Storm Water Drainage

Fast-moving water has the power to shape anything it touches. Roofs, roads and sidewalks are all hard surfaces that increase how fast storm water moves, potentially leading to more erosion and flooding that can damage homes and property or make travel difficult.

Because our infrastructure carries runoff away from buildings and roads to nearby streams, our storm water management program focuses on controlling how storm water runoff moves across Northern Kentucky. When not properly controlling, storm water runoff can damage property, threaten public health and safety, and harm local wildlife.

SD1’s Responsibility


Agreements enacted between SD1 and Co-Permittees require SD1 to maintain assets at the same level of service as when they were transferred. There is no mandate to expand storm water infrastructure throughout the system to meet current storm water standards, as space and financial limitations would make this impossible.

Because of our region’s development history and the spatial and financial realities associated with storm water management, regional flooding issues can only be mitigated – they can never be fully eliminated. Just like bridges have weight limits, our region’s storm water system – even after improvements have been made – cannot handle an unlimited amount of storm water flow.

The goal of the storm water utility is to mitigate storm water runoff issues as much as possible while keeping the costs associated with storm water management reasonable for all customers.

Storm Water Priority Matrix


Although SD1 is not obligated to expand pipes to meet current standards, we strive to mitigate the highest priority flooding issues across the region based on resource availability. In order to achieve this goal, SD1 has developed a Storm Water Priority Matrix that prioritizes all storm-water-related issues SD1 is aware of throughout the region. 

This is done by ranking potential projects based on risk to public health, property damage and environmental impact. Once projects are prioritized, the SD1 Board determines which projects, if any, will be funded through its annual budgeting process.

Scope of the Storm Water Utility


In 2018, we created a Scope of the Storm Water Utility that establishes level of service standards for projects that have been identified through the prioritization process. In general, SD1 strives to meet the same standards as new development.

When new development standards cannot be met because of space or financial limitations, the Scope of the Storm Water Utility allows for a level of service to improve the problem to the maximum extent possible.

Storm Water Assistance Programs


Co-Permittees often have specific storm water issues that are important to their municipality but do not rise high enough on the regional Storm Water Priority Matrix to warrant SD1 funding. For these cases, SD1 offers several storm water assistance programs to help mitigate their specific storm water-related issues.

Backup Assistance Program


Our region’s storm water system is complex and dynamic, and even after improvements have been made it cannot handle an unlimited amount of storm water runoff. When the system is overwhelmed by heavy rainfall, overland flooding or the risk of sanitary sewer backups may still exist in some areas.

Given these realities and limitations of the region’s storm water program, SD1 has established a Backup Assistance Program to bring immediate relief to property owners who face sanitary sewer backups caused by significant rain events.

SD1 strives to eliminate all sanitary sewer backups, and highly recommends all customers experiencing backup issues to contact SD1 immediately to apply for funding to install a backflow prevention device. Property owners should also consult their insurers to determine the proper type of coverage to protect their assets.