Muncie is built on a wetland. Farmers and others wanted to get water to a river or ditch so agriculture or development could occur. To do this an unregulated system of ditches and pipes crisscrossed the land.
As populations grew and development continued, not surprisingly, problems arose. Storm water runoff from the streets contained horse manure, and later human waste was dumped into existing pipes creating a Combined Sewer System (CSS) with discharges into rivers and streams.
Drainage Forum Goal
The goal of the Drainage Forum was to educate citizens on the causes and potential solutions to flooding problems in the City of Muncie.
Panel members were:
R. Scott Rice-Snow, BSU Professor of Geological Sciences
Dick Weigel, HWC engineer
Gene Amlin, civil engineer.
Toni Cecil, Muncie Sanitary District Stormwater Compliance Inspector
Since the meeting Toni Cecil has been investigating residents’ drainage problems and a few are moving toward resolution.
Her contact information is 765-749-1114, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Delaware County in the 1990s and the City of Muncie in 2002 passed ordinances to control storm drainage and sediment with new development.
As a rule of thumb, development is not allowed to cause more water to leave the site than did before it was developed. This is achieved by designing drainage systems with detention and sizing release rates that conform to the pre-development rate.
During the planning process, any new or redevelopment requires drainage review.
In Muncie this is done by the City Engineer and based on the City Drainage Ordinance.
In Delaware County this is done by the County’s Consulting Engineers and based on the County Drainage Ordinance.
Who can help with my drainage issue?
• Delaware County Highway Department Engineer for areas beside or under county roads
• Indiana Department of Transportation for areas beside or under state highways;
• City Street Department for areas beside or under city streets;
• Muncie Sanitary District for infrastructure issues including storm drain inlets and buried stormwater pipes: Sewer Maintenance-phone 765-747-4852; Engineering-phone 765-747-4879
• Delaware County Surveyor (Tom Borchers, email@example.com) for “Legal Drain”issues. Visit the office at the Delaware County Building, 100 W. Main Street, phone 765-747-7806, to determine the status of the ditch in question. Legal drains can be open ditches or buried pipes and are maintained by the County Surveyor and Drainage Board. The Drainage Board meets the 3rd Monday of the month at 2:30 PM.
Before you call:
- Have the exact location ready. Know the name of the street, closest intersection and house numbers.
- Be sure you are calling the appropriate office.
- Find out if you need to be put on the agenda and when the meetings are held. Bring photos and diagrams.
- Once reported, complaints need to be investigated. These investigations are in addition to the normal work load of the office. Be patient and allow the office time to follow up. If you do not hear back, call again.
- Keep notes and records of calls and emails.
Please remember . . .
- During times of flooding, flooded homes take priority over flooded streets or yards.
- The person taking your call is rarely the person who has authority to make decisions.
- Be courteous, firm, and to the point.
- Find out if there is a plan for improvements in the area of concern. These are budgeted years in advance. Don’t expect instant upgrades to large areas. Factors that determine which city projects are undertaken include whether a project is already underway in the area; whether there are chronic drainage issues in the right of way; and whether regulations are driving a project.
- There is power in numbers. Talk to your neighbors. Organize.
- If not satisfied with the response you have received, find out who is the next level up. It might be the Mayor, County Commissioners, Sanitary District Board or Drainage Board.
- During very heavy rain events, infrastructure can be overwhelmed. Water can only leave a street as fast as the size of pipe allows.
- Consider getting flood insurance. You do not need to live in a flood zone to purchase it.Over 20% of claims are for buildings outside of flood zones.
What can you do to help your drainage?
• Install rain barrels and have downspouts take water away from house.
• Aging clay tiles from long ago are not regulated and are considered to be private issues.
They were never mapped and cannot be mapped now. New drainage and utilities have tracing wires to allow location. Land excavators must redirect or reconnect any clay tiles they find. This applies to do-it-yourselfers also.
• Storm drains do not go to the water treatment plant but go directly to the river. Drains can be clogged with grass clippings, leaves, and temporary sand or peat moss piles placed in the street.. Most people do not realize that under the storm drains in their streets is a catch basin that can fill up with debris, sediment, and leaves. Once the bottom fills up, stormwater has no place to go but back out into the street. The outlet pipe is small in diameter compared to the basin. The City of Muncie does have two Vactor trucks that vacuum the debris from the catch basins but cannot vacuum water from the streets.