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Ditch Enclosures

Ditches play an important role in the overall drainage system of Surrey. Open ditches allow for infiltration of stormwater into the ground helping to recharge groundwater and sustain creek baseflows throughout the City. In rural portions of town, the City will not endorse ditch enclosures as roads with shoulders and more rural cross sections are better serviced through open systems.

In much of the City’s lowland floodplain areas, open ditches allow for storage of floodwaters to occur when tides are high or at times of high river levels. Some ditches are actually channelized fisheries creeks and they are classified on the City’s COSMOS mapping system – fish classification layer. The colour coding signifies whether the waterway is considered as fish habitat or just a ditch. Fisheries considerations will outweigh the request for enclosure of the ditch.

Any person wishing to close an open ditch is required to apply for a permit with the Engineering Department. If a resident wishes to enclose a ditch, it is at their cost once a permit is obtained from the City of Surrey.

Ditch Enclosure Application Process

The turnaround time of a ditch enclosure request is approximately two weeks from the application date. When a resident applies for a ditch enclosure, City staff will review the proposed site focusing on the following items:

  • Drainage pattern within the area
  • Capacity of the existing system
  • Drainage history of the area
  • Potential impacts due to the fill in
  • City’s drainage concept plan

The City limits filling in ditches in these areas:

  • Bridgeview
  • Floodplain
  • Rural properties
  • Panorama Ridge
  • Agricultural Land Reserve
  • East Clayton

The process to fill in City drainage ditch is:

  1. Submit an application with applicable fees to the City Engineering department
  2. Application is processed and forwarded to Engineering Drainage & Environment section
  3. Staff carry out a site visit and review the existing conditions
  4. Staff determine the requirements
  5. Requirements are sent to Engineering front counter staff
  6. The requirements for a ditch in fill are:
    • Pipe size
    • Pipe type
    • Backfill type
    • Lawn drains
    • Manholes
    • Sodded Swales
    • Headwall structures

All design and installation work must be in accordance with:

  • Master Municipal Construction Documents (MMCD) Volume II (MMCD-January 1996 Rev. April 2000)
  • Supplementary Master Municipal Construction Documents (May 2004)
  • Design Criteria Manual (May 2004)