FAQs: Storm Drainage and Stormwater Management

For questions on stormwater maintenance or inspections, please see Stormwater Maintenance and Inspections FAQs.


What is storm drainage?

It is a system of publicly and privately maintained pipes, structures, channels and underground pipes that carry stormwater (rain water) to ponds, lakes, streams and rivers.

Who maintains the storm drainage system?

The Virginia Department of Transportation (1-800-FOR-ROAD (367-7623), TTY 711) maintains the storm drainage system along and under roads in the public street right-of-way. Storm drains in county easements are maintained by the Maintenance & Stormwater Management Division (703-877-2800, TTY 711). However, the county's maintenance responsibilities are for underground storm pipes, storm structures and drainage channels that serve the general community that are within storm drainage easements. Floodplain easements, which restrict certain building and other practices, do not convey any maintenance responsibilities to the county. Storm drains outside county easements or state rights-of-way are the property owner's maintenance responsibility. The Maintenance & Stormwater Management Division can be contacted to determine maintenance responsibility.

Who maintains the part of the storm drainage system under my driveway?

Access features, such as driveways, fair weather crossings and associated pipes or culverts under driveways, are the maintenance responsibilities of the property owner, even if a storm drainage easement exists around these features.

Are fences allowed in storm drainage easements?

Yes, as long as the fence does not interfere with the flow of drainage, redirect drainage to a neighboring property or damage underground pipes. In addition, permanent structures such as footings, brick piers or columns are not allowed in storm drainage easements. For further information about fences in easements, contact the Maintenance & Stormwater Management Division (703-877-2800, TTY 711). For information about zoning requirements for fences, contact the Zoning Permit Review Branch (703-222-1082, TTY).

Can swimming pools be drained into storm drains?

Swimming pool water can have a negative effect on the environment and on your neighbor's property. Before pumping water from a swimming pool, the water should not contain any chlorine, the pH should be neutral and the discharged water should not be directed to your neighbor's yard. More information can be found on the Proper Discharge of Swimming Pool Water website or by contacting the Stormwater Planning Division at 703-324-5500, TTY 711. Commercial swimming pool operators should contact the Health Department at 703-246-2300, TTY 711.

What are stormwater management facilities?

Stormwater management facilities are put in place to reduce the amount or quantity of storm runoff and retain the water to provide time for most pollutants to settle in a holding area where they will not be transported to area streams and waterways. For additional information, contact the contact the Maintenance & Stormwater Management Division (703-877-2800, TTY 711).

Who maintains stormwater management facilities in the county?

The Virginia Department of Transportation (1-800-FOR-ROAD (367-7623), TTY 711) maintains stormwater facilities in state right-of-way along public roads. The county maintains stormwater facilities in storm drainage easements. Private facilities, including many residential wet ponds, are owned and maintained by the property owner, with inspection and oversight by the county. For additional information on county-maintained or private stormwater management facilities, please contact the Maintenance & Stormwater Management Division (703-877-2800, TTY 711).

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