Rear Yard Drainage


The established areas of town are more difficult to assist with drainage problems. In the older blocks of town, it is likely that proper grade was never established during development. Correcting drainage problems is virtually impossible without regrading yards throughout the block; however, regrading entire blocks is not feasible. Other options to correct drainage include construction of a drainage swale through the block or affected drainage area, or constructing catch basins in the low spots. Because these improvements are made on private property, property owners in the affected drainage area are assessed the cost to make the improvements.

The established procedure is as follows:

  • Complaint of drainage problem is received in engineering office.
  • Survey crew conducts preliminary survey and makes recommendation to City Engineer for correction of drainage problem.
  • City Engineer reviews recommendations by survey crew and determines the best method to correct the drainage problem. The property owners affected by the drainage problem will receive mailed notice of the procedures to be followed for correction of a yard drainage problem, the estimated cost to make the corrections, and will be informed that the costs will be assessed against the benefited properties. At this time, residents will also receive and be asked to sign a petition. The petition indicates that the property owner will assume responsibility for his share of the costs associated with correction of the drainage problem.
  • If all property owners sign the petitions, the project will proceed following approval of the City Council and the Costs will be assessed against the benefited properties.
  • If a minimum of 35 percent of property owners sign petitions, a public hearing will be held at a subsequent Council meeting (pursuant to Minnesota Statutes Section 429). All property owners will be given the opportunity to discuss the project with the City Council. After the public hearing, the City Council will either order the work completed or dismiss the project.
  • If the project is dismissed, the City Council will pass a resolution indicating that the project has been dismissed. Letters with copies of the resolution will be mailed to all affected property owners.
  • If the project has been dismissed and the neighborhood continues to request assistance from the City in resolving the drainage problem, a fee will be charged to the property owner/neighborhood requesting assistance. The fee will be charged on the hourly rates, including wage plus additive, for each employee involved in the project, multiplied by the total number of hours spent on the project.
  • After a period of 5 years has elapsed since dismissal of the project by the City Council, the City Engineer, when requested by a property owner, shall resurvey the area at no cost to determine if the project should once again be brought to the City Council for review.
  • The property owners also have the option to hire a private consultant; however, all findings must be reviewed by the City Engineer.
  • If the project is ordered in by the City Council, the project will proceed and the costs assessed against the benefited area.
  • Fine grading of the lawns along the rear lot lines will not be included under the City contract. The lawn work could either be performed as a neighborhood project where the neighborhood hires the lawn contractor, on a per lot basis; however, the City will not be involved in the fine grading, and these costs will not be special assessed.

If you have any questions, please contact the Moorhead Engineering Department at (218) 299-5390.