A primary activity and common citizen request is to maintain or improve public drainage and associated infrastructure, including catch basins, storm sewer pipes, major ditches, and regional ponds. Significant personnel and equipment are dedicated to this initiative.
A common citizen concern and primary role of the Department is drainage maintenance and improvements. The County holds many public drainage easements for the purpose of maintaining storm drainage infrastructure. Easements are designed to allow personnel and equipment to access, repair or maintain infrastructure. The Department discourages any encroachments into any drainage easements (public or private), as this may limit the Department’s ability to properly maintain stormwater infrastructure, potentially result in system failure.
Catch basins in public easements are inspected and cleaned, typically by a vacuum truck. Maintenance is routinely done on a cycle, but can also be done as needed so that the storm sewer system operates smoothly. Drainage ditches in public easements are inspected and cleaned as needed with a hand crew or mechanized equipment. Like catch basins and pipes, the drainage ditches are routinely cleaned on a cycle, but can also be done as needed so the conveyance operates smoothly. Some ditches may be maintained using equipment, while others may require the use of hand crews. In some cases, new drainage ditches may be constructed. There are several watershed areas in the County that are exclusively maintained by the Department as part of a special tax district.
Note that the Department has limitations in where it can operate. Public funds may not be used for private benefit. Also, federal and state environmental rules, primarily wetland regulations, limit the County’s ability to work in wet and swampy areas.