Wyoming’s Environmental Stewardship Commission would like to learn more about how storm run-off affects local homeowners.
Some property owners have experienced long-standing or new issues with storm run-off and water backups on their property. To learn more about these issues and help uncover potential solutions, the ESC has created an online survey for residents to report their experiences.
Many longtime residents have noticed a change in recent years in the intensity of rain events, and anecdotal evidence indicates either rising levels of water-related stress on private properties, and/or an increasing level of storm awareness among Wyoming’s homeowners. For these reasons, Wyoming’s ESC has embarked on a long-term project to better understand storm water issues, both on private and public land.
As a first step in that direction, ESC’s Stormwater Study Group has created an online survey for residents to record their experiences with storm water. This data will inform the Stormwater Study Group as it begins researching how other cities have confronted changes in storm water flow on city property, and where they accessed the external funds for such green infrastructure projects.
Wyoming’s current storm water management is composed of a network of drains and sewers that collect rain water. The Q&A below explains how the system works.
How does Wyoming’s storm water system work?
The city operates a network of storm drains, linked to large-capacity storm sewers that collect water in streets, parking lots, and other areas and route it into streams or larger collection systems operated by the Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. In newer areas of town, especially those neighborhoods west of Springfield Pike, the majority of these storm sewers are completely separated from the sanitary sewers that collect sink, shower, and toilet drainage. In the city’s oldest and lowest lying neighborhoods, primarily east of Springfield Pike, storm water and sanitary sewage combine in the same conduits. These combined sewers can quickly reach their carrying capacity during rain events, potentially sending storm water mixed with raw sewage into the West Fork of Mill Creek or backing up into the basements of low-lying buildings. These combined sewer overflows (CSOs) into the Mill Creek and basement water incursions are the responsibility of the MSD, which works with property owners to alleviate basement water backups and operates under a consent decree with the Federal Government to reduce CSOs.
Managing storm water on privately-owned land is the responsibility of the property owner. Ideally, properties are graded to convey water away from structures/homes into receiving streams. Alternatively, storm water is routed toward roadways where it can be collected in the city and county sewer system. During street construction projects, downspouts and other private storm sewers are typically reconnected into a new roadway storm water system to maintain or improve water flow away from residential lots. In addition, sump pumps, which collect drainage in or around basements, can often be routed to the roadway storm water collection system, thus preventing discharge onto streets and reducing hazardous ice accumulation in the winter.
How will the survey information be used?
Once survey results are in, the Stormwater Study Group will map where residents report flooding has occurred within the city. The group will look back historically at what sorts of rain events have had the most impact, the types of soil in the impacted neighborhoods, and their proximity to city property. The group will then research what other cities have done to mitigate storm water on their city properties in ways that positively impacted nearby neighbors. Another team within the group will research grants and funding options for similar projects. The Study Group will create a flipbook for the city that includes the mapping, data, comparable mitigation programs, and a list of available grants. The flipbook will be a useful resource for city staff.
All members of the Stormwater Study Group are Wyoming residents volunteering to help. Some are ESC members and some are professionals in this sector.
What if I want to contribute to the survey but do not want to share my address?
The Stormwater Study Group recognizes that some homeowners may not want to share their address. You are welcome to fill out the survey and just note the closest intersection to your home. (Name and exact address are not required, and of course, the survey is voluntary.)
What sort of information will the group ask for?
Residents will be asked to detail the type of storm water issue they’ve experienced (e.g., sewer backup, water intrusion or yard ponding). You’ll be asked what season and year you experienced the home flooding, cause and approximate water depth.
If you have not experienced flooding, there’s no need to take the survey.
You can begin the survey here.