Operations & Maintenance

The Stormwater Operations division is 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 right of ways or property. Operations take on two key roles:

Facility & Ditch Maintenance

Ditch maintenance consists of cutting vegetation and removing debris/sediment that blocks 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 border or run through their property. Below is a stormwater crew cleaning a ditch line.

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 stormwater. Crews regularly clean catch basins, drop inlets and outfalls to remove debris and blockages. An example of material removed from ditches with the help of Mosquito Control:

Crews can also flush sediment from clogged pipes. A vacuum truck is used to pump high-pressure water through drainpipes.

Facility & Ditch Repair

Construction crews respond to reports of cave-ins on storm drainpipes and failing ditch banks throughout the City. Crews are also involved in small drainage projects.


Report A Cave-In through our Citizen Concern / Request Form.

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 basins, 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 either be scheduled for crews in-house or tagged for contractual repair.

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 & Structure Repair

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.

Maintenance Projects

Construction crews assist in identifying, planning and performing various maintenance projects to improve "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.

Ditch Maintenance Before with many trees
Ditch Maintenance During with smoke and workers
Ditch Maintenance After the ditch has been cleared of growth