Stormwater Best Management
Stormwater is just as it sounds, it is water from a storm. Rain, hail and snow are all considered stormwater. Once precipitation makes landfall, it can take a couple different routes. In a natural landscape without development, it can either soak into the soil or be guided into bodies of water through storm drains. In an urban setting, stormwater falls on impervious surfaces such as roads, sidewalks or parking lots and is not soaked into the ground. It instead becomes runoff. If not treated and managed properly, runoff can pose a risk to our health and safety, because pollutants tend to accumulate on surfaces that don't absorb water well.
Through the Stormwater Best Management Practices Program, the City of Des Moines provides recommendations residents can implement to help enhance the water quality of stormwater runoff and/or decrease the amount of stormwater runoff that enters the stormwater drainage system.
With the program, the City will reimburse 50% of the cost (up to $2,000) to the property owners who meet the requirements of the program as listed in the key elements below. The reimbursement for approved work will be by direct payment to the property owner in the amount of the qualifying work.
The work must have been performed and completed between the dates of January 1, 2017, and June 30, 2023, to be eligible for the subsidy program.
For those living outside the City of Des Moines, follow Polk Soil and Water Conservation District's #RainCampaign for information about stormwater management programs available across the metro area. Additional information can also be found through the Iowa Stormwater Education Partnership.
Help your property reduce flood risk for your neighbors
What Can You Do to Prevent Stormwater Pollution?
- Redirect Roof Drains: Make sure the drains coming off your roof are directed into nearby gardens or other vegetated areas, not the sanitary sewer.
- Use Phosphorous-Free Fertilizer: Purchasing and using phosphorus-free fertilizer helps reduce algae blooms as it is not a needed nutrient for central Iowa lawns. Phosphorus is the middle number displayed on fertilizer bags. (For example, 20-0-20).
- Clean Up Pet Waste: Clean up pet waste to prevent excess nutrients and harmful bacteria from entering water bodies.
- Use Best Management Practices: The City of Des Moines will reimburse property owners 50% of the cost (up to $2,000) for qualified work that reduces stormwater runoff.
Best Management Practices
Rain BarrelsInstalling a rain barrel is a relatively inexpensive process. The rain barrel connects to the downspout of any gutter system and collects rain water. This harvested rain water may be used for watering yards, tending to gardens or other household needs.
Rain GardensRain gardens capture runoff from a variety of impervious surfaces in a depression or shallow bowl. Runoff captured by a rain garden is temporarily ponded, and is allowed to soak into the soil rather than running into storm drains. These features are suitable for yards and other small drainage areas where drain spouts can be redirected.
Bioretention CellsBioretention cells have an engineered and constructed sub-grade to ensure adequate percolation and infiltration of captured runoff. These features are best placed near impervious services to reduce water pollution and stabilize stream flows.
Permeable PaversBecause roads, parking lots and driveways account for more than 60 percent of impervious surfaces in urban areas, permeable pavement systems can go a long way to reduce the amount of runoff entering the storm sewer system.
Soil Quality RestorationSoil quality restoration involves reducing soil compaction. This practice will increase organic matter, promote infiltration and soil quality, while decreasing the need for watering and chemical treatment of lawns.
Streambank StabilizationStreambank stabilization is a process in which streambanks are reconstructed or armored to reduce streambank erosion and subsequent sediment flows.
Method of Reimbursement
Method of Reimbursement:
The City of Des Moines will reimburse property owners 50% of the cost (up to $2,000) for qualified work that reduces stormwater runoff.
Terms for Eligibility
- Stormwater Best Management Practices (BMP) shall meet design criteria in the Iowa Storm Water Management Manual or other applicable design guidance approved by the Director of Public Works.
- Stormwater BMPs required for subdivisions and new developments are not eligible for rebate.
- Stormwater BMPs for which the property owner seeks reimbursement from other sources of City funding are not eligible for rebate.
- Must be one of the improvements (Best Management Practices) listed as qualifying work above.
- Work cannot proceed until the application has been pre-approved by City.
- After work is completed, additional documentation will be required including receipts or itemized contractor's invoice, proof of payment, and W-9 federal tax form.
- Subsidy will be for 50% of the reasonable total cost of materials and labor up to $2,000.
- The account for the stormwater management fee charges on the property must be current as to the payments at the time of application.
- Application must be received by June 1, 2023.
- Rebate program eligibility expires on June 30, 2023.
- A property that has received the maximum rebate amount is not eligible for additional rebates under this program, regardless of a change in ownership or use, until at least 10 years have passed since issuance of the prior rebate.
- A Stormwater Best Management Practices Rebate Application must be completed.
To comply with municipal and federal regulations, the City is required to have a Stormwater Management Program.
A few of the requirements include:
- Regulating stormwater that enters the municipal storm sewer system
- Reducing top soil loss from construction sites
- Inspecting storm drain outlets for unwanted discharges
- Providing public education on stormwater and water quality