Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Water enters my basement every time it rains. What actions can I take to correct the problem?
A: One of the first things to check is if the areaway drain outside your basement door is clogged. If drainage and waterproofing measures are in place and you are still having a significant problem, contact the Department of Environmental Resources at (301) 883-5832. Staff from our office will inspect your property to evaluate and determine the extent of the problem and if a drainage study is necessary.

Q: What’s the best way to filter stormwater in my yard?
A: There are many ways you can slow stormwater runoff down and let it soak into the soil. What works best for you will depend upon the size and layout of your home and property, the type of soil you have, how much you want to spend, and how much maintenance you’re willing to do. This Rainscapes webpage will help you choose between infiltration practices such as rain gardens, rain barrels and BayScaping.

Q: What is a rain garden?
A: A rain garden captures stormwater runoff and allows it to slowly soak into the ground. The water that washes off your roof, driveway and your lawn, called stormwater runoff, becomes contaminated by the everyday substances found around your home. In a rain garden, layers of soil and water-loving plants naturally filter and remove pollutants before they flow through the storm drain pipes and into our local streams. These gardens can absorb several times more rainwater than a lawn, while replenishing the groundwater supply and filtering pollutants. They are easy to maintain and, after the plants are well-established, rarely need watering. They also provide a habitat for birds and butterflies. To view our brochure, Rain Gardens: A Home-Grown Solution for Water Pollution, please visit our website.
For more rain garden resources, please visit the following links:

Q: What is a rain barrel?
A: A rain barrel captures water from your downspout and stores it. You can use it to water plants in your garden or simply let the water soak slowly into the ground during dry weather. There are many styles and types of rain barrels available. You can even build your own from a cleaned and recycled 55-gallon plastic drum. Listed below are some sources for purchasing rain barrels. (These links are provided for information only and are not to be construed as an endorsement.)

Q: What is BayScaping?
A: BayScaping is conservation landscaping that helps protect local streams that lead to the Chesapeake Bay. BayScaping saves money, takes less work, benefits the environment, and gives your yard year-round beauty. For more information on BayScaping and Conservation Landscaping, please visit the following web pages:

Q: Who do I call for information about flood prevention?
A: The Department of Environmental Resources administers and manages flood awareness and protection programs in the County, as an active participant in the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Community Rating System. For more information, please call our Environmental Services Division at (301) 883-5787.

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