Drainage Maintenance

Townwide stormwater drainage relates to the conveyance of surface water, including but not limited to creeks, streams, wetlands, roadway culverts, or storm sewers. These facilities are maintained by the Town of Penfield or the operating authority of the roadway. Except for roadway drainage structures, these facilities may or may not be located on Town-owned land or are under an easement to the Town. Where there is no easement, the Town will require an easement to be granted upon any development project that requires Town approval.

Documents and reports regarding drainage and stormwater management: Plans, Studies and Reports

General activities associated with managing regionalized drainage facilities includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Cleaning drainage ditches, removing debris from streams or creeks
  • Streambank stabilization or reinforcement
  • Keeping Town drainage studies current
  • Conducting sub-basin studies, where required
  • Applying for NYSDEC/US Army Corps permits, where required
  • Planning and implementation of improvements to mitigate flooding and reduce floodplain acreage
  • General maintenance of regional detention /retention facilities to ensure that storage and flow is not impeded
  • Raising and lowering water levels in ponds, as required for function

The maintenance of these channels may be done by the Town, or its contractors, as needed for emergency services or as part of an annual maintenance program. The Town will make every effort to obtain a release prior to entering private property to complete these services.

To report a drainage problem please submit a " Service Request "

Town Code

Questions regarding the Town Code for drainage items please contact the Town Engineer at 585-340-8681.

Steps Homeowners Can Take to Improve Drainage

  • Clear culverts, catch basins, and storm sewers from debris, leaves, yard waste,  sand, or gravel
  • Remove any objects that can clog the system such as recycling items, trash, toys
  • Keep swales clear and open to allow water to drain
  • Do not plant flowers or trees in any drainage areas 

Volunteer Opportunities

If you would like to support the work of the Town's watershed committee by volunteering to help observe water and drainage conditions in your watershed district, please contact the engineering department at (585) 340-8681.

Monroe County Stormwater Coalition

Established in 2000, the Monroe County Stormwater Coalition is composed of 29 municipal members.Image_StormwaterCoalLOGO2021

By working together, Coalition members are able to comply with the federal stormwater regulations and improve water quality in a cost-effective manner. At this time, the Coalition is funded through membership fees and grants. However, the Coalition is pursuing a long-term funding strategy.

The Coalition meets on a monthly basis and leadership is provided by a Chairman, Vice-Chairman, and Executive Committee. The Coalition has three staff persons that are located at the Monroe County Department of Environmental Services. The work of the Coalition is advanced by three task groups: Education, Construction, and Illicit Discharges/Pollution Prevention.

The Coalition implements a wide range of projects and programs including public education, training for municipal employees and the land development community, demonstrations of practices that reduce polluted runoff from developed land, technical assistance with permits and erosion control, investigations of stormwater outfalls for indicators of illegal discharges, assessments of municipal facilities for opportunities to prevent pollution, and a Stormwater Master Plan for Monroe County to identify needed infrastructure.

The Coalition has developed partnerships with several organizations in order to utilize existing expertise and maximize its efforts. Partners include the Monroe County Soil & Water 


Conservation District, the Water Education Collaborative (WEC), Rochester Museum & Science Center, and Seneca Park Zoo. For example, the Coalition is a major supporter of the WEC’s award-winning H2O Hero public education campaign. Through the campaign, the Coalition seeks to inspire residents to protect water quality in their everyday lives. For more information about the campaign, visit H2OHero.org.

Stormwater Coalition Joint Annual Report

The Coalition's Joint Annual Report includes compliance activities that were accomplished during the reporting period and performance measures to evaluate the overall effectiveness of each minimum control measure. Reportable activities specific to each Coalition member may be obtained from the individual municipality. The public is encouraged to review these materials and provide comments to the Coalition staff or their respective member representative.

Glossary of Drainage Terms
Aeration: To allow circulating air to reach or penetrate the soil.
Bedrock: A general term for any consolidated rock.
Catch basin: A storm drain, storm sewer, surface water drain/sewer, or stormwater drain designed to drain excess rain and groundwater from impervious surfaces such as paved streets, car parks, parking lots, footpaths, sidewalks, and roofs” or some combination thereof.
Compacted: Describes dense, firmly packed soil that resists water absorption.
Culvert: A covered channel that carries water underground; an arch, bridge, or part of a road that covers a culvert.
Easement: A limited right to make use of a property owned by another, for example, a right of way across the property
Erosion: The wearing away of the land surface by running water, wind, ice, or other geological agents, including such processes as a gravitational creep.
Groundwater: The supply of freshwater under the earth's surface in an aquifer or soil.
Habitat: The specific environment in which an organism lives and on which it depends for food and shelter.
Infiltration: The process by which water on the ground surface enters the soil.
Leaching: The downward transport of dissolved or suspended minerals, fertilizers, and other substances by water passing through soil or other permeable material.
Percolation: Water that moves through the soil at a depth below the root zone.
Precipitation: Moisture falling from the atmosphere in the form of rain, snow, sleet, or hail.
Root zone: The depth of soil penetrated by crop roots.
Runoff: The portion of rainfall, melted snow, or irrigation water that flows across the ground surface and is eventually returned to streams. Runoff can pick up pollutants from the air or the land and carry them to streams, lakes, and oceans.
Sediment: Fine soil or mineral particles that settle to the bottom of water or are suspended in it.
Spring: A place where groundwater naturally comes to the surface resulting from the water table meeting the land surface.
Storm sewer: A large drain built to carry away excess water from a road during heavy rain.
Surface water: Water found over the land surface in streams, ponds, marshes.
Swale: A depression between slopes that provides for drainage.
Water table: The water level of an unconfined aquifer, below which the pore spaces are generally saturated.
Watershed: The land water flows across or under on its way to a stream, river, or lake.
Wetlands: Wetlands are lands where saturation with water is the dominant factor determining the nature of soil development. They also can be identified by unique plants that have adapted to oxygen-deficient (anaerobic) soils. Wetlands influence stream flows and water quality.