Permits and Culvert Installation

Permits Required

No one may use, construct, excavate or alter the works of the South Indian River Water Control District or install any structure or equipment to enable the discharge of water, water withdrawal or other water use by anyone without receiving a permit from the District. In the case of an emergency, authorization (written if practical) may be given by the Manager of Operations or District Engineer.

 

Unless expressly exempt by law or District rule or policy, a permit must be obtained for:

  • Construction, excavation, alteration, or abandonment of any drain, ditch, canal, or other system of drainage connecting to or to connect with, discharge into, withdraw from or otherwise make use of the works of the District; or,
  • Construction, alteration, or abandonment of any bridge, or other crossing over a work of the District; or,
  • Any other construction, excavation or alteration, including placement of utilities, on or within District rights-of-way.

SIRWCD Permit Criteria and Application

 

Florida Statutes 298.66 - Obstruction of public drainage canals, etc., prohibited; damages; penalties

 

(1) A person may not willfully, or otherwise, obstruct any public canal, drain, ditch or watercourse or damage or destroy any public drainage works constructed in or maintained by any district.
(2) Any person who willfully obstructs any public canal, drain, ditch, or watercourse or damages or destroys any public drainage works constructed in or maintained by any district shall be liable to any person injured thereby for the full amount of the injury occasioned to any land or crops or other property by reason of such misconduct and shall be liable to the district constructing the drainage work for double the cost of removing such obstruction or repairing such damage.
(3) Any person who willfully, or otherwise, obstructs any public canal, drain, ditch, or watercourse, impedes or obstructs the flow of water therein, or damages or destroys any public drainage works constructed in or maintained by any district commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

 

Florida Statute for Obstruction of Public Canals 298.66

 

Driveway Culverts for New Construction

Palm Beach County issues permits for driveway culvert installations for new construction. The District is responsible for preparing the area for the culvert to ensure proper elevations for drainage. Landowners should call the District office at 561-747-0550 to schedule this service. The homeowner is then responsible for the purchase and installation of the culvert. The District recommends installation of a concrete header for the ends of the culvert to protect it from being crushed. This can be accomplished with cast-in-place concrete or rip-rap bags. Sod should be installed around the culvert to prevent erosion and sediment build up in or around the culvert.

 

Please contact the District office for guidance.

 

After installation, the District will come out and inspect the site to ensure it was properly constructed and issue a final inspection sticker that can be provided to Palm Beach County.

 

Note: There are only two culverts per parcel allowed per Palm Beach County Ordinance 2007-013, “Lots located on local or residential access streets shall have a maximum of two access connections.”

 

Replacement Driveway Culverts - SIRWCD Roadways

Landowners must notify the District when their culvert has been crushed or has collapsed and is no longer functioning. This is important to ensure proper stormwater management. A permit is not required from Palm Beach County for replacement of driveway culverts on properties located on District roadways. This is important to ensure proper stormwater management. This applies to replacement culverts only or a second culvert on an existing home, not new home construction or temporary culvert installations (see above for new construction properties).

 

Basic Installation - The District will remove the old culvert and install a new replacement 18" x 20' (up to 40' allowed) culvert pipe (plastic or steel), rip rap headwall and sod where needed around the culvert at a cost of $300.00 each for a single basic 20' culvert or $600.00 each for basic 21'-40' culverts to the landowner. (A steel pipe is recommended if construction vehicles will drive over the new culvert within the first six months after installation.) Fill dirt needed to cover the pipe must be supplied by the landowner and be on site at the time of culvert installation. Any upgrades from Basic Installation are at the owner’s expense. Elevation for culvert is determined at installation and material may need to be purchased by the landowner for culvert area or driveway.

 

A Limited Installation includes a 18" x 20' (up to 40' allowed) culvert pipe. This installation is at a cost of $200.00 each for a limited 20' culvert installation and $500.00. each for limited 21'-40' culvert installation.  Poured surface and concrete headwall is responsibility of landowner. Prior to pouring, landowner must schedule an inspection and show proof of County permit.

