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Do you have a drainage problem in your yard or neighborhood?

Aug 30, 2016 09:44AM ● Published by Neighbors Magazines

The City of Batavia maintains a drainage website that explains standard procedures and protocol for city staff to follow when notified of an area in town as having a drainage issue. Please visit the website,, for the drainage policy, a link to the online comment submittal form, the city’s drainage brochure and other reference material.

How do I know I have a Drainage Issue?

• After a storm or rainfall, standing water remains after 72 hours

• Smell from stagnant water

• Yellowing of plant life near water

How should a typical lot drain?

Typically your home is centered on the lot set just off the building setback line from the street side. The house will usually be at the highest spot on the lot and the land around your home will slope away, usually 2% minimum, older lots were typically designed with lesser standards. The side yards have designed drainage ways called swales to convey the runoff rain water to the front or backyard. The front yard will drain towards the streets while the backyard will drain towards more drainage swales and possible storm drains. Most lots contain easements paral­lel to the rear and side lot lines, typically 5' to 10' wide, that state what is allowed to be contained in those areas.

What is an easement and what cannot be al­lowed in an easement?

An easement is a right given to another person or entity to trespass upon land that person or entity does not own. Easements are used for roads, for example, or given to utility companies for the right to bury cables or access utility lines. Easements run with the land. Almost every home has an easement. It is important to look for easements in the public records, especially if a prospec­tive buyer plans to put in a swimming pool. A property owner cannot build on top of an easement without get­ting prior approval from the city.

The standard language in the City of Batavia Public Utility and Drainage Easement (P.U.D.E) Provisions read: “No obstruction or structure shall be erected or located, nor shall any trees be planted, over said easement areas, nor shall any other activities be undertaken that unrea­sonably interfere with the Grantees’ intended use thereof, but the same may be used for landscaping, fencing, park­ing or other purposes if such use does not then or later interfere with the aforementioned purposes.”

What are some common drainage obstructions?

• Sheds and other structures

• Tree root systems on mature trees

• Fences

• Planted landscaping (shrubbery, ground cover, etc.)

• Landscaping debris

Common Solutions

• Reroute water downflow by installing drainage pipes.


ª Place fences such that the bottom of the fence allows ample spacing for water to flow underneath (3”-4” above the ground). Installing a fence without that gap can cause soil and other debris to buildup at the fence and inhibit proper water flow.

• Do not block or cover storm drains or alter the grading of your swale or install landscaping in those areas. In addition be aware of where you place plants, trees, or other landscaping additions on your property.

• Build sheds and other structures outside of the 5'–10' public utility and drainage easement area.

Lastly, remember there is a drainage law in place and the Illinois Drainage Law states that:

• Downstream properties must take water from upstream properties as long as it is not at a rate greater than it has previously received the water.

• You as a homeowner become upstream to one of your neighbors and must abide to this law.

• When drainage obstructions take place, property own­ers are held responsible for draining the water down­stream to lower areas.

Today, News Drainage Policy Easement Obstructions
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