When land is converted from its natural state for urban development such as roads, homes, and shopping centers, many watertight or paved surfaces are created and rainfall cannot soak into the ground causing flooding. Swales help collect the runoff water, aka “stormwater”.
What is a Swale?
A swale is a sloped soil, grassy area located in between the edge of the road and the “right-of-way” line, which may be a sidewalk or front yard. The swale is used for draining excess water from the roadways. Swales are wider than they are deep allowing for rainwater to be spread slowly over a broader area. With the reduction of the water’s speed, the vegetation filters the rainwater and removes sediments like oil, pesticides and fertilizers. The water then soaks into the soil which results in a reduction of volume and contaminants.
How Can I Help?
- If planting a tree, place the tree behind your property line and not within the swales.
- If constructing a driveway, you will be required to have a driveway design that drains toward your swale.
- If paving your driveway, a permit is required to pave any portion of the swale. If you need to pave your swale access to your driveway, pave only the section needed and leave the remainder of the swale in a natural state.
- It is not recommended to continually park on your swale. This is to allow healthy grass to develop and to keep the soil from getting too compacted.
- Keep debris away from your swale.