Heavy rainfall or snowmelt can cause flooding, sewer backups and drainage issues to properties and neighborhoods.
When such things happen, it highlights the importance of wet weather preparedness. Damaged, aging or undersized infrastructure at any point in Northern Kentucky's storm drainage system can cause a range of flooding and backup issues.
Northern Kentucky's storm drainage system is a network of open (i.e. swales, ditches, ponds and streams) and closed (i.e. pipes and culverts) conveyances owned and operated by both public and private entities. Individual property owners (homeowners and local businesses) are responsible for the storm drainage systems that convey storm water runoff solely from private property. From there, storm water may flow into roadside ditches, culverts, curb and gutter systems and storm catch basin grates that are maintained by local cities and counties. These systems often convey the storm water runoff into SD1's separate storm sewer system or SD1's combined sewer system.
SD1, individual property owners and local municipalities each have a responsibility to prepare for and prevent wet weather problems.
What SD1 can do:
- SD1 is doing everything it can to address storm water issues in Northern Kentucky. Per SD1's Consent Decree and Regional Storm Water Management Program, SD1 is planning an estimated $800 million in capital improvements through 2025 to address the portions of the wastewater and storm water collection systems that are undersized, outdated and in need of repair.
For more information on the implementation of SD1's Regional Storm Water Management Program, click here.
- While it can be frustrating to experience periodic problems during wet weather, SD1 must take a holistic approach to address the issues. Based on this approach funding and improvements are prioritized to ensure maximum benefit for the community. Project prioritization factors include:
- Risk to public health
- Risk to sensitive areas
- Magnitude of problem
For more information on highly visible projects, please visit the Projects tab.
- For emergencies such as flooding or basement backups, please call SD1's Dispatch at 859-578-7466 during regular business hours or 859-331-6674 after hours.
What property owners can do:
- Check and clean your private drains (such as driveway drains, area drains, gutters and downspouts) before a rain event, but be sure to check them after rain starts. While you may clear a grate or drain before an event, the rain may wash debris back over the grate which could cause flooding.
- If you notice that drains in the public right of way are covered or clogged, you can contact your city to ask them to clear the grate. A list of phone numbers for the cities can be downloaded by clicking here.
- Make sure sump pumps are working (if applicable). Have a sump pump backup (such as a battery backup) should you lose power during a heavy rain storm.
- Make sure your private laterals (sanitary and/or storm water) are working properly and have a plumber inspect them periodically.
- When undertaking outdoor projects, try to choose materials that are not impervious which would increase surface water runoff.
- Call SD1 if there are any sinkholes or any signs of storm system failure, such as pipes coming apart.
- Do not discard 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 and impact water quality.
- If you see leaves, grass clippings, bottles, trash or other debris in front of a storm drain, please bag it before the next rainfall. Cleaning the surface of the storm drains in your neighborhood can help prevent flooding and protect your property.
- Your sewer lateral is your property - from your home's plumbing to the connection with SD1's sewer - and maintaining it helps protect your home and our environment. To learn more about private sanitary sewer laterals, click here.
- If you believe you have suffered damage to your home or belongings because of a sewer backup, you may fill out SD1's incident report form. If you have any questions regarding the form or process, please contact Jenna Prather at 859-578-6770.
- Follow these clean-up tips after a sewer backup occurs in your basement.
What cities can do:
- Clean grates 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.