Ginger Davis, Conservation Administrator
Most homeowners would agree that standing water around the home is a nuisance and many have great concern about it. Unfortunately, we are projected to see even more rain and heavier downpours in Indiana’s future. Purdue is projecting that many of these rainfalls will happen in the winter months making it even harder for us to keep up with. Our general rule of thumb is that if the water sits for only 24-48 hours and then dries up, it is not a resource concern – it is actually a resource benefit. Typically, water can pond over grass for 72 hours before impacting the health of the grass. Ponding water can be looked upon as a badge of honor. You are helping to prevent flooding, to clean and replenish drinking water supplies, and to improve the drainage systems in our communities. Ponded water acts as storage so that storm drains are not overwhelmed. It helps prevent flooding of our streets and roadways and reduce the nutrients that make it into our waterways. If only there was a way to turn that excess water into a positive, more people would appreciate the water in their yard and not try to push it off onto their neighbors or community.
Drainage is the most important thing to look at when you are buying a home. Most people buy their homes in dryer, warmer months, and they do not see what issues may be creeping behind the rain clouds. The main concerns people have is that either 1) soggy ground is making it difficult to mow the lawn , 2) the standing water is killing plants and becoming an insect habitat, 3) water is entering a structure and causing property damage, or 4) erosion from water moving through the property is becoming a serious problem. Each of these concerns are a big deal for the property owner especially when a person is trying to move, or they notice that it is getting worse and worse every year.
We recognize that most people would like to alleviate the drainage problems their property has, so we developed a quick tip sheet that discusses some common practices that can be used to reduce drainage problems around the home. These practices can be considered positive impacts that homeowners can make on the drainage woes they are dealing with.
Some basic pointers can be checked first before diving into an intensive drainage plan. First, check storm sewer inlets. If there is an inlet in your yard, keep this drain clear of all obstructions including leaves, grass and debris. Debris at storm sewer inlets build-up after a storm event. This is a good time to check the inlet to make sure that the system will work well in the next storm. Second, ensure that you do not have a broken irrigation line that is causing the issue. With more and more irrigation lines being installed to fight the droughts in the summer, there is a higher risk of broken lines that cause soggy ground. Third, soil compaction is most often the biggest source of drainage problems. Helping to prevent and improve compaction will benefit more drainage problems over time than all other practices combined.
For all other drainage needs, see the new fact sheet out of our office for pointers and direction to deal with the drainage concerns.