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Who Is Responsible For Maintaining Drainage Ditches?

Easements and drainage ditches are the homeowners responsibility if on their property.

Homeowners have so many responsibilities that come with owning a home that adding more to the plate seems unbearable. Be sure to understand all of your municipal codes before you purchase or build your new home. Added duties can often lead to more expenses. Although the added maintenance needs aren’t necessarily cumbersome, it still becomes an added maintenance need. With that said, if your home has drainage ditches on your private property, you will want to ask your local municipality what the homeowner’s expectations are. Who is responsible for maintaining drainage ditches? It all depends on the type of drainage ditches on the property that needs maintenance.

Let’s take a look below at some more details regarding drainage ditches.

A drainage culver under a driveway for a home is the responsibility of the homeowner.

Storm Water Systems

These systems are in place to manage the runoff from rainfall. If we did not have these, we would have issues with flooding. The water management districts, especially here in Florida, are in charge of permitting these systems when constructing new developments.

Then once these housing developments are complete, maintaining the system becomes the responsibility of the homeowners association or the owner. Other times, it may be the city or county. This is when you will need to find out what the requirements are where your property is located. However, the flow of stormwater is the responsibility of everyone.

Types of Drainage Facilities

There are various types of drainage facilities. These are:

  • Ditches and channels that are open and either paved or unpaved
  • Gutters
  • Underdrains
  • Culverts
  • Drop Inlets
  • Catch basins
  • Storm sewer pipes
  • Manholes
  • Stormwater management facilities

Drainage Ditches: Yards and Roadways

If you have a drainage ditch that runs through your private property, you, the property owner are responsible for maintaining it. This means cleaning out excess leaves and debris so the water can run through. Another way to keep them clean is to make sure that grass clippings from the lawn mower are not ending up in the drainage ditch.

These grass clippings should be put in a garbage can that is for just the yard waste and put by the curb on trash day. If these clippings accumulate in the drainage ditch, they will impede the flow of water and cause drainage issues and flooding. Lastly, don’t allow pollutants, fertilizers, or pet waste into the drainage system.

Roadway Drainage Ditch

The roadway drainage ditch maintenance is the responsibility of the city. The drainage of stormwater on the roadway helps keeps the roadways safe. It also helps with making sure there is no standing water that can cause cars to hydroplane. Poor drainage can also lead to the deterioration of the roadway.

The city or state will also take care of the drainage ditches that are on state-operated roadways or state-owned right-of-way. Additionally, they are responsible for the drainage easements.

Maintaining Drainage Facilities on Roads

When the city is in charge of maintaining the drainage facilities, they have several things they do to keep the water flowing.

These are:

  • Cleaning out the storm sewer pipes and culverts
  • Checking the open channels, gutters, and ditches for soil buildup and debris and removing it.
  • Cleaning the catch basins and inlets
  • Conducting annual inspections on the stormwater facilities and correcting anything that needs to be fixed
  • Replacing storm sewer pipes and culverts that may be damaged or deficient.

What if You Have Standing Water in the Ditch?

Try the ideas above and if that still does not work, check to see if anything is blocking your drain pipes or inlets. If that doesn’t work, you will need to call the customer service number for the City Public Works for assistance.

Other Recommended Maintenance

Now that you know who is responsible for maintaining drainage ditches, let’s look at a few other maintenance areas. One of those is clearing roots from drain pipes. This can be done by using copper sulfate, rock salt, auger, hydro-jetting, rerouting, or repair.

Next, just like you had to learn about drainage ditches, it is important to know about sewer lines. The homeowner is responsible for the ones on their property.  While the city is responsible for the ones that start at the main underground sewer pipe and are past your property boundaries.

Lastly, if you are looking to buy a new home, keep in mind a few things. There can be plumbing problems in old homes because of pipes not being up to code because of lead, galvanized, and polybutylene. Also, there are other issues with pipe bellies and sewer line issues.

Drainage ditches or culver's in the roadway are the responsibility of the municipality.

When Do I Call A Professional?

If you have questions about who is responsible for maintaining drainage ditches and are unsure if it is your responsibility, you can often contact your city’s HOA or Public Works department. Also, if your drainage ditch is backing up and you are unsure how to get the water flowing again, contact the Public Works department for assistance. The last thing you want is flooding in the yard.


Responsibility for maintaining drainage ditches will depend on the location of the ditch. As we talked about above, running through the property is the responsibility of the homeowner or the HOA, while through the roads in the city. It is important to keep the water flowing, no matter where the drainage ditch is located and everyone should help each other out and make sure it does not clog or back up. Call Waypoint Property Inspection to inspect your home in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Lakeland, Orlando, Palm Beach, Ft. Lauderdale, and surrounding areas.