North Carolina Statutes

Chapter 156 Drainage

Article 1 - Jurisdiction in Clerk of Superior Court.

  • § 156-1   Supplemental proceeding
    The proceedings initiated under this Chapter may be, to the extent practicable, supplemented by the procedures of Chapter 40A. (Code, s. 1324; Rev., s. 4028;...
  • § 156-2   Petition filed; commissioners appointed
    Any person owning pocosin, swamp, or flatlands, or owning lowlands subject to inundation, which cannot be conveniently drained or embanked so as to drain off...
  • § 156-3   Duty of commissioners
    The commissioners, or a majority of them, on a day of which each proprietor of land aforesaid is to be notified at least five days,...
  • § 156-4   Report and confirmation; easement acquired; exceptions
    The commissioners shall report in writing, under their hands, the whole matter to the court, which shall confirm the same, unless good cause be shown...
  • § 156-5   Width of right-of-way for repairs
    The commissioners, when they may deem it necessary, shall designate the width of the land to be left on each side of the canal, ditch,...
  • § 156-6   Right of owner to fence; entry for repairs
    Any proprietor, through or on whose land such canal or ditch may be cut or embankment raised, may put a fence or make paths across...
  • § 156-7   Earth for construction of dam; removal of dam
    The earth necessary for the erection of a dam may be taken from either side of it, or wherever else the commissioners may designate and...
  • § 156-8   Earth from canal removed or leveled
    The earth excavated from the canal or ditch shall be removed away or leveled as nearly as may be with the surface of the adjacent...
  • § 156-9   No drain opened within 30 feet
    The proprietor of any swamp or flatlands through which a canal or ditch passes shall not have a right to open or cut any drain...
  • § 156-10   Right to drain into canal
    Any person desirous of draining into the canal or ditch of another person as an outlet may do so in the manner hereinbefore provided, and...
  • § 156-11   Expense of repairs apportioned
    Besides the damages which the commissioners may assess against the petitioner for the privilege of cutting into such canal or ditch, they shall assess and...
  • § 156-12   Notice of making repairs
    Whenever the canals or ditches for the reparation of which more than one person shall be bound under the provisions of G.S. 156‑ 11 shall...
  • § 156-13   Judgment against owner in default; lien
    In case the person so notified shall make default, any of the others may perform his share of labor and recover against him the value...
  • § 156-14   Subsequent owners bound
    All persons to whom may descend, or who may otherwise own or occupy lands drained by any canal or ditch, for the privilege of cutting...
  • § 156-15   Amount of contribution for repair ascertained
    Whenever there shall be a dam, canal, or ditch, in the repairing and keeping up of which two or more persons shall be interested and...
  • § 156-16   Petition by servient owner against dominant owner
    Any person owning lands lying upon any creek, swamp, or other stream not navigable, which are subject to inundation and which cannot be conveniently drained...
  • § 156-17   Commissioners to examine lands and make report
    The commissioners, or a majority of them, on a day of which each proprietor is to be notified at least five days, shall meet on...
  • § 156-18   Cost of repairs enforced by judgment
    Whenever any such ditch, canal, or embankment shall need repairs or cleaning out, and any of the parties interested therein refuse to perform the labor...
  • § 156-19   Obstructing canal or ditch dug under agreement
    Where two or more persons have dug a canal or ditch along any natural drain or waterway under parol agreement, or otherwise, wherein all the...
  • § 156-20   Right of dominant owner to repair
    In the absence of any agreement for maintaining the efficiency of such ditch or canal, or should the servient owner neglect or refuse to clean...
  • § 156-21   Canal maintained for seven years presumed a necessity; drainage assessments declared liens
    After a canal has been dug along any natural depression or waterway and maintained for seven years, it shall be prima facie evidence of its...
  • § 156-22   Supplemental assessments to make up deficiency; vacancy appointments of assessment jurors
    The freeholders, commissioners or jurors, appointed in any application or proceeding filed or instituted under G.S. 156‑21 or any other section of Article 1 of...
  • § 156-23   Easement of drainage surrendered
    If any persons, or those claiming through or under them, who have cut any ditch or canal into which any other person has been permitted...
  • § 156-24   Obstructing drain cut by consent
    If any person shall stop or in any way obstruct the passage of the water in any ditch or canal having been cut through lands...
  • § 156-25   Protection of canals, ditches, and natural drains
    If any person shall fell any tree in any ditch, canal, or natural drainway of any farm, unless he shall remove the same and put...
  • § 156-26   Procedure upon agreement
    (a) Agreement; Names Filed. Whenever a majority of the landowners or the persons owning three fifths of all the lands in any well‑defined swamp or...
  • § 156-27   Recovery for benefits; payment of damages
    After the drainway herein provided for shall be completed the person, firm, or corporation cutting or digging the same shall be entitled to recover of...
  • § 156-28   Notice to landowners; assessments made by viewers
    After the completion of the main drainway, upon the application of the person, firm, or corporation, or their heirs or assigns, digging or cutting the...
  • § 156-29   Report filed; appeal and jury trial
    A report signed by two of the persons appointed as viewers shall be entered by the clerk as the report of the viewers. Any landowner...
  • § 156-30   Confirmation of report
    Unless an appeal is taken, the clerk of superior court shall confirm the report of the viewers. If exceptions are filed and no jury trial...
  • § 156-31   Payment in installments
    The amount to be recovered from any person as compensation for digging or cutting the drainway after the amount shall be definitely determined as herein...