 

If landowners desire to cover their culvert and driveway with a permanent surface such as asphalt, concrete or pavers, Palm Beach County should be contacted for a permit.

 

To schedule an installation, visit the District Office to fill out a SIRWCD Driveway Culvert Installation Agreement, or download it here and take it to the District Office - please do not mail. (If the form does not print on one page, select shrink or reduce to fit on your printer's options for the PDF file.) A check made payable to SIRWCD is required.

 

Replacement Driveway Culverts - Palm Beach County Roadways

A permit is not required from Palm Beach County for replacement of driveway culverts on properties located on County roadways if SIRWCD is doing the replacement. This applies to replacement culverts only or a second culvert on an existing home, not new home construction or temporary culvert installations (see above for new construction properties).

 

Basic Installation - District will install a 24" diameter mitered end pipe. Poured surface and concrete headwall is the responsibllity of the landowner. For these installations, the cost to the landowner is $650.00 for each basic culvert installation. The site will be reviewed prior to installation and landowners will be notifed if additional fill will be needed to complete the installation. This must be supplied by the landowner and be on site at the time of culvert installation.

 

If asphalt is covering the existing culvert it will be removed but SIRWCD wil not haul it away.

 

If landowners desire to cover their culvert and driveway with a permanent surface such as asphalt, concrete or pavers, Palm Beach County should be contacted for a permit.

 

To schedule an installation, visit the District Office to fill out a County Driveway Culvert Installation Agreement, or download it here and take it to the District Office - please do not mail. (If the form does not print on one page, select shrink or reduce to fit on your printer's options for the PDF file.) A check made payable to SIRWCD is required.

 

Hard Surface Covering Over Culverts

If landowners wish to install in the future, or have already installed, a hard surface covering such as concrete, asphalt, pavers or brick over their culvert as part of their driveway, please be aware that when replacement of the culvert becomes necessary, the District is not responsible for the cost of replacement or repair of the hard surfacing. This is a landowner expense. A permit is also required by Palm Beach County for this type of project – please contact them at 561-233-5000 to apply.

 

Temporary Culverts

When a landowner is building a new home or doing extensive remodeling or renovation of their property within South Indian River Water Control District, they must ensure that their contractor installs a temporary culvert to prevent blockages in the swales that could impact their ability to handle stormwater runoff and cause flooding in that area.

 

All construction entrances must have at least a 12" x 20' temporary culvert. We do not recommend installing a permanent culvert during construction due to risk of damage by heavy vehicles accessing the site.

 

Any construction entrances that do not have a temporary culvert in place will be dug out without notice to allow for proper drainage.

 

Driveway Culvert Maintenance

Landowners are responsible for the maintenance of their driveway culverts. When fully functional, driveway culverts help provide proper stormwater runoff management, not only for yourself, but also for your neighbors. They also aid in draining stormwater from the internal swales to the main canal system.

 

Culverts should be regularly inspected by the landowner to ensure it is functioning properly and is not blocked with debris or has been crushed or damaged. Here’s a checklist of things you should look for during your inspection:

 

• Signs of erosion around the culvert ends
• Excessive rust build-up on metal culverts
• Cracks or areas that may have settled, leaving a gap between your concrete or asphalt driveway and the culvert
• Sink holes or depressions in a dirt driveway at the top of the culvert
• Sediment buildup in the culvert, particularly after a heavy rainfall

 

If you notice any of these issues, call the District office at 561-747-0550 to schedule an inspection.

 

Please note that while performing road and swale maintenance or during routine inspection of the water control system, District personnel may find driveway culverts that are inoperable, damaged or undersized. In order to maintain proper drainage, the culvert or culverts must be replaced. The landowner will be notified by a door-hanger and a certified letter instructing them to contact the District office to schedule a replacement installation. Under Florida Statutes 298.66 (see above), a person may not willfully, or otherwise, obstruct any public canal, drain, ditch or water-course or damage or destroy any public drainage works con-structed in or maintained by any district. Under the statute, the Board of Supervisors has the authority to assess double the actual cost for culvert installation for landowners who fail to pay for the culvert replacements under these situations.

