Driveway Culvert Maintenance

Culvert-ResponsibilityThere are generally speaking two maitypes of culverts, Roadway and Driveway. The type of culvert will determine who is responsible for the maintenance and repair.

Roadway Culvert- Pipe placed under a roadway to carry drainage or a stream. If the road is public, the responsibility is with the Town (Public Works) or NCDOT. If the road is private then the culvert is the responsibility of the land owner (i.e.: Homeowner's Association, etc.).

Properties with roadside swales often have driveway culverts which are pipes that convey stormwater under the driveway apron within the right-of-way to convey runoff. Maintenance of these pipes and adjacent areas is generally the responsibility of the property owner.

It is recommended that homeowner's inspect and clean their driveway culverts regularly, e.g., quarterly.  It is also advisable to check your pipe prior to big storms and anytime you witness standing water in the swale or the pipe is 20% or more full.

Maintaining your driveway culvert will extend the life of the pipe and ensure that stormwater can properly travel through the drainage system and avoid issues with standing water and urban flooding.

If your culvert also carries a stream or creek please contact the Stormwater Division for additional assistance to ensure that maintenance is carried out properly. Waterways are protected under federal law.

How to Perform Regular Driveway Culvert Maintenance:

  • Use a flashlight to inspect the length of your pipe from both ends.
  • Use a shrub rake, shovel, or other tool to remove leaves, debris, gravel and dirt from the pipe, being careful not to damage the pipe or joints.
  • Check for offset or open joints in the pipe.
  • Check for signs of damage including roots and cracks.
  • Repair any damages.
  • Dispose of material away from stormwater runoff flow to keep it from reentering the swale and pipe.
  • If you require technical advice or have any questions about maintaining your driveway culvert,  please contact the Stormwater Division at 919-913-2999.

If you choose to hire a professional to perform maintenance and/or repairs on your culvert it is your responsibility to ensure that they obtain the proper permits/permissions for the work and follow all required procedures. Ensure that steps are taken to protect streams and drainage pathways from sediment and damage. One or more of the following may be required:

Information or assistance may be available from Stormwater Division staff about the cause of the problem and possible solutions; however, staff cannot recommend a particular contractor or undertake any work within private property.

All swales and culverts must meet certain specifications based. Please contact the Stormwater Division at 919-913-2999 or before you make any changes to ditches or culverts to ensure the changes meet all requirements and regulations.