Drainage/Flooding Information

For information about Floodplain Regulations, Floodplain Mapping and the National Flood Insurance Program, visit our Floodplains page.

Who to Contact
  • Call 911 for assistance with any life threatening drainage/flooding emergencies or to report major toxic/hazardous chemical spills.
  • To report flooding of city streets call Durham One Call at 919-560-1200.
  • To report flooding of state roads and highways in Durham contact NCDOT at 919-477-2814.
  • Report water quality concerns or illegal dumping in storm drains, ditches, and streams to the Online Reporting Form the Stormwater Pollution Hotline at 919-560-SWIM (7946) or via email.
  • Report erosion and sediment problems with construction sites to Durham City/County Stormwater and Erosion Control at 919-560-0735.
  • To email a Drainage Representative regarding private drainage system concerns call Stormwater Services at 919-560-4326.
Drainage System Ownership and Maintenance Responsibility
The owner of the property where a drainage system is located is legally responsible for its maintenance. This includes all features of the drainage system such as ditches, stream banks, and even buried pipes. The city only owns and maintains the stormwater drainage system within the public right-of-way and other property owned by the city.

Improper care of a drainage system can lead to property damage. The most important part of maintaining a drainage system is making sure water can continue to move through it as intended. This means that anything except stormwater needs to be kept out of the drainage system including lawn waste (leaves, branches, grass clippings, etc.). These can block the system and cause flooding on your property or neighboring properties. Anything that is blocking the flow of water should be dealt with quickly.

Making Changes to your Drainage System
Drainage systems may not be changed in any way that blocks the free flow of water, disturbs a protected stream buffer, or is in violation of any other local, state, or federal rules (such as Floodplain Regulations). Before making changes to any drainage system the property owner is responsible for obtaining the necessary permits and approvals. You may need a permit or approval from any or all of the following regulatory agencies:
  • Buffer Coordinator: 919-715-6823
  • City of Durham, Department of Public Works, Development Review Group: 919-560-4326
  • Durham City/County Erosion Control: 919-560-0735
  • Durham City/County Planning Department: Customer Service Center: 919-560-4137
  • North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR) - Division of Water Quality (DWQ)
  • Surface Water Protection (401 Permits): 919-715-4631
  • United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Raleigh Regional Office: 919-554-4884