Residential Drainage: Stormwater Management
When it rains, the water that does not soak into the ground flows off streets, parking lots, lawns and driveways, collecting pollutants from pet waste, pesticides, fertilizers and other contaminants along the way. This stormwater runoff then flows directly into the county storm drains where it eventually flows -untreated- into our rivers, streams and the Chesapeake Bay.
While Stafford County and the Virginia Department of Transportation have mechanisms in place to manage and maintain storm systems within County easements or public street rights-of-way, the storm systems on private property are the responsibility of that property owner. Property owners must take responsibility to keep stormwater free-flowing and free from pollutants.
If you have a concern about drainage, contact the Environmental Division at (540) 658-8830 to request a site visit to your property. Staff will help identify the problem, determine the party responsible for maintenance, and provide technical assistance as necessary.
Information regarding routine maintenance and culvert repair or replacement:
Routine culvert maintenance is the key to avoiding flooding and costly repairs. This maintenance may include grass mowing, as well as the removal of trash, vegetation, debris, or any obstruction that prevents water from flowing through the culvert freely.
Culvert repairs or replacements can be made without County approval or permits as long as the culvert replacement is made with the same diameter pipe at the same general slope and length, and less than 2,500 square feet of total land will be disturbed for the repair and/or replacement.
Private entrance culverts within VDOT right-of-way may require a Land Use Permitfrom VDOT for repairs or replacement.
More Information can be found on VDOT’s "Drainage on Virginia Roadways" page.
For cases where existing culverts may be too small to adequately pass stormwater runoff from rainfall events, the Stafford County Department of Public Works must be notified to ensure that any proposed changes to the culvert size are properly engineered and evaluated for impacts to adjacent properties and drainage ways.
Culverts that cross live streams or wetland areas may also require additional permitting or notification to the US Army Corps of Engineers prior to any repairs or installation. The Stafford County Department of Public Works can assist with this process
Homeowners can keep stormwater free-flowing through their culverts or other storm systems located on their property by removing any debris or large obstructions. By following these practices below, you can do your part to eliminate pollutants that run off your property during rainstorms into our local waterways:
Pick Up After Your Pet:
Pick up your pet waste and put it in a biodegradable bag and then into the trash. Pet waste carries bacteria, viruses and parasites that can threaten the health of both people and the environment and can linger in soil for years.
Maintain Your Home and Car:
Maintain your vehicles. Recycle used oil, antifreeze and other fluids by taking them to Regional Landfill on Eskimo Hill Road. To learn more about their accepted recyclables, visit their website: Regional Landfill
If you are on a septic system, maintain and inspect your system every three years and pump your tank as necessary. Waste from failing systems can leak into the groundwater and eventually end up in local waterways and the Bay. To learn more about how to properly maintain your septic system, visit Stafford’s Septic Pumpout Program
Lawn Care Recommendations:
After mowing your lawn, leave the grass clippings on the grass to help fertilize- for free!
Landscape with plants that are native to the area. Native plants are adapted to the local climate and are able to thrive without fertilizers and require less watering as non-native plants
Recycle rainwater through the use of rain barrels or cisterns or by directing your downspouts directly into your garden beds.
Avoid using pesticides or fertilizers, particularly when rain is in the forecast. Lawn fertilizers and chemicals are a big source of nitrogen and phosphorus pollution and toxic runoff.