County of Marin - News Releases - Drainage Assistance

For Immediate Release
November 26, 2019

Program for Drainage Assistance Goes to Board

Residents in unincorporated areas could apply for financial aid for culvert repairs

San Rafael, CA – Many private property owners are unaware that the maintenance of underground pipes and culverts on their property is often their responsibility. That can be the case even when the infrastructure on private property is an important drainage component for the community. Whether they realize it or not, homeowners may be relying on their neighbors for protection against water damage and flooding.

This split-screen image shows the inside of a stormwater drainage pipe before and after thorough cleaning. 'Before' and 'After' photos of a stormwater drain after the sliplining process.
Drainage facilities, such as underground pipes and culverts, play a crucial role in maintaining proper waterflow and, in certain cases, protecting communities from flooding. If not properly maintained, drainage facilities deteriorate over time, which can become a public safety risk for the surrounding community as well as residents located above the infrastructure.

In an effort to assist private property owners in the repair of deteriorating culverts, which can be cost prohibitive for some residents, the Marin County Department of Public Works (DPW) has proposed a pilot program to help fund drainage improvement projects on private property. The proposed pilot program would allow property owners within unincorporated Marin to apply for up to $50,000 in County financial assistance for drainage facility improvements on their private property that serves the public interest.

The proposal will be considered by the Marin County Board of Supervisors on December 3, in the Board chamber, Suite 330, Marin County Civic Center, 3501 Civic Center Drive, in San Rafael.

“This pilot program is intended to improve public safety for Marin’s residents,” said Ernest Klock, Assistant Director of DPW. “The effort should also be beneficial in helping reduce the risk of future damage to private property and public infrastructure across the county.”

All applications would be evaluated on a list of criteria and conditions. Neighbors sharing responsibility for drainage facilities can also band together to make improvements to deteriorated pipes in their neighborhood. Approved applicants would receive a cash contribution up to 50% of the total improvement costs, but not to exceed $50,000. The proposed pilot program would have $400,000 set aside for allocations, at which point the program would be reevaluated. The pilot program would be covered by the County’s General Fund, but funding for any future iteration of the program would be informed by the results of the pilot.

Approved projects under the program would move forward with the understanding that the County would not be involved in the design, contracting or administrating of the actual project implementation. The property owner would also be required to obtain all necessary permits associated with the work. All future ownership and maintenance of the improved private drainage facilities would remain the property owner’s full responsibility.

Pending approval of the proposed pilot program, additional details will be made available on DPW’s Engineering Department webpage.

All public meetings and events sponsored or conducted by the County of Marin are held at accessible sites. If you are a person with a disability and require information or materials in alternative formats – or if you require accommodation to participate in a county program, service or activity – please contact department staff by email or at 415-473-7331 or 415-473-4381 (voice/TTY).


Ernest Klock
Assistant Director
Public Works

3501 Civic Center Drive.
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-6552
Email: Ernest Klock
DPW Website