HOAs and condo associations are responsible for maintaining proper drainage infrastructure to prevent flooding.

3 Stormwater Drainage Problems For Associations

Donna Campbell Home Owner Associations

Seattle has a ‘rainy city’ reputation, but did you know that Chicago is right behind Seattle for average annual rainfall? While Seattle’s rainfall is typically a steady drip, Chicagoland sees downpours that can lead to flooding and drainage problems.

Conducting regular structural and functional maintenance of your drainage infrastructure will help with flood control and pollutant removal. Proper drainage will help extend the life of your pavement and reduce your annual paving costs.

Common Causes of Drainage Problems for HOAs

Here are the three most common drainage issues an HOA might face, their impact, and how to solve them.

1. Obstructed Basins

There are three common types of basins:

  • Drop inlet basins
  • Catch basins
  • Retention basins

Clogged basins are a maintenance-related problem that can cause street flooding. Street flooding is a nuisance to your residents and a place for mosquitos to breed.

What to look for: trash, leaves or other debris blocking water from running into the basins. You should also note any sinkholes in the pavement near the catch basin, as they are a serious problem with expensive consequences.

2. Improper Sloping of Driveways and Roads

Improperly sloped roads and driveways are a design-related problem and a fairly common cause of community flooding.

What to look for: Streets paved to be higher than the hump at the end of the driveway, or ponding in yards or common lawn areas near the road.

Pro Tip: Repaving projects are an opportunity to get the sloping right and prevent future flooding. Work with a reputable paver to make sure that they follow best practices for proper sloping and drainage.

3. Poor Grading of Landscaped Areas

Landscaping is important for proper drainage of stormwater. Poor grading of landscaped or grassed areas can cause significant flood problems. Some landscape professionals recommend grassed swales, a common stormwater management solution in many communities in North America. These are low channels with erosion tolerant vegetation that drain stormwater efficiently out of the area. Proper mulching in landscaped beds is also important for drainage.

What to look for: Ponding in low-lying areas, standing water in landscaped beds.

HOA Responsibilities for Stormwater Management

Most HOAs are responsible for maintenance to create proper drainage of stormwater in their communities. Regular maintenance responsibilities can include (but are not limited to):

  • Inspection of easements and common areas
  • Removal of debris and other obstructions to catch basins and other drainage infrastructure
  • Creating proper drainage slopes for open lawn areas
  • Restoring soil that has eroded from critical areas
  • Repair of concrete that is cracked or damaged

Pro Tip: Secure a copy of the site construction plans, drainage reports, and CCRs with maintenance guidelines. If your property is older or you no longer have a copy of these reports, you may want to consult with a drainage engineer.

Your HOA’s drainage infrastructure was designed to eliminate or minimize damage from stormwater runoff around the property. With proper care, you can protect your community’s roads, sidewalks, and driveways from expensive damage.

It’s important to do a thorough assessment of properties in early spring to identify potential drainage problems before we get hit with storm season. You can use our HOA Spring Maintenance Inspection Checklist to get organized and identify immediate repairs.