Public Works Operations: Maintaining Asheville’s Stormwater Infrastructure

water running down road to storm drain with city logo and department title

At the heart of Asheville’s environmental sustainability efforts lies the often overlooked but crucial aspect of stormwater management. Stormwater Services, a vital division within our Public Works Department, maintains the stormwater drainage system within the public right-of-way. This includes regular upkeep of catch basins, manholes, storm drain pipes/culverts, open drainage systems such as ditches and channels, and Stormwater Control Measures. With a comprehensive system in place, stormwater runoff is efficiently channeled through a network of storm drains, pipes, ditches, and culverts to reduce the potential of flooding that could impact our roads and community. Let’s take a look at one of the services the Stormwater Division provides.

In the fiscal year spanning from July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023, our dedicated in-house crews achieved significant milestones:

  • Street Sweeping Crew: Collected a staggering 951.59 tons of street debris and swept over 5,738 miles of streets within the city limits.
  • Vac-con Crew (operates our vacuum trucks to clean out pipes): Conducted routine maintenance and inspection of storm drains within the City’s Right of Way, totaling 5,833 drains cleaned
  • Construction and Maintenance Crews: Engaged in essential activities such as routine ditch inspection, cleaning, and maintenance, as well as repair and installation of underground pipes, catch basins, and junction boxes. Additionally, they performed internal pipe repairs utilizing confined space entry protocols, ensuring the integrity of our stormwater infrastructure.
  • Camera Crew: Inspected a remarkable 15,606 linear feet of stormwater pipes using advanced camera technology within the City’s Right of Way. This meticulous process aids in evaluating the condition of our pipes and locating and updating the city’s GIS layer, providing invaluable data for future maintenance endeavors.
  • Utility Locator: Played a crucial role in locating underground stormwater infrastructure ahead of any proposed construction activities, adhering to NC811 guidelines. In the fiscal year, Asheville received 13,098 utility locate call-ins and promptly addressed 438 emergency utility locate call-ins, underscoring our commitment to maintaining a safe and efficient stormwater system.

Community Partnership

While the city diligently maintains stormwater infrastructure within the public right-of-way, private property owners play a pivotal role in ensuring the upkeep of stormwater drainage systems on their premises. Collaboration between municipal authorities and homeowners is vital for the continued health and sustainability of Asheville’s environment. It’s important to note that maintenance outside of the City’s Right of Way falls under the responsibility of homeowners.

Asheville’s stormwater management is not merely a regulatory obligation but a collective endeavor to safeguard our natural resources for generations to come. Through proactive maintenance, innovative technology, and community engagement, we remain steadfast in our commitment to preserving the integrity of our local waterways. 

Stay tuned to learn more about the Stormwater Division and the services they provide.