Who’s Responsible for Keeping Drainage Ditches Clear?

Highway-Department01Two complaints commonly phoned into the Highway Department are: “There’s standing water in the ditch in front of my home,” and “That pipe under the driveway is full of leaves and dirt.” In areas of the Township that do not have curbs and gutters, ditch-and-culvert systems are in place to handle right-of-way and property drainage. They are designed to collect moisture from the pavement and elevated property and drain it into basins located at the lower end of the block.

To function as intended, ditch-and-culvert drainage systems depend on mutual Township and resident cooperation. The Township is responsible for maintaining the drainage pipe that crosses under the road at intersections, the basin that the pipe drains into, and the sewer pipes the basin drains into.

Residents with driveways in curb-and-gutter areas are responsible for the driveway apron, curb, and flagging. Those with a ditch drainage system are responsible for the apron and drainpipe (culvert) beneath it. This means keeping the pipe clear of obstruction so water will flow freely through it, and repairs to the driveway if the pipe heaves creating a bump in the apron surface.

Water pressure from a garden hose should be enough to clear a culvert. However, if dirt and debris have become packed, a contractor may be needed. Ditch maintenance by the homeowner includes raking leaves, mowing grass and removing debris.

Highway-Department02Homeowners should get in touch with the Highway Commissioner if they would like to install a twelve inch culvert pipe and have the culvert surveyed so the water flows properly.

Some ditch areas drain better than others due to the pitch or soil. Sandy loam soils drain better than clay soils. Pitch problems cannot always be corrected because of relative heights along the entire length of the ditch. Meanwhile, though drainage systems remove most excess rainwater, it is not unusual for a small amount of water to remain in a ditch until it is absorbed into the ground or evaporates. This is especially true in early spring or late fall when water tables are higher and/or the ground may be frozen. Regular cleaning of leaves and debris, which collect in drainage ditches, and culverts will assure that the system is ready to operate at maximum efficiency.

Branch Pick-Up Reminder:

  • Branch pick-up is offered from April through October weather permitting, on the fifteenth of each month. If the fifteenth falls on a holiday or weekend, branch pick-up will be scheduled for the first work day which follows.
  • Branches are picked up in residential areas on the streets maintained by the Township ONLY (unincorporated areas).
  • We ask you to limit your piles to storm and wind damaged branches and not to exceed two cubic yards. If a landscaping or tree service takes down a tree on your property, they are responsible for its disposal. Please also remember your waste disposal company will pick up branches that are bundled and tied.

What will be picked up:

  • Branches with a minimum of 2 feet in length and a maximum of 12 feet in length and less than 6 inches in diameter.

What will NOT be picked up:

  • Small hedge or pine clippings
  • Yard waste or brush in containers
  • Brush or branches with thorns
  • Stumps or tree roots

How to stack the brush:

  • Neatly stack the branches in one direction with the butt end toward the street.
  • No lumber, wire, rope, or other material may be included with branches.
  • Remember, once we have gone through an area, we will not return until the next scheduled date.

Driveway Permit Rules (August 2021)

Driveway Permit Application