Ditches & Water Issues

  • Is my neighbor permitted to drain water from his property onto mine?

Generally, this is allowable as long as the water continues to follow its natural established course of flow. This is explained in detail in the Ohio Drainage Laws, found in the Ohio Revised Code, Chapters 6131, 6135 and 6137.

  • My neighbor is building a home and I get more run off than I did before. What can I do?

It is essential to discuss this problem with either the builder of the home or the future homeowners as soon as the problem is noticed. In some cases, this is a temporary issue until the site is completed and has established vegetation. Drainage issue are much easier to fix during the building phase than after. Also, some cities and villages require a grading plan. This can be reviewed by the community and builder to make sure it was followed.

  • When you consider buying property, it is necessary to do your homework! Soils are one of the most important items to research before purchasing property. Soil surveys will describe all of the soil types in an area, as well as which soils are generally suitable for septic systems, building, farming and other uses. Also be aware of where your house is located (uphill or downhill). Water flows downhill, so property located in valleys and lower elevations will receive large amounts of water during a heavy rain, no matter what neighbors are doing. Researching this information can save a lot of time and money in damage due to wet soil conditions.

  • Can the SWCD serve as the enforcement agency regarding drainage complaints?

No, the District cannot enforce drainage issues on private property. We cannot enter a landowner’s property and order them to halt activity or force them to drain surface water off their land. We must be invited. If a landowner, either upstream or downstream, requests our technical assistance with solving drainage problems on their own property, we are happy to respond and provide as much information as our expertise allows. Unfortunately, this may require that the property owner invest their own time and money to correct problems that originate on a neighbor’s land.

  • New neighbors moved in next door and they are directing their roof water directly on my property. Who can help?

Again, this ends up being a private issue where the District has no authority. Talking to your new neighbor and trying to resolve the problem is the best option. If this does not work, you have the option to seek legal counsel and go to civil court to resolve the drainage issue. See the OSU Extension Law Bulletin.

  • What other suggestions besides neighbor relations and practices being installed to minimize drainage concerns does Wayne SWCD offer?

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.

Backyard Flooding

1. Level a sloping yard. To avoid incoming water, the ground should always slope away from your home in all directions. Locate the high and low points of your home and use extra dirt to slope the yard away from your house. This way, melting snow and rain will flow away from your home and basement, preventing flooding in your home. Work with a professional to make sure vents, basement windows, pipes, drains, and other areas aren’t negatively impacted during the grading process.

2. Choose local plants that prevent flooding in your yard. Indigenous plants can help to prevent soil erosion while also allowing rainwater to drain more efficiently. Plants native to Ohio can help prevent erosion and reduce flooding in your home. These can often be found at local plant nurseries. For more information about plants local to your part of Ohio, click here.

3. Using mulch in the garden can prevent water from flowing toward your home. In garden areas graded away from your home, fill with a few inches of mulch. This will help keep soil in place and hold in rainwater. If mulching near your home, make sure the mulch is at least six inches from your siding to avoid moisture wicking and rotting of your home’s exterior.

4. Planting new grass can reduce the impact of floods. The root structure of grass can help absorb water. It’s important to research what kind of grass would be most effective for your area. Once it grows in, avoid cutting your lawn too short, which weakens the roots and can lead to flooding in your yard, and possibly your home.

5. Learn what to plant in a rain garden. Rain gardens are the perfect solution for curbing erosion and improving water quality. They collect rainwater and water that runs from your gutters and downspouts, creating a runoff, filtering it away from your house. They are often created in shallow, landscaped depressions, which helps to naturally absorb rainwater in the ground.

6. Add drainage areas near driveways. Paved driveways can quickly lead to rainwater runoff, which can increase your home’s risk for flooding. Installing a gravel or spaced paver driveway are two options. For something less expensive, consider adding drainage next to your driveway by way of channel drains, pavers, or other landscaping-based solutions.

7. Learn how to install a rain barrel. Rain barrels, which are placed at the bottom of downspouts to collect the water, are a great way to redirect moisture and protect your home from flooding. As an added bonus, rain barrels allow an eco-friendly way to water your gardens and lawn when it’s dry out. They also decrease pollution runoff into lakes and natural waterways.

8. Know how to test your sump pump. A well-maintained sump pump will ensure that your basement stays dry by directing water out of your basement and away from your home. A sump pump can mean the difference between proper water flow and costly water damage. It’s important to check your sump pump to make sure everything is in proper working order. If you don’t have a sump pump, you might want to see if getting one is right for you.

*All information was found on the Roth Companies website: How to Reduce the Impact of Floods By Using Landscaping Best Practices*

Benefits of a Two Stage Ditch

Benefits of a two-stage ditch over the typical agricultural ditch include both improved drainage function and ecological function. The two stage design improves ditch stability by slowing down water flow and reducing the need for maintenance, saving both labor and money. It also has the potential to create and maintain better habitat and water quality conditions for the waters into which our drains flow into such as the Gulf of Mexico or Lake Erie. This is done by minimizing the amount of sediment and nutrients (such as phosphorus & nitrogen) that are transported from ditch to stream to river to sea.