Drain Permit

A Drain permit is required to perform any of the following activities on a County Drain:

  • Bridge or culvert installation
  • Sediment removal/dredging
  • Relocation of a County Drain
  • Enclosure of a County Drain
  • Construction of a ditch or pipeline bringing water into a County Drain

Additional permits may be required for any or all of these activities
Download Drain permit

Maintenance may be performed on County Drains, within certain limits, without a petition. Currently the limitations are that no more than $5,000/mile/year may be spent on maintenance of a Drain. Another limitation is that culverts and bridges may only be replaced or repaired during a petitioned project.

In general, maintenance of a Drain may consist of any of the following activities:

  • Removal of obstructions
  • Modest sediment removal projects
  • Erosion control projects
  • Spot repairs on pipelines
  • Vegetation management


Under a variety of laws, the MDEQ issues permits for various activities. Some of these activities are:

  • Installation of seawalls
  • Bridge or culvert installation
  • Dredging a lake or stream
  • Construction sites disturbing more than 5 acres
  • Draining or filling of wetlands
  • Construction in the floodplain

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Any activity that a land owner undertakes within a Drain Right-of-Way is undertaken at the land owner's risk. Land owners who have occupied or who contemplate somewhat permanent occupation of a portion of a Right-of-Way may wish to request a license for this occupation to spell out the rights and responsibilities of each of the parties. A license may or may not be granted depending upon the individual circumstances involved. Contact the Drain Commissioner to discuss this issue.