 

 

Please call the District office if you have any questions regarding your driveway culvert.

 

County Adopts New Policies for Lot Filling

Since at least 2004, Palm Beach County has utilized numerous, but somewhat disjointed, land development and building codes to regulate the placement of fill on rural residential lots in communities such as Jupiter Farms (JF) and Palm Beach Country Estates (PBCE).  These regulations are contained in different sections of county ordinances, as well as in state, federal, and local water control district codes and statutes.  Understanding and implementing these codes, rules and statutes has often be difficult.

 

In 2017, changes were made to county codes as part of the FEMA mapping update process, prompting the review of county policies related to lot filling, and leading to the adoption of comprehensive policies in August of this year that provide guidance to the  Building Division and the public regarding interpretation and implementation of such codes and regulations.

 

The South Indian River Water Control District (District) Board of Supervisors has encouraged the adoption of these policies by the County, as reflected by its resolution at the August Board Meeting.  The District’s interest in establishing fair and consistent oversight of lot filling is based on the ways in which filling can potentially affect the District’s drainage, flood control and water quality protection efforts.

 

It is important to understand that JF and PBCE are essentially “at-grade” developments that pre-date modern subdivision design criteria, having road, swale, and home construction that was done in piecemeal fashion, with few commonly-owned storm water lakes or other water storage components.  Consequently, District drainage and flood protection rely heavily upon individual, privately-owned lots to collect and store storm water prior to it entering District canals, unlike newer development where mass-grading and the construction of storm water infrastructure are conducted prior to home construction.

 

At natural grade, lots within the District have the ability to retain an enormous amount of water.  Historically, wetlands and pinelands held excess rainfall and the surface water it generated.  As house pads, yards, septic systems, and driveways have been constructed over the years, some of that water retention has been lost, with displacement of historical surface water occurring on the vacant lots that remain.             

Palm Beach County codes governing the placement of fill are intended to protect landowners by requiring storm water displaced by filling to be directed “to preserve existing and historical compliant drainage conveyance on developed and underdeveloped lots.”  These codes also “serve to prevent adverse impacts and loss of storage capacity caused by unregulated fill activities, to protect the quality of the county’s surface water resources, and preserve existing natural resources.” 

 

The way this is accomplished by the County is through its permit process.  The County’s newly adopted policies limit filling to a number of specifically defined activities, including the following:

  1. Fill needed to facilitate the construction of a new structure placed subsequent to the issuance of a building permit by the Building Division.

  2. Fill authorized under a valid site development permit issued by the Building Division.

  3. Minor fill being placed for developed property maintenance purposes, i.e., landscaping, gardening, existing driveway maintenance, exclusive of drainage easements or designated wetlands.  The maximum amount of fill considered to be minor is 20 cubic yards of clean fill per 1 acre lot-size, placed during any 24-month period for developed property maintenance.  Minor filling that meets this criteria is exempt from county permitting.     

  4. Fill may also be authorized through an approved Drainage Review by the Palm Beach County Land Development Division, through a permit issued by the Palm Beach County Department of Environmental Resources Protection, or in accordance with local, state or federal agencies designated rules.

It should also be noted that the filling of a pond requires a site development permit.

 

In addition, any fill operation affecting more than one acre must also comply with National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) regulations (Section 27, Article VII, PBC Code), which are intended to improve the quality of stormwater discharges into the stormwater system and to increase public awareness of all stormwater discharges.

 

These are just a few policies set forth by Palm Beach County related to lot filling and grading activity. Violations of this policy may be subject to Code Enforcement citation under the Florida Statutes. For more information, go to the PPM link; discover.pbcgov.org/pzb/building/buildingcodes/ppm-0128-fill_permit.pdf

 

The South Indian River Water Control District is committed to working with the County to assure fair and consistent implementation of these policies in order to provide flood protection and water quality treatment that benefits all landowners, as well as the water resources that surround the District.