Citizen Guidance

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Support for Managing Stormwater

Cary is committed to helping its citizens address stormwater concerns. First, consider these frequently asked questions and answers about many of the common drainage issues listed below. For further assistance, contact us to discuss your concern or schedule an on-site visit. We can provide technical guidance, suggest strategies--including green stormwater techniques-- that a homeowner may implement to mitigate drainage issues, and indicate whether a permit or encroachment agreement from the Town is required. 

Typical concerns include: 

  • Chronically wet areas in yard
  • Erosion at the inlet or outlet of a storm drain pipe
  • Broken or blocked storm drain pipes
  • Sinkhole on property
  • Yard erosion
  • Excessive water runoff affecting private property
  • Debris jam in drainage channel
  • Illegal/unknown discharge 
  • Landscape changes to property
  • Stream erosion or maintenance
  • Home/driveway/yard flooding
  • FEMA/100-year floodplain
  • Stormwater drainage infrastructure
  • Mosquitoes and drainage


311 in Cary
(919) 469-4000 outside Town limits

Stormwater Infrastructure and Your Property

Cary maintains stormwater infrastructure in the Town right-of-way and on Town-owned property. Any storm drainage infrastructure outside the right-of-way is the responsibility of the property owner as noted on the “Certificate of Ownership and Dedication,” required on all subdivision plats recorded in the Town of Cary. To view the full document, click the image below.

Drainage Easement and Your Property

A drainage easement is an area identified on a survey plat delineating typical flow paths of stormwater runoff during a storm event (overland flow, in a ditch or in a pipe). It allows upstream property owners the right to drain stormwater runoff across downstream properties through the drainage easement.

An easement is the responsibility of the property owner and carries with it some usage limitations such as installing: 

  • Tennis and basketball courts/swimming pools;
  • Dams or anything that would block the flow of water;
  • Walls or other structures made of wood, brick or block;
  • Sheds or other buildings;
  • Fences obstructing flow of water;
  • Landscaping, such as raised beds or any
  • Other obstructions which would block water flow over land or through ditches or pipes.

Drainage Improvements to Your Property

Cary does not regulate lot drainage. Storm drainage issues between property owners is a civil matter. If you plan improvements or modifications to your landscape which impact the flow of water, please take your neighbor’s property into consideration. Any land-disturbing activity that exceeds one acre requires a sediment and erosion control permit from Cary. 

In rare cases, a private property drainage problem is initiated by stormwater infrastructure on public property or within the Town right-of-way. If staff determine this to be the case, the situation may be remedied through Policy Statement 146 (Stormwater Capital Improvement Requests).

Customers with drainage issues on private property in which residential structural damage has occurred as a result of flooding, severe erosion, or improper or broken storm drainage may petition for technical assistance through Policy Statement 35 (Storm Drainage Improvement Requests).


311 in Cary
(919) 469-4000 outside Town limits

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