What does it mean to be publicly maintained?
Publicly maintained stormwater management facilities are those for which the county has direct maintenance responsibility. These facilities can be found on property owned by the county or operated within an easement on land owned by others. Fairfax County is responsible under state and federal stormwater permits for ensuring that the facilities remain in place, are properly operated, and functional. Public facilities are maintained according to county-specific maintenance schedules and guidelines, county ordinances, and any original design specifications that apply to the specific facility.
Public Facility Inventory
As of 2023, there are more than 2,400 publicly maintained stormwater management facilities in the county's inventory. About three-quarters of these facilities are either dry ponds or wet ponds in residential areas or on county property. The remaining quarter is divided between many other facility types as listed in the stormwater facility fact sheets. Within the past few years, the number of newly-installed non-pond low-impact development (LID) facilities (bioretention areas, pervious pavement areas, etc.) has been growing and this trend is expected to continue.
Routine maintenance items and frequency vary by facility type.
Public ponds are maintained by the county once a year if maintenance is shared by the local homeowners association, twice a year in most other cases, or four times a year for “regional” ponds with drainage areas exceeding 100 acres. This routine maintenance typically includes grass mowing of the dam embankment, basic channel clearing, trash removal, sign installation, and dewatering. The county maintains numerous ponds on private property within residential neighborhoods. In those cases, the land owner is still responsible for performing aesthetic maintenance to include trash pickup, non-hazardous tree removal and grass mowing above the county’s established level of service for routine maintenance.
Some non-pond facility types have routine maintenance schedules. For example, bioretention gardens and vegetated swales are maintained five times per year while treebox filters and green roofs are maintained four times a year. Vegetative facility maintenance includes vegetation trimming and weeding, trash removal and mulching. Pervious pavement maintenance occurs once a year and includes vacuuming to remove sediment build-up. The remaining non-pond facilities within the inventory do not have a routine maintenance schedule. &Maintenance is scheduled following the facility inspection.
Most publicly maintained stormwater facilities are inspected once every other year. Regional ponds are inspected annually, as are non-pond facilities that do not have routine maintenance schedules. The purpose of these inspections is to assess and record any visible deficiencies in the stormwater facility that would prevent the facility from functioning as designed. Following the inspection, the inspection results, photos, and any identified maintenance items are compiled to generate a work order for the facility. Within about a month of the inspection, a work order is generated and sent to in-house maintenance crews, to MSMDs primary contractor or sent out for bid amongst multiple general contractors, depending on the amount of work involved.
If you notice that a public stormwater management facility does not appear to be functioning properly, please call MSMD at 703-877-2800, TTY 711, to report the specific problems. You may also submit a maintenance request form online. When submitting a service request, please include the facility identification number usually found on the pond sign for publicly maintained facilities. Having the ID number helps employees speed up their response.
Non-routine maintenance is conducted on an as-needed basis following either a facility inspection or a service request. This work may include removal of trees or invasive vegetation, major sediment removal, repairs to concrete structures or pipes, or dam embankment repairs. Non-routine maintenance work is prioritized in order to address urgent needs and manage resources efficiently. Impacted land owners are notified via mail prior to initiation of non-routine maintenance activities.