Drainage and My Property

It may be normal for some property owners to see storm water draining through their property as there might be a small stream or creek.  For others, storm water may only appear during storms or you may see more water than anticipated during heavy rain events.  Below is some information and FAQ's to help you understand how and why storm water affects your property.

Whose responsibility is it for the water draining on to my property?

  • The Illinois Drainage Law details out the responsibility and actions a property owner may take in regards to the storm water on their property.

I live in a residential subdivision, why is their water draining through my yard?

  • The entity that developed your subdivision determined how and by what method to convey storm water through their property(subdivision).  Their are no rules or restrictions on how the previous property owner (developer) chooses to convey storm water.  It is that property owner's (developer's) choice on whether to convey storm water through ditches or storm sewers. 
  • If that property owner (developer) chooses to drain storm water by means of a storm sewer, the City does require that pipe to be sized to handle a 10-year storm event.
  • Once the newly created parcel is sold, the new property owner now takes ownership of the drainage across that property.
  • The image at the bottom of the page is an example of how storm water could have been laid out in a subdivision.

The City's storm water pipe discharges on to my property, why doesn't the pipe extend further?

  • While the City does maintain the storm sewer pipes, the method on how to convey that storm water through your property was determined by the developer.  The developer determines how they want to convey storm water across what was their property at the time of development.  Once the property is subdivided, the owner of the newly created lot takes over ownership of the drainage conditions on their property. 
  • The City cannot control how a developer (property owner) chooses to convey storm water.  It is solely up to that developer (property owner).

It just rained really hard and I have storm water where I typically don't see storm water.

  • If a developer chooses to convey storm water through a storm sewer, that pipe is sized to handle a 10-year storm event.  The developer must also create a route for storm water to flow for storm events that exceed the 10-year storm.  This path is typically the same path of the storm sewer, but can be in a different location.

Example of how drainage in a subdivision can be set up

  1. Note the drainage paths enter and leave Property B at the same locations.
  2. The developer (owner of Property B) decides how storm water is conveyed across their property.
  3. The newly subdivided parcels now take responsibility for the drainage across their new property.
  4. The City takes over ownership of the physical storm sewer pipes.   
    Note:  Per the Illinois Drainage Law, the subservient property is to accept storm water from the upper property, whether that be a road, stream, ditch, or neighboring property.
Development Drainage Example