For property maintenance questions that fall outside of the municipal service boundary, residents may contact the provincial operation contact centre at 1.844.696.773. Residents can call 311 or use the ExploreHRM map to determine if they are within the municipal service boundary.
The municipality and Halifax Water work together to ensure effective management of storm water and maintenance of the municipality’s storm water system including pipes. ditches and culverts. Overall, storm water management is multi-jurisdictional and shared across the federal, provincial, municipal levels of government.
In April, 2022, the municipality published a staff report clarifying the responsibilities of the municipality, Halifax Water and property owners in the effective and efficient maintenance of ditches and culverts throughout the region.
- Learn about property and homeowner responsibilities for ditch maintenance
- Learn about the municipality’s responsibilities for ditch maintenance
- Importance of vegetation in ditches
Reporting ditch or culvert issues
The optimal time to inspect the functionality of a ditch is during or immediately after a rainfall or snow melt event.
Residents outside the municipal service boundary may contact the provincial operation centre at 1.844.696.773. Residents can call 311 or use the ExploreHRM map to determine if they are within the municipal service boundary.
When receiving a request for service through either 311 or Halifax Water call centres, there are three conditions that are typically looked at:
- Road appearance – potholes, degradation, cracking, rutting, road edge erosion/“breaking off”, and suspicious wear and tear may indicate a ditch and shoulder are in need of maintenance.
- Ditch erosion or soil instability – learn more about vegetation’s role in healthy ditch infrastructure
- Water flow – standing water is a normal part of a healthy ditch; however, inspection may be needed to ensure no obstruction or defect.
- What do ditches and culvets do?
The main purpose of roadside ditches are to:
- Protect the integrity of the road
- Connect to storm water management infrastructure like pipes
- Minimize the flow of storm water from the right of way on to private property
Roads are designed to drain rain and melting snow away from the road, toward the ditch. Once the water reaches the ditch, it flows away from the road toward storm water management infrastructure, streams, lakes and other bodies referred to as receiving waters. Storm water is not treated or cleaned before flowing into receiving waters. Ditches often perform better than piped storm sewers when it comes to protecting water quality as the water is slowed by vegetation, allowing portions of the water to infiltrate the soil.
- What is the role of Halifax Water?
Halifax Water is the municipal water, wastewater and storm water utility serving the residents of the municipality. Halifax Water has the authority to own and operate storm water systems for the benefit of its customers within a defined service boundary.
Halifax Water’s storm water system is comprised of catch basins, pipes, manholes, roadside ditches, swales, culvert, storm water holding tanks, ponds that eventually discharge into a local stream, lake, or other body of water (receiving waters) or formal major storm water systems where they exist.
- Role of other government levels
The provincial government is responsible for maintenance and management of ditches and storm water that falls outside the municipal service boundary. For property maintenance questions in these circumstances contact the provincial operation contact centre at 1.844.696.773.
Residents can call 311 or use the ExploreHRM map to determine if they are within the municipal service boundary.