Stormwater Ponds & Basins

What is a stormwater basin?

There are over 300 stormwater basins in the Village of Buffalo Grove and about 60% of them are privately owned. Many basin owners and operators are simply unaware of their maintenance responsibilities for a development’s pond or grassy field that sometimes floods after rains.  These are stormwater basins; depressions meant to hold stormwater for a short time while it is released at a slower rate.


Why do we need stormwater basins?

Buffalo Grove, before it really was Buffalo Grove, was comprised of fields, prairie, and trees. Turning the area into the homes and businesses we enjoy today took development over several decades. In the pre-development state, precipitation (rain, snow, etc.) would fall on much more porous surfaces: grasses, soil, trees, all these would soak up water and slow the leftover runoff into streams.

Water Balance_Ponds Website
After development, hard surfaces like roofs and streets keep the water from soaking into the ground: there is now more water moving off surfaces and faster than before development. In order to keep properties downstream of the development from taking on waves of runoff, the excess surface runoff is stored, temporarily, in stormwater basins which release it at a controlled rate to downstream properties.

I received a notice in the mail about stormwater basins – now what?

The Village of Buffalo Grove wants to work with property owners to take care of our stormwater infrastructure. Many organizations are simply unaware of their maintenance responsibilities including areas of concern to keep an eye on and simple maintenance tasks that can be performed. Many times, urgent and/or costly actions can be avoided by keeping up with very minor maintenance.

If you feel you are not the appropriate contact, please feel free to contact Public Works at 847-459-2545 so we can sort out a suitable contact for all our towns stormwater basins.

Anatomy of a stormwater basin
Stormwater Basin Retention Anatomy

Stormwater basins can vary based on a variety of factors, the main factor being whether it’s designed to hold water all the time (retention basins) or just part of the time after a storm (detention basins). Both types store stormwater coming in to be released at a slower rate exiting the basin.

Every basin is different, but we have included examples of two typical basins here. See some of the major components that should be inspected.

2a - Stormwater basin anatomy_detention
Am I required to perform an inspection?

You (or your organization) are required to ensure the free and uninterrupted flow of stormwater through your parcel. These stormwater basins have been specifically engineered to ensure the developments met strict stormwater standards when they were being constructed; that requirement does not stop when construction is over.

Engineering has developed an example inspection sheet to help guide you as you perform the inspection (including a fillable PDF):

Basin Inspection Checklist (Fillable)

Other Resources:

Lake County Stormwater Management Commission Stormwater Best Practices

EPA: BMP Guide for Homeowners 

The Lake County Stormwater Management Commission occasionally offers FREE Homeowners Association Workshops.
The last one offered was on Tuesday, September 20, 2022 and the recording can be found at this HERE. 
This event is for associations and property owners who are responsible for maintaining detention ponds, wetlands, and
natural areas. Grants and funding opportunities will also be discussed. By popular demand, check back in for the next
workshop in FALL 2024!