SD1 works to reduce flooding risks


SD1 works to maintain storm structures throughout Northern Kentucky. 
Flooding is a natural and ever-present risk – especially in a region shaped by rivers – but that risk is compounded by the roofs, roads and parking lots that keep water from soaking into the ground. Instead, these and other impervious surfaces cause storm water runoff to travel over the land. On the surface, storm water runoff can pick up pollutants, erode the soil and flood our neighborhoods. When it makes its way into wastewater pipes through damaged lines or improper connections, it can overwhelm sanitary sewers and send sewage backing up into residents’ basements or spilling out into neighborhoods.

These are problems seen across the country, but SD1 works to protect Northern Kentucky against them through innovative and cost-effective projects and programs.

Storm water management program

SD1 works to maintain hundreds of miles of publicly owned storm sewers and thousands of associated storm structures, but managing storm water in Northern Kentucky – a diverse region with everything from urban core to rural farmland – requires more than simply maintaining pipe-in-the-ground infrastructure. SD1’s regional storm water management program also plays a major role in reducing the risk of flooding in the region.

Storm water needs require prioritization

While it can be frustrating to experience periodic problems during wet weather, SD1 must take a holistic approach to address storm water issues. As a result, funding and improvements are prioritized based on the following factors to ensure maximum benefit for the community.

  • Risk to public health and safety
  • Risk to sensitive areas
  • Magnitude of the problem

Cities can take action too

Northern Kentucky's storm drainage system is more than just closed pipes, catch basins and culverts. It also relies on a network of open conveyances, including ditches, ponds, swales and streams. Both the open and closed infrastructure that makes up the region’s storm water control system may be owned and operated by either public or private entities. Homeowners and local businesses are responsible for the storm drainage systems that convey storm water runoff solely from private property, while cities and counties are responsible for maintaining roadside ditches, culverts, curb and gutter systems and storm catch basin grates.

The list below details some of the actions cities can take to help prevent flooding in neighborhoods and sewer backups in residents’ homes:

  • Clear grates of trash, leaves, ice or snow and any other debris before a rain event, but be sure to check them after the rain starts. While you may clear a grate before an event, the rain may wash debris back over the grate which could cause flooding.
  • Identify hot spots in your city (such as areas prone to flooding, culverts, grates, etc.) and perform frequent preventive inspection and maintenance.
  • Encourage homeowners not to dump debris, grass clippings, construction waste, trimmed tree branches or any other landscaping over hillsides or into wooded areas. This debris will eventually end up in drainage ditches and creeks, which could block inlets or outfalls causing flooding.
  • Call SD1 if there are any sinkholes or any signs of storm system failure, such as pipes falling apart.
  • When planning road reconstruction or resurfacing projects, make sure that proper drainage designs are implemented.


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