Stormwater Operations are responsible for the maintenance of public
ditches and drainpipes citywide. Private drainage systems are the
responsibility of the property owner. Drainage systems are considered
public if they receive runoff from public rights of way or property.
Operations take on two key roles:
Facility and Ditch
Ditch maintenance consists of cutting vegetation and removing
debris/sediment that impedes the natural flow of water. If
weather permits, ditch crews will cut public ditches 3 times per
year to maintain the flow line. Residents are responsible for
maintaining the banks of ditches that are adjacent to or run
through their property.
Residents are reminded that it is illegal to dump leaves, grass
clippings, and debris into the drainage system and ditches.
Ditches should never be burned. The vegetation in ditches
provides stability to the banks and natural filtration of water.
Crews regularly clean catch basins, drop inlets and outfalls to
remove debris and blockages. Crews can also flush sediment from
clogged pipes. A vacuum truck is used to pump high-pressure
water through drainpipes.
Fall Stormwater Tip
When Autumn (Fall) arrives and it is time to
rake the leaves, here is what you can do to help
prevent stormwater runoff, a major pollutant to
our rivers, lakes and the Chesapeake Bay.
Do not rake leaves into ditches, sweep them down
storm drains, gutters or curbing. Doing so will
cause blockages and lead to flooding.
Do not burn leaves in ditches. Burning in
ditches causes erosion and allows pollution to
wash downstream to our waterways. Rake leaves
and put them out in clear plastic bags at the
curbside for pickup, or mulch and compost them
for use in your garden.
REMEMBER THAT ONLY RAINWATER GOES DOWN OUR STORM
City staff receives regular weather reports and
updates prior to severe weather.
When the threat of severe weather arrives,
Stormwater Management Operations crews work
citywide to remove debris from blocking
outfalls; remove blockages from backyard and
roadside ditches to ensure water flow; and clean
debris from around and inside storm drains to
keep street from flooding.
When the threat of severe weather subsides,
Stormwater Management Operations crews work
citywide assisting in the removal of fallen
trees from roadways; help block of roads
subjected to fallen wires; and repeat the
activities taken prior to the storm.
Facility and Ditch Repair
Construction crews respond to reports of cave-ins on storm
drainpipes and falling ditch banks throughout the City. Crews
are also involved in small drainage projects.
A cave-in associated with a storm drainpipe can
be caused by a failure at the pipe joint or in
the pipe itself. Cave-ins also occur at drainage
structures such as catch basin, drop inlets or
storm drain manholes. Construction crew
supervisors investigate all reports of storm
drain cave-ins. If necessary, crews will be
instructed to place barricades or fill in the
voided area with dirt, stone or asphalt
depending on the surrounding area to make it
“safe”. Subsequent repairs will be either
scheduled for crews in-house or tagged for
Note that private systems such as those in
apartment complexes, shopping centers, private
parking lots, etc are the responsibility of the
property owner. If a driveway pipe is associated
only with a driveway and the entire ditch is not
piped, then any cave-in on this pipe belongs to
the property owner.
Minor Bank and
Construction crews perform numerous repairs on
storm drain structures such as catch basins,
drop inlets and manholes. Crews also inspect and
repair the banks of public ditches to prevent
blockages and subsequent ditch failure.
Construction crews assist in identifying,
planning and implementing various maintenance
projects to alleviate “hot spots” citywide. This
work is typically performed through contractual
services. Initiatives also include Citywide
Ditch and Outfall Maintenance Program and annual
Storm Drain Rehabilitation projects.
Did You Know?
In FY 05-06,
Maintenance Crews responded to 533 customer
Maintenance crews cleaned approximately 35 miles
of storm drainpipe; cleaned over 198 miles
roadside and backyard ditches; removed 314
blockages from public ditches; and serviced 13,
934 catch basins/drop inlets. Crews cleaned 36
outfall pipes every 2 weeks and 51 outfall pipes
Maintenance crews disposed of 13,765 truck loads
of debris at the City landfill.
Construction crews performed 325 safe ups in the
street and 488 in the dirt. They repaired 187
cave-ins and 41 drainage structures.
Contractually, Public Works
was responsible for over 400 storm drain cave-in
repairs at over 150 locations; over 2500 linear
feet of storm drainpipe was cleaned and video
inspected; and; over 1500 linear feet of liner
repair were performed through storm drain
More than 10 Maintenance
Projects were completed. Over 10 additional “hot
spots” were identified as potential future