Drainage Maintenance

The County Office of Highway Maintenance is responsible for a wide range of activities, part of which is pipe repair and replacement; ditch and channel maintenance; inlet and drainage pipe cleaning; stormwater management facility maintenance; and maintenance of various flood control facilities.

The following activities are specifically related to maintaining storm drainage and free flowing streams:

  • Floodplain maintenance (cutting, mowing and weeding of various sites);
  • Cleaning of streams and other stormwater maintenance sites (removal of debris, sediment and materials foreign to the natural vegetation);
  • Application of herbicides along improved channels and within pumping stations to aid in vegetation management; and
  • Cleaning County-owned and maintained earthen and concrete channels to remove obstructions, cut out heavy woody growth, and perform repairs.

Another important aspect of drainage maintenance is the inspection program. Each year more than 2,400 service requests are received from County residents. Inspectors respond within three working days, unless an emergency is reported, in which case the response is immediate. After high water events, especially if water overtops a road or bridge, an inspection is performed to determine if maintenance and repairs are warranted. A 24-hour emergency on-call program covers emergency service requests, and flood control and pumping station responses.

For questions regarding drainage maintenance, or to report a drainage problem, please contact the Office of Highway Maintenance Customer Service Office at (301) 499-8520. Further information can be found online at Storm Drainage.

Flood Control Facility Maintenance

In the 1940s, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers constructed the Anacostia Flood Control Project. To manage drainage on the land-side of the levees, the Corps installed four pumping stations. The County operates and maintains the pumping stations, and in coordination with the Corps, conducts an annual inspection of the levees, floodway channel and pumping stations. The County is responsible for maintenance, including mowing, vegetation control, debris removal, and stabilization of erosion.

In addition to maintaining the Anacostia flood control project, the County owns, manages, and maintains several non-Federal flood control projects:

  • Sligo Creek flood control levee, built by the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission in 1973;
  • Northeast Branch flood and erosion control channelization (above East-West Highway), built by the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission in 1976;
  • Henson Creek flood control levee and channelization near Morningside, built by the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission in 1972;
  • Oxon Run flood control levee near Green Valley Drive, built by the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission in 1982;
  • Oxon Run tributary floodwall, built by the County to protect homes and a school (completed 2004); and
  • Northeast Branch flood control levee near Allison Street, built by the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission.

Drainage Problems

One of the responsibilities of the Sustainability Services Division (SSD) is to respond to citizen complaints regarding drainage problems. Drainage complaints range in nature from property flooding to home flooding and include such concerns as erosion and problems associated with sump pump discharges. Groundwater-associated problems are investigated with remedial actions suggested for homeowners, along with the provision of a residential drainage manual. A

SSD investigates an average of 500 complaints per year, some of which evolve into corrective projects. Approximately 45 new drainage projects are initiated each year as a result of either homeowner complaints, referrals by other agencies, or requests by County Council Members.

If you are experiencing drainage problems, please call the (301) 883-5832 for assistance.

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