The County requests a perpetual easement so that the Ditch Maintenance Division can provide timely and cost-effective drainage maintenance, not just one time, but into the future. Successful maintenance starts, typically, with an initial excavation of built-up debris and sediment to re-establish the ditch, and then future lighter maintenance activities to keep the ditch clear. The County hasn’t been able to schedule re-occurring inspection and maintenance in the past with the old temporary easements because they expire in one or two years.
Having a perpetual easement allows the County to plan for returning in a few years to check on ditch conditions and do light brush work and debris removal to keep the ditch open. It will avoid letting 10 years or more pass before re-visiting the ditch when it again becomes a problem. It is the goal of the County that heavy equipment will only be needed for the initial maintenance. Future work can then be performed more frequently and in a less disruptive manner.
The perpetual easement requirement is not unique to the County. Several other municipalities across the State, such as Chesterfield County and York County, also require perpetual easements before accepting a section of ditch into their program.
Ditch maintenance program changes were formalized by the Board of Supervisors in April of 2018, and responses to these changes have been positive. Many perpetual easements have been obtained, which is helping build this program into a more sustainable one.