Drainage Repair/ Right of Way Access in Drainage Channels

Channels and drainage ditches are maintained by the Streets and Roads Division to prevent obstruction and maintain flow of waters requiring evacuation from an area. Ditch cleaning includes use of equipment for cleaning and reshaping of ditches including loading, hauling, and disposing of excess materials. Vegetation located in the ditch is sometimes removed during cleaning, however, drainage areas that have significant vegetation are less likely to have severe erosion problems during drainage events. Fill material may be imported to repair eroded channel walls during the mechanical reshaping of drainage-ways. It is the goal of Streets and Roads Division to ensure that during all drainage needs events, that drainage capacity is adequate to quickly and effectively evacuate water, thereby preventing road and other property damage. Weather patterns and storm potential throughout the Pueblo West District can be extremely unpredictable, and occasionally very large drainage events occurs, such as with a flash flooding storm that passes through the area. Damage that occurs during these events will be assessed and mitigated on a priority basis, based on available resources.  In addition, debris that gathers in channels during and after a storm will be mitigated by Streets and Roads staff to the extent possible.

The business owners, homeowners/residents of Pueblo West have a responsibility with maintaining proper drainage channels as well. This includes issues surrounding the landscaping and/or placement of decorative rock or other obstructions in the drainage channel. Effective drainage channels have a pre-determined flowline, which is the level that most waters will flow/evacuate from an area. Impediments to the flowline of a drainage channel may come in the form of rock landscaping (large or small) which overtakes the determined flowline of the channel. These impediments restrict the ability of the drainage channel to perform as necessary and as designed. Right of Way Access permitting is required in order for property owners to construct landscape features in the flowline of a drainage channel in a public right of way (see also Pueblo West Metro District Engineering Dept for information on the Right of Way Access Permitting process). When placing such material into the flowline of a drainage channel, care must be taken to ensure the flowline is not impacted or diminished by the material.

Q: I want to landscape the drainage area in front of my home to make it more visually appealing and to enhance salability and value of my property. What are some of the things I need to consider?

A:  In very basic terms, you must first contact the Pueblo West Metro Engineering Dept to obtain a Right of Way Access permit.  The Engineering Division can tell you what you can and cannot do within the allowances and limitations of the permit you receive.  As part of your project, you must take steps to remove material, such as dirt, prior to placing your decorative material, so as not to alter the designated flowline of the drainage channel. Finally, it is your responsibility to maintain that section of drainage channel going forward, always ensuring that the determined flowline is not obstructed or diminished. The Streets and Roads Division will not maintain weed control, trash removal, reshaping, etc, in the section of the drainage channel that contains the property owners’ landscape material located in the right of way.

Q:  What if I do not obtain a Right of Way access permit and place material in the drainage channel anyway, or if I have purchased a home with previously unpermitted landscape materials placed in the channel?

A: You are at risk of having to remove all landscape materials placed in the public right of way without a permit, at your loss and expense. The District will provide you with a determined amount of time to become compliant by obtaining a permit and ensuring that your materials are within the limitations and allowances of the access permit. You will be required to remove non-compliant materials, and if not done by a determined date, the Streets and Roads Division will remove materials and place them in the landfill. The District can potentially also bill you for this removal. Please always observe the permitting process and avoid unnecessary loss of decorative materials because of placement of materials without the required authorization though the permitting process.

If you have purchased a home with non-permitted landscape materials in the drainage channel, the Metro District will work with you to ensure your ability to come into compliance, ie, not impacting the flow lines, etc. It will, however, be up to each property owner to pay for necessary adjustments to items placed in the drainage channel/right of way.