assistance Example
Neighbors Work Together to Resolve Drainage Situation
We want to share with you a recent example of three (3) neighbor’s working together to resolve a drainage situation. One neighbor invited Richland SWCD to meet with himself and his neighbors to share what has been happening, to discuss possible solutions and hear recommendations from Richland SWCD. Matt Wallace, District Technician, and Erica Thomas, District Administrator met with the group.
To provide you with some background, one neighbor has a farm and the other two neighbors are home and landowners. Two neighbors have lived in their homes several years and the third built a home with driveway a few years ago. The neighbor who recently built a home, also inherited a ditch from a previous owner that was intended to drain into the farm field. The farmer does not want the water to drain onto his field. The other homeowner has been experiencing septic back-ups into the home and some basement flooding. How can this be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction?
The new homeowner suggested removing part of a dike along the manmade channel to eliminate septic saturation and back-up, basement flooding and keep it from draining onto the farm field. This solution will allow water to flow back to an open meadow that was naturally wet before a past owner decided to channel it in one direction. To reduce a potential mosquito problem, Matt recommended building bat and swallow houses. The benefit is two-fold. Building and installing it will be great family project, plus it uses natural methods instead of chemicals. By the time Matt and Erica were ready to leave, the neighbors were discussing how to get started on the project. In the end, everyone seemed pleased and were ready to work toward achieving the same goal. We consider this a great day and visit and appreciate being invited to join in the discussion.
A drainage issue like this one, is a civil matter. If you invite Richland SWCD to a meeting like the example above, we will schedule a time to meet the parties involved at the site and provide recommendations. Sometimes an intermediary like Richland SWCD who isn’t directly involved in a situation can help find a satisfactory resolution. Richland SWCD does not settle disputes and is not an enforcement agency. However, you may forge a stronger relationship with your neighbor. To learn more, call 419-747-8686 or go to our contact page.
June 15, 2020
The Rainwater and Land Development Manual offers Best Management Practices to Homeowners, Contractors, and Developers to properly design Stormwater practices. Get a copy of the Rainwater and Land Development Manual.