Drainage Concerns
Downspout Discharge

The City of Des Moines Stormwater Utility receives numerous inquiries concerning the discharging of downspouts directly onto adjacent private property. The private-to-private discharge is mentioned in the City of Des Moines’ Nuisance Ordinance and is classified as a civil matter between the property owners to resolve.

Recommendations for discharging downspouts are as follows:

1)  Place the discharge pipe towards the front or rear of the structure to dissipate the water into the yard away from adjoining property lines or the structure itself.

2)  Place discharge outlets beyond the front or rear building lines of adjacent buildings.

3)  Place discharge outlets in areas that naturally drain away from existing structures.

4)  Place the outlet end of the discharge should be placed at least fifteen feet away from the structure or any adjoining property lines to allow the water to dissipate and not flow onto other property or back to the foundation of the structure.

 

Sump Pump Discharge

The City of Des Moines Storm Water utility also receives numerous inquiries concerning the discharge of sump pump water directly onto adjacent private property or into the city street. The private-to-private discharge is mentioned in the City of Des Moines’ Nuisance Ordinance and is classed as a civil matter between the property owners to resolve.


The discharge of sump pump water across city sidewalks or streets in time can cause algae growth in warm weather and icing conditions in freezing weather. In each case the property owner is responsible for any accidents that may occur and redirecting of the discharge is required to avoid any fines or penalties. 


If available, the city recommends all sump pumps be connected to a City storm sewer and never to a sanitary sewer. If storm sewer is not available, the following suggestions are recommended.

1)  Place the discharge pipe towards the front or rear of the structure to dissipate the water into the yard away from adjoining property lines or the structure itself.

2)  Place discharge outlets beyond the front or rear building lines of adjacent buildings.

3)  Place discharge outlets in areas that naturally drain away from existing structures.

4)  The outlet end of the discharge should be placed at least fifteen feet away from the structure or any adjoining property lines to allow the water to dissipate, and not flow onto other property or back to the foundation of the structure.
 

Groundwater

High or excessive groundwater is usually an issue limited to the spring time caused by the winter snow melt combined with the spring rains, but it can persist year round in many areas due to location and continued rainfall events. High groundwater can cause seepage through basement walls and floors, and it can also cause areas of property to be excessively wet for extended periods. Because groundwater is highly variable and also property specific, in most cases it is deemed a private issue and the responsibility of the property owner to address.

To report any stormwater pollution concerns, such as illicit discharges, drainage concerns, connections or polluted runoff from a construction site please contact the City’s 24-Hour Hotline at (515) 283-4950 or submit a online concern.