Swale Maintenance

Swale Appeal

The City of North Miami requests your help in maintaining our swales. Citywide swales are generally defined as the strip of land either in front of, or beside, your homes adjacent to the roadway. Swales are important for drainage of local streets,  environmental water quality, and neighborhood appearance.

Swale Purpose

Storm water runoff from roadways and driveways is drained into the natural swales provided within the right of way. The swales act as conduits to convey excess water to drains, and they also allow excess water to percolate and to filter through existing soil. Natural swales should be maintained as grassy areas or as natural ground. Keeping our swales in their approved states adds to the aesthetic beauty of neighborhoods. When swales are altered by asphalt, additional fill, or elevated sod, traffic, environmental, and aesthetic concerns are created. Runoff from storm water may collect and may become stagnate, or it may collect pollutants such as oil, pesticides, and fertilizers. Additionally, roadways are quickly deteriorated by excess or accumulated storm water via hydrostatic pressure as well as other conditions. Roadways which are engineered to last 15 years will be compromised, costing taxpayers added expense for maintenance and repair.

Storm water runoff ultimately discharges to the Biscayne Bay via our canals, lakes, and rivers. Runoff is one of the primary sources of water pollution. Percolation is the process whereby the water filters through the earth and impurities are removed helping the elimination of pollutants before the water ends up in our local drainage canal system. Federal and state legislation has been enacted requiring cities to develop management programs  to deal with storm water concerns. Properly maintaining swales will help satisfy these requirements while protecting the Biscayne Canal, Arch Creek Canal and Biscayne Bay.

Working Toward Solutions

The City of North Miami is aware that residents may need to make certain changes to their swales. We would like to provide some guidelines that will enable you to protect our neighborhoods and environment.


Make driveway designs that allow water runoff to drain through property swales and not onto adjacent driving surfaces.


To allow healthy grass to develop and to keep the soil loose for water percolation in the ground, avoid continual parking of vehicles within swales.


Maintain your swale free of limbs, vegetation, grass cuttings, and leaves. Properly dispose of debris and oil materials rather than leave them within your swale.

Be An Example

Be a positive role model; be the example in your neighborhood. If you maintain your swale, your neighbors might follow your example. Remember, healthy swales mean a healthy environment for you and all of our children, as well as a tax savings from the reduction in road repairs. Inappropriate changes or improper maintenance will result in negative effects within our swales and will compound problems.