Stormwater and Your Home

What’s On, or Under, My Property?

Purchasing property is a major investment for anyone. Whether it’s buy a home or business or an empty lot it’s important to not only look at the structure and price but other factors as well. Knowing the natural man-made features on a property and your responsibilities with those features is as important as how many bedrooms are in the house.

For example; what can or can’t be done if there is an easement on the property? What will my insurance premiums be if the property is in the floodplain? Are there wet soils on the property which could cause flooding in the basement? These are all items that should be researched prior to purchasing a property.

Use these helpful tools to begin that research.


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

Because nature 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 Rockford and 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 1970’s, building in local floodplains has been restricted. Protecting floodplains from additional development can reduce flood losses and improve the environment.

Floodplain Graphic

While everyone in Rockford is at some risk for flooding, many property owners will find that their risk has changed. The latest flood maps are effective February 17, 2016. Please visit https://msc.fema.gov/portal

Is there a floodplain on or near my property?

What if my property is in the Floodplain?

National Flood Insurance Program

Flood Hazard Mapping

Floodplain Maps (IEMA)

Detention Basins & Drainage Easements

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

Many property owners are not aware they have a storm water detention or drainage easement on their property and that they are responsible for their maintenance.  While many think it is the City’s responsibility to maintain detention basins that is generally not the case.  According to most recorded plats, maintenance of the area is the responsibility of the property owner or those bordering the area.

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


Dispose of Your Waste Properly

Visit Earth911’s website for places to dispose of electronics/hazardous waste.

City of Rockford Refuse Brochure

Minimizing Pollution

Many activities around your home can have a positive or negative impact on storm water quality. Making one slight change to your simple, everyday activities can have a major impact on the amount of pollution entering our storm system. As you do yard work, wash your car, or walk your pet, think about how your current way of doing these activities is good or bad for the environment and what you can do to help.

Hazardous Materials Brochure Pest Control and Pesticide Safety
Applying Fertilizers & Pesticides Water Friendly Landscaping Alternatives
Pet Waste Rain Barrels
Residential Deicing Rain Garden “How-To” Manual
Yard Waste Minimize Pollution Around Your Home