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Drainage System Maintenance

Keep Waterways Clear

When human-made or natural debris is allowed to accumulate, it can create a dam in a channel or fill needed storage areas. Although a properly maintained channel can carry runoff from most small storms, a blocked or dammed channel can cause more frequent overbank flooding, unexpected erosion, and sedimentation. Similarly, a lack of maintenance can result in detention or retention basins being filled with sediment or debris. If these basins are already full of sediment or debris, they cannot store water and flooding can result because the drainage system cannot do its job.

Things that you can do:

  • Check your downspout—drain away from the house.
  • Protect our natural resources and protect yourself from flooding due to drain blockage by cleaning out ditches and culverts around your home.  Keeping ditches clean is a year-round activity, but especially after a storm.
  • Remember only rain goes down the drain.
  • Report culvert blockage or drainage issue for NCDOT roads.


Remember that no dumping is permitted in waterways.

North Carolina General Statute – No polluting, obstructing waterways.If any person, firm, or corporation shall fell any tree, or put any obstruction, except for the purposes of utilizing water as a motive power, in any branch, creek, stream, or other natural passage for water, whereby the natural flow of water through such passage is lessened or retarded, or whereby the navigation of such stream may be impeded, delayed, or prevented, the person, firm, or corporation so offending shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor. In addition to any fine or imprisonment imposed, the court may, in its discretion, order the person, firm, or corporation so offending to remove the obstruction and restore the affected waterway to an undisturbed condition, or allow authorized employees of the enforcing agency to enter upon the property and accomplish the removal of the obstruction and the restoration of the waterway to an undisturbed condition, in which case the costs of the removal and restoration shall be paid to the enforcing agency by the offending party. Nothing in this section shall prevent the erection of fish dams or hedges across any stream which do not extend across more than two thirds of its width at the point of obstruction. If the fish dams or hedges extend more than two thirds of the width of any stream, the said penalties shall attach. This section may be enforced by marine fisheries inspectors and wildlife protectors. Within the bounds of any county or municipality, this section may also be enforced by any law enforcement officer having territorial jurisdiction, or by the county engineer. This section may also be enforced by specially commissioned forest law-enforcement officers of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for offenses occurring in woodlands. For purposes of this section, the term “woodlands” means all forested areas, including swamp and timber lands, cutover lands, and second-growth stands in previously cultivated sites.  (1872-3, c. 107, ss. 1, 2; Code, s. 1123; Rev., s. 3559; C.S., s. 7377; 1975, c. 509; 1977, c. 771, s. 4; 1979, c. 493, s. 1; 1987, c. 641, s. 12; 1989, c. 727, s. 218(19); 1991, c. 152, s. 1; 1993, c. 539, s. 581; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c); 1997-443, s. 11A.119(a); 2013-155, s. 3.)

  • § 77-13.  Obstructing streams a misdemeanor.
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