Stormwater Management

What is Stormwater?

Stormwater is water that originates during rainfall and snow and ice melt. Several different things can happen to stormwater. It can soak into the soil (infiltrate), be taken up by plants, or be held on the surface until it evaporates. Stormwater runoff is the remainder of the precipitation that flows over the land surface. The addition of roads, driveways, parking lots, roofs, compacted lawns, and other impervious surfaces that prevent water from soaking into the ground greatly increases the runoff volume created during storms.

Why Is It Important to Manage Stormwater?

Stormwater management is essential to prevent flooding, erosion, and stream channel degradation. All of these can cause severe damages resulting in high costs and suffering in local communities. Stormwater management also aims to prevent water pollution. Stormwater picks up pollution, such as chemicals, bacteria, sediment, and trash, and is carried untreated by curbs, open drainage ways, and storm sewers directly into local streams and rivers. Learn more about preventing stormwater pollution.

Operation and Maintenance

The City of Dubuque currently manages 146 miles of storm sewer pipe, 6,032 stormwater intakes, 473 stormwater outlets, and 1,919 stormwater manholes. Typical maintenance activities include routine inspections, removal of sediment and debris, and the reconstruction or repair of pipes and structures. Services include the collection, conveyance, detention, treatment and release of stormwater; the reduction of hazard to property and life resulting from stormwater runoff and flooding; improvement in general health and welfare through reduction of undesirable stormwater conditions and flooding; and improvement to the water quality in the stormwater and surface water system.

The stormwater utility was created to ensure that appropriate resources are available to manage stormwater within the city. This includes the operation, maintenance, repair, replacement, and debt service for the construction of the stormwater drainage system and flood protection improvements.


Iowa Stormwater Management Manual

The Iowa Stormwater Management Manual provides new stormwater management strategies that compliment the conveyance and flood control efforts of the past. The manual provides information on hydrologic changes with urban development, uniform sizing criteria, low impact development alternatives and design guideline for practices that protect water quality and reduce stream corridor erosion.

Redirecting Water Away From Your Foundation

Managing stormwater in a way that is not detrimental to the environment and your neighbors’ properties can be challenging. This article from Storm Water Solutions features three ways homeowners can redirect water away from their foundation: French drains, gutter systems, and swales. Read 3 Ways to Redirect Water Away from Your Foundation.


Stormwater Hotline Available 24/7. Call (563) 690-6200. 

The City's Stormwater Hotline is available 24/7 for anyone who wishes to make a report of potential stormwater pollution. Help prosecute violators by taking a picture of the illicit activity taking place. If there is no answer, please leave a message and someone will return your call as soon as possible. In case of emergency, call dispatch at (563) 589-4415.