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Environmental Services
Drainage

Call 911 if there is a flooding emergency!

The County's primary responsibility is to maintain and repair drainage systems located within County drainage easements.  Occasionally, we receive requests for assistance with drainage systems outside of a County easement. We stand ready to provide the community with assistance or guidance for these problems as well.  

Help Minimize Drainage Problems

There are several things you can do to help prevent or minimize drainage problems.  These precautions keep the area open for proper Picture1.pngdrainage and also protect water quality.   Before and after a heavy rain, please remember to:
  • Check the gutters on your house and drainage ditches around your property. Blockages can cause runoff to pond in your yard, or cause damage to your house.
  • Rake or remove leaves, branches, roadside litter, weeds or any material that can block drains. Note: if you rake leaves from your yard before they can blow away, this will help prevent leaves from blocking the storm drains. Leaves are a primary cause of storm drain problems.
  • Check the inlets of street storm drains to be sure they are free from any materials such as leaves, tires, toys, automobile parts, branches, sale signs, etc.
  • Check the path of water flow during a storm and remove any debris. This will help prevent materials from flowing into storm drains.
  • Report any unauthorized access or pumping of illegal substances such as used motor oil into drainage systems.
  • Call this office at 703-792-7070 about assistance for problems beyond your control. We will review the situation and offer an appropriate course of action.
  • If you are proposing any improvements on your property, please consider the drainage impacts to neighboring properties. The installation of raised driveways, fences and landscape beds can cause block the natural flow of runoff, resulting in areas of standing water. If you extend your downspouts, consider the outlet points and the impact it may have on your neighbor's property. 
  • Property owners in easements are responsible for routine ground maintenance such as grass mowing and trash or debris removal.  You should prevent grass clippings or leaves from washing into the system.  
  • The County should be notified of any defects in or around the drainage system such as broken concrete, holes in the ground over pipes or around structures, and severe erosion.  Keep the area easily accessible in case repairs or maintenance is required.  Contact Environmental Services at 703-792-7070 if a County drainage easement is blocked, in need of repair, or if it does not seem to be functioning normally.
  • Keep the area free of litter. 
  • Do not place sheds or other structures over drainage easements without first getting permission from Public Works.
  • Be sure not to pour used motor oil, pet wastes or other debris into the system.
Most drainage systems consist of catch basins or yard inlets which intercept storm water runoff and carry the water off through a pipe system. These pipes direct the flow into ponds, streams, and rivers.  All storm water runoff in Prince William County eventually flows into the Chesapeake Bay.  Typically, homeowners will only see the portions of drainage structures located above the ground such as concrete inlets with openings either in the top or the sides and occasionally ends of pipes (known as outfalls) near drainage ditches. Once water enters these surface structures, it is carried underground through a system of pipes. 
 
Homeowners are responsible for maintaining drainage systems the homeowner installs on their private property, as well as man-made ponds, fountains, and generally any drainage improvements which are not located within County drainage easements.
 
Drainage Concerns outside Your Property 
 
clogged_basin.jpg
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) maintains all storm inlets located within a state maintained road's right-of-way. Typically, VDOT takes care of ditches and driveway culverts located along state maintained roadways. If you are unsure about the problem area, please call Environmental Services at 703-792-7070 and we can assist you. VDOT can be reached at 800-FOR-ROAD (800-367-7623).
 

The Prince William County Service Authority or Virginia American Water (in Dale City) is responsible for the sanitary sewer systems.   Prince William County Service Authority can be reached at 703-335-7900 and Virginia American Water can be reached at 703-590-4495.

Erosion and Sediment Concerns on Your Property

If you notice erosion issues around a storm drain easement or system, please report the problem to Environmental Services at 703-792-7070.  Bare or eroding soil can cause sediment and debris to wash into these drainage systems which then become clogged or blocked. Erosion and sediment concerns on private property outside of a County drainage easement is generally the responsibility of the property owner.
 
 
Guidelines for managing dead, dying or hazardous trees 
 
Private Property
It is the responsibility of the property owner to remove any trees that pose a threat.

County Property
Please call Environmental Services at 703-792-7070 to report trees that pose a threat. 

County maintained storm drain easement
Please report a fallen tree to Environmental Services at 703-792-7070.  Standing trees will not be removed.  Staff will remove a fallen tree ONLY if it impedes the flow of a stream or a storm water channel.  Only the portion of the tree that is impeding water flow will be removed. 

County maintained storm water management ponds
County staff will ONLY remove fallen trees that impact the control structure, impede the flow of water in the pond or damage the fence around the storm water management pond. 

If you see a tree that may fall or has fallen in the roadway, please contact the Virginia Department of Transportation at 
800-FOR-ROAD (800-367-7623).  
 
Storm Water Management Ponds located throughout the county

Storm water management ponds help to control storm water runoff from roadways and paved surfaces, as well as allow for debris and sediment to settle out.  Storm water ponds allow water to flow more naturally and slowly into local streams and creeks.   

Generally, the County maintains certain storm water management ponds in residential areas.  Staff ensures ponds are functioning properly and safely through regular inspections and maintenance.  Property owners are expected to keep the area in and around the pond mowed, free of trash / debris, and readily accessible for staff to enter the area to inspect the pond.  Owners should call the County at 703-792-7070.

Other ponds such as those in commercial areas are maintained by the property owner.  Owners are expected to ensure the pond is functioning properly and safely. The County will regularly inspect these ponds for compliance with state and federal requirements. 

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