Drainage, Flooding, Stormwater Infrastructure and Construction Runoff
What you need to know
To report drainage concerns including flooding of your home from a nearby creek or drainage system or erosion, degradation or other failure of a nearby stream channel or stormwater piping system, call the Stormwater main line at 919-996-3940 or email us with a description of your problem. A staff member will follow up with you to discuss over the phone or to schedule a site visit to review your drainage issues.
For dangerous flooding or life-threatening drainage emergencies, contact 911.
For flooding or drainage issues on State owned streets and rights-of-way, contact the NCDOT State Road Maintenance Division at 919-733-2191.
For water main, tap water or sanitary sewer issues please contact the City's Public Utilities Department at 919-996-3245.
Before You Report a Drainage Concern...
Evaluate the situation by asking the following questions:
- Does flooding only occur during abnormally heavy rains or almost every time it rains?
- Has something upstream of my property changed the drainage or runoff pattern?
- How can I help to maintain the drainage infrastructure or drainage-way on my property?
- Do I live in a FEMA Floodplain?
Knowing the answers prior to calling in a concern will help staff in evaluating your situation and directing you for assistance.
Drainage System Ownership and Maintenance Responsibility
Do you own the drainage system on your property or the City? Who is responsible for maintenance?
In the majority of cases, the owner of the property where a drainage system is located is legally responsible for its maintenance. This includes all features of the drainage system such as ditches, streams banks, and even buried pipes. The city only owns and maintains the stormwater drainage system within the public street/right-of-way, on property owned by the City or within a public drainage easement which has been accepted by the City.Ownership Guide
Managing Your Drainage
Drainage maintenance is often a shared responsibility. Many issues on private property can be resolved, alleviated, or reduced by the homeowner themselves performing routine maintenance activities.
Storm drain grates often get clogged with leaves, trash, mulch, grass clippings, and other debris. Likewise, open pipes can often get blocked with tree limbs and other debris as well. Help maintain the drain on your property by proactively keeping drainage ways clear and free of debris that can cause backups and flooding.
For any blockages within City streets or rights-of-way, contact Stormwater Maintenance group in the Transportation Field Services Division at 919-996-6446.
Drainage systems many not be changed in any way that blocks the free flow of water, disturbs a protected stream buffer, or is a violation of any other local, state, or federal rules, such as Floodplain Regulations. The City of Raleigh stormwater will not remove downed trees, clear cut vegetation within creeks or remove blockages along streams on private property. Before making changes to any drainage system the property owner is responsible for obtaining the necessary permits and approvals. Approvals and/or permits from any or all of the following regulatory agencies may apply:
- United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Raleigh Regional Office: 919-554-4884.
- North Carolina Department of Environment Quality (NCDEQ) and Division of Water Resources (NCDWQ) - Division of Water Quality (DWQ)
- 401 & Buffer Coordinator: 919-807-6360
- FEMA/NC Floodplain Mapping Program: 919-715-5711
If you experience frequent flooding on your property, consider purchasing flood insurance, or floodproofing your property by elevating or relocating HVAC units above flood levels, and moving sheds or other structures out of the path of flood waters.
How We Can Help
City of Raleigh Stormwater can offer assistance with fixing drainage issues through one or more of the following programs:
- CIP Program – The City’s Stormwater Capital Improvements Program is the primary provider for100% fully funded City drainage improvements projects, which address system wide drainage issues for problem areas, neighborhoods, drainage basins and communities experiencing both street and structural flooding.
- Drainage Assistance Program– This program provides assistance for property owners with drainage issues on private property. Drainage issues on private property can qualify for City cost-share assistance if there is structural flooding and/or severe erosion of a channel or stormwater piping system that exists and there is a “public contribution of water” (water from city streets, public rights-of-way, or city owned property). As with the CIP program, drainage issues are prioritized and are addressed according to fixing the worst problems first (not on a first come, first serve basis).
- Stormwater Maintenance (Transportation Field Services) – This program provides inspections and maintenance of catch basins, culverts and storm sewer within the city limits along the street and City right-of-way. Services also include street sweeping, bridge maintenance and seasonal loose leaf collection during the late fall and early winter.
- Technical assistance/advice – For issues that do not qualify under one of the three aforementioned programs and/or do not carry a “public contribution of water”, City Stormwater Drainage Technicians can offer limited technical advice for drainage issues that only involve private property drainage and do not qualify for City assistance (such as yard flooding or minor erosion).
- For more information or questions regarding flood hazard areas, floodplain development regulations, FEMA and the National Flood Insurance Program, or information on floodproofing your property. View Flood Hazards
- For water and sewer related questions, contact the City of Raleigh Public Utilities Department.
Flooding Issues in the Floodplain
Flooding can occur on your property for multiple reasons:
- During a large rain event or hurricane,
- When land is developed up-gradient of your property,
- If a stream is located on/or adjacent to your property and water flows out of the stream banks
The Stormwater Development Group manages the City’s floodplain program and requires compliance with City and Federal floodplain regulations. In addition this group, requires stormwater control measures throughout construction and usually post-construction to retain water for new residential and commercial development. If you are experiencing flooding on your property due to development please call or email the City of Raleigh construction inspectors.
Construction Sediment & Erosion Control
When a land disturbing activity occurs the developer is required to retain all sediment on their construction site. A site that contains 12,000 square feet or more of land disturbance requires a grading permit. On all permitted sites, construction inspectors will inspect the site at least once every two weeks to ensure the sites are maintaining their measures and all sediment remains on their site. If there is a construction site that is impacting your property please call or email the City of Raleigh construction inspectors.