Council explores Champaign’s option for future basin maintenance

By Rachel Bass

Champaign City Council members agreed Tuesday night to further explore the city’s role in the maintenance of private detention basins for developers and lake owner associations.

Detention basins are bowl-shaped areas along stormwater systems that protect land from heavy water flow. Basins are intended to collect excess water, hold it for a couple of hours and slowly drain it into pipe systems.

Assistant City Engineer W. Roland White and Public Works Director Craig Rost introduced the issue to the Council and explained that detention basins were required by law in subdivisions to protect homes from flooding. Because maintenance costs can be high and city runoff contributes to water accumulation in the basins, White said he and Rost requested the Council consider offering aid.

White said the issue of detention basins had other components, including a lack of standard guidelines for homeowners regarding basins on their property. For this reason, some homeowners were unaware of their responsibility to maintain their basins, he said.

Developers and land owners in Champaign have generally handled basin maintenance in the past, White said. He and Rost also researched other Illinois communities, including Urbana, Danville, Bloomington, Normal and Peoria. They concluded that the majority of those communities considered basin maintenance a private affair, White said

The Council’s decision to further look into private basin maintenance would allow for a more in-depth study of grants and edge treatments for the basins and pipes while providing basic guidelines, White said.