Right-of-Way / Easements

Purpose of Easements

Right-of-way (easements) are granted to the Drain Commissioner's office along all designated county drains for the purpose of allowing access to inspect, operate, maintain or repair the drain. Property owners retain ownership, but are restricted from building permanent structures that may impede drain maintenance within the easement area. Work done by the property owner within the easement, such as connecting to or installing a crossing requires a permit.


 Requirements & Guidelines

  • Drainage Easements are obtained for specific uses such as storm water conveyance, storm water detention, ponding, and floodplain or as access routes for operating, maintaining or repairing county drains.
  • Drainage Easements are not to be considered public areas and are not open to the public.
  • Property owners retain ownership, but are restricted from building permanent structures that may interfere with or reduce drainage and/or temporary storage capacity or may impede drain maintenance or surface or subsurface systems within the easement area. This includes, but is not limited to: swimming pools, sheds, garages, patios, decks, fences or other permanent structures or landscaping features.
  • Easement width varies from drain to drain depending on the drain's size and type. Some easements are of an unspecified width.
  • No dumping of grass clippings, leaves, brush or other refuse is allowed within a drain easement. These items obstruct drainage, restrict flow, and plug culverts. This can lead to higher maintenance costs and can cause flooding situations.