Urban Conservation


Urban Conservation

Why is there water in my ditch?

Ditches are constructed to give water someplace to go (drainage), especially during or immediately after times of heavy rain or melting snow. Depending on the weather, it is normal for ditches to alternately be saturated with water and dry. High levels of rain within a short time frame will cause high water levels in ditches. Over a short period of time, ranging from hours to several days, high water levels will recede naturally.

What are Home Site Drainage Reviews?

 A home site drainage review, conducted by a Union SWCD staff member, a Union County Health Department staff member and the new landowner, occurs with a visit to the proposed home building site to determine proper lot drainage. Potential home sites need drainage reviews before building permits will be issued.

If the property is located in Allen, Claibourne, Darby, Dover, Leesburg, Liberty , Millcreek or York Township, expect the Union SWCD to participate in the inspections of your property. Agreements, or Memorandums of Understanding (MOU), have been established between the Union SWCD and these townships.

Water is flowing off my neighbor's property and creating problems on my property. What can I do?

Since most drainage complaints involve private property, they are managed as a civil matter. No county or township agency, including the Union SWCD, has the authority to maintain and/or improve the flow of stormwater across private property. In most cases, the landowner must initiate the action to resolve the drainage dispute or make the drainage improvement. To resolve a drainage problem, landowners may:

  • Choose to do nothing and accept the consequences (i.e. continued flooding, flood damage).
  • Work voluntarily with other landowners involved in the drainage problem, and agree to pay the necessary costs and construct improvements.
  • Consult with an attorney to resolve the drainage problem in a court of law.

Usually, the landowner is trying to collect damages to address a drainage problem resulting from the negligence of others. The Union SWCD may offer suggestions on how to resolve the drainage issue, but we do not have the authority to tell landowners what to do on their property.

Is my property in a floodplain?

Contact Mary Sampsel with the Union County Engineers Office to determine if a property is located in a floodplain.

Is there someone you recommend to design/build my new pond?

As time allows, the Union SWCD provides pond site evaluations and pond designs for property owners in Claibourne, Darby, Dover, Leesburg and Millcreek  Townships. Before inspections can be made in other townships, the Union SWCD and township must agree to services in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). Property owners may also hire a private engineer to design their pond.

Pond site evaluations and pond designs must be completed to Natural Resources Conservation Service guidelines before construction permits will be issued.

Although the Union SWCD designs ponds, we cannot suggest businesses to construct them. It's up to the landowners to contact a business they wish to construct the pond.