Properly managing stormwater whether you are a homeowner or business is essential to protecting drinking water quality and can also have a big impact on wildlife in the waterways. Homeowners, business and the city of Indianapolis can work together to keep water clean and flowing freely.
The Marion County stormwater drainage system is more than 10,000 miles long, with 6,000 miles on private property. The system includes pipes, ditches, and other structures that drain stormwater runoff from sources to more than 500 local waterways such as the White River and Fall Creek. In addition to protecting water quality, stormwater management also helps to prevent potholes and poor road surfaces, remove insect breeding grounds, and divert water away from your home.
How to Manage Your Property’s Drainage
Solutions to keep water clean and flowing through the proper systems can be implemented with any combination of time and budget. The goal is to reduce stormwater volume and/or the discharge of pollutants in stormwater runoff.
To get started you can
- properly store and dispose of household and business chemicals. Ensure no chemicals are leaked into your property.
- work with neighbors to clear brush, debris and other blockages from neighborhood creeks and ditches.
- maintain swales and ditches, including roadside ditches, by mowing grass to eight inches or less, and keep them free of debris. Be sure not to mow when the ground is wet to avoid rutting.
- pick up after pets to avoid pet waste from entering waterways.
- use best practices for erosion control for creeks that run through your property.
- use a rain barrel to collect stormwater runoff from your roof.
- use lawn chemicals sparingly and only according to the application instructions.
- plant a rain garden, a landscaped area planted with wild flowers and other native vegetation that soak up rain water, mainly from the roof of a house or other buildings.
If you have drainage and erosion problems on your private property, the Marion County Soil and Water Conservation District provides help and resources to get you back on track.
Responsibilities of the City of Indianapolis
The remaining 4,000 miles of the 10,000 miles of the stormwater drainage system is the responsibility of the City of Indianapolis. In addition to inspecting stormwater problem areas for issues, the city
- provides public education to residents regarding stormwater such as marking storm drains with “Drains to Stream” decals or sharing ways citizens can report issues with flooding, drainage, and polluters
- partners with local waterway protection organizations such as the Marion County Wellfield Education Corporation, Keep Indianapolis Beautiful and the Marion County Soil and Water Conservation District
- provides public ToxDrop (hazardous waste) locations, offering public recycling locations, and providing leaf pick up and composting
- conducts street sweeping
- inspects construction sites and requires erosion and sediment control through codes and ordinances
- samples and monitors waterways for pollutants
Learn more about how the city manages stormwater at https://www.indy.gov/activity/stormwater-resources or view a summary of private and city stormwater responsibilities.
Fall is a great time to clean your property and review how stormwater is managed. Join us in protecting our city’s water systems!