Stormwater & Flooding Around Your Home

What's On or Under My Property

Purchasing property is a major investment for all owners. Whether a home, business or empty lot has been acquired, the significance of structural and economical aspects are equally important as other external factors. Examining the natural man-made features on a property and knowing your responsibility as the property owner is essential just like researching how many bedrooms are featured in the house.

For example: What improvements are permitted on the property's easement? What will the insurance premiums be if the property is in a floodplain? Are there wet soils on the property that could cause possible flooding in the basement? These are all items to be researched prior to purchasing any property.


Floodplains are the areas along streams or rivers that are likely to experience repeated flooding. Over thousands of years, nature has shaped the floodplain to hold excess water that spills over the bank. Floodplains are intended to flood.

Because nature has designed floodplains to flood, the floodplain is considered to be part of a healthy creek system. Decades ago, homes and buildings were often built in floodplains in the city of Rockford as well as across the nation. That's because:

  • Water was easily available for drinking or commercial uses
  • Floodplain land is often flat and easier to develop than hilly land

Since the late 1970s, building in local floodplains has been restricted. Protecting floodplains from additional development can reduce flood losses and improve the environment.

Characteristics of a Floodplain Diagram

While all in the area are at some risk of flooding, many property owners will find that the risk has changed over time. The latest flood maps are effective February 17, 2016. The following links can be used to determine if you have floodplains on or near your property:

The City of Rockford Staff is also available to answer any floodplain-related questions or to assist you with any flooding or drainage concerns on or near your property. Please call 779-348-7175 or email Stormwater.

  1. City of Rockford Floodplain Resources
  2. FEMA Floodplain Resources
  3. Illinois DNR Resources
  4. Other Resources

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Detention Basins & Drainage Easements

Stormwater detention and drainage easements are the best management practice designed to reduce the impacts of pollution and to increase stormwater runoff caused by developments. They are an essential part of the City of Rockford's effort to improve the quality of streams, rivers, and ponds. Once a detention basin or drainage way fails, the system will no longer perform the intended function and is often expensive to replace.

Many property owners are unaware of stormwater detentions or drainage easements located on the property that they are responsible to maintain. The general thought is that the City of Rockford is responsible for the maintenance of these drainage ways, but this is not the case. According to most recorded plats, maintenance of the area is the responsibility of the property owner or the owners bordering the area.

If you are not sure if you have a detention or drainage easement on your property, contact the Stormwater Division at 779-348-7175.

Dispose of Your Waste Properly

Visit Earth 911's website for places to dispose of electronics and hazardous waste.

Minimizing Pollution

Many activities around your home can have positive or negative consequences on stormwater quality. Making one slight change to your simple, everyday activities can have a major impact on the amount of pollution entering the storm system. While working in the yard, washing the car, or walking the dog, think about how your current activities can affect the environment and the changes that can be made to minimize pollution.

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