Drainage and Flooding FAQs

Who is responsible for the maintenance of storm drains?
The Public Works Department maintains storm drains in public rights-of-way.  Property owners are responsible for maintaining storm drains and structures on private property.

My neighbor's runoff  floods my yard! Can the Town intervene for us?
Drainage problems stemming from private property are the responsibility of the property owner(s);  Town staff may be able to provide limited technical information. Private consulting engineers and contractors can analyze situations and suggest solutions. Significant drainage improvements could require a Town development permit obtained through the Planning Department. Where stormwater is flowing from construction sites onto private property, the Town will investigate to ensure that the construction activity is in compliance with the development permit and associated regulations.

The stream or ditch in my backyard is flooding more frequently and more severely. Will the Town address this flooding?  Will the Town dredge or clear the creek so it will drain faster? Can I dredge, divert, or pipe it?
Your "ditch" may in fact be either an ephemeral or an intermittent stream.  Existing laws and regulations do not allow streams to be filled in or measures taken to alter the conveyance of water. Any dredging or channel work may require one or more State/Federal permits, and does not always reduce flooding.  DO NOT ATTEMPT TO DREDGE OR RESHAPE A CREEK BY YOURSELF! IT IS AGAINST THE LAW without approved plans and permits. 

Note:You may be able to divert, re-direct or modify a stormwater conveyance subject to stipulations included with a Town development permit, which you may request through the Planning Department. The stormwater management provisions and requirements in the Town's Land Use Ordinance are intended to mitigate the effects of stormwater runoff resulting from new development and/or re-development.

What will the Town do if stormwater is ponding on a road or if a nearby culvert is clogged? 
Ponding on public streets and other drainage problems limited to public property and public rights-of-way (where many culverts are located) will be investigated by the Town or the NC Department of Transportation, depending on if it is a state road.  Please contact Town staff (see below) to report such drainage problems.

Who maintains stormwater management features and facilities?
Stormwater management features/facilities (conveyance as well as control measures, e.g., detention ponds, bioretention cells) located on public land and/or within dedicated and accepted public easements are maintained by the public body (e.g. the Town or State) with ownership and jurisdiction. Stormwater features/facilities that are not located within dedicated and accepted public easements or owned and operated by a public entity must be privately maintained.

What is a drainage easement?
It is a legally established and defined area that is reserved for the conveyance or management of drainage. You can find out if there is an easement on your property by doing a plat/deed search with the Orange County Register of Deeds. This can be done in person at The Register of Deeds office in the Orange County Courthouse located at 228 Churton St, Hillsborough, NC 27278 or online at https://rod.orangecountync.gov/orangenc/. Once you have determined the holder of the easement please contact them for direction on what is allowable.  Easements can either be held by a public (e.g., Town) or private entity.

A private drainage easement benefits a limited number of persons or a specific person.  A specific type of private drainage easement would be an HOA owned drainage easement, which allows the HOA to access a private lot to perform repairs or maintenance to private stormwater infrastructure.

The Town of Carrboro does not have the authority or ability to undertake any work on private property unless an easement has been offered to and accepted by the Town. This legal status must be verified by deed and recorded plat language. Most drainage easements in Carrboro are private. New development must include drainage easements per Town guidelines.

Who do I contact about flooding and drainage concerns?
You can fill out an online Flood Report at this link. or you can contact  Stormwater staff via the Stormwater Hotline at stormwater@townofcarrboro.org or 919-913-2999.

For more information....
There are more FAQs on drainage and flooding at this link.