Article 2 - Jurisdiction in County Commissioners.

  • § 156-32   Petition filed; board appointed; refusal to serve misdemeanor
    Upon the petition of three citizens in any county to the county commissioners, petitioning for the draining of any creek, swamp, or branch, either upon...
  • § 156-33   Duty of board; refusal to comply with their requirements misdemeanor
    The board provided for in G.S. 156‑32 shall meet at the call of the chairman and shall proceed to inspect and examine the lands as...
  • § 156-34   Report filed
    The board shall make a written report to the county commissioners showing all the acts and decisions of the board as to the length, depth,...
  • § 156-35   Owners to keep ditch open
    All persons whose lands shall be drained under the provisions of this Article shall keep the ditch on their lands clear of all rafts of...
  • § 156-36   Compensation of board
    The compensation of the board shall be as follows: The county surveyor shall receive three dollars ($3.00) per day and the other members shall receive...

Article 3 - Manner of Organization.

  • § 156-37   Petition filed in superior court
    Any proprietor in fee of swamplands, which cannot be drained except by cutting a canal through the lands of another or other proprietor in fee,...
  • § 156-38   Commissioners appointed; report required
    On the establishment by the petitioner of his allegations, the court shall appoint three persons as commissioners who, having been duly sworn, shall examine the...
  • § 156-39   Surveyor employed
    The commissioner may employ a surveyor to prepare the map required to accompany their report. (1868‑9, c. 164, s. 4; Code, s. 1313; Rev., s....
  • § 156-40   Confirmation of report
    If it appear that the lands on the lower level will be increased in value twenty‑five percent (25%) or upwards by the proposed improvement, within...
  • § 156-41   Proprietors become a corporation
    Upon a final adjudication, confirming the report, the proprietors of the several pieces of land adjudged to be benefited by the improvement shall be declared...
  • § 156-42   Organization; corporate name, officers and powers
    The clerk of the court of the county in which the proceeding is pending or any corporator, who is a petitioner, may call a meeting...
  • § 156-43   Incorporation of canal already constructed; commissioners; reports
    Whenever the proprietors of any canal already cut shall desire to become incorporated, any number of the proprietors, not less than one third in number,...

Article 4 - Rights and Liabilities in the Corporation.

  • § 156-44   Shares of stock annexed to land
    The ownership of the shares of stock is indissolubly annexed to the ownership of the pieces of land adjudged to be benefited by the improvement;...
  • § 156-45   Shareholders to pay assessments
    Every corporator shall be bound to obey the lawful bylaws of the company, and pay all dues lawfully assessed on him: Provided, he shall in...
  • § 156-46   Payment of dues entitles to use of canal
    Every corporator paying his dues legally assessed without regard to the number of his shares, shall be entitled to the full and free use of...
  • § 156-47   Rights of infant owners protected
    If any proprietor whose lands are adjudged to be benefited by a canal shall be an infant, no process shall be issued against him during...
  • § 156-48   Compensation for damage to lands
    If any proprietor of lands shall be damaged by any improvement proposed, the commissioners shall so report, and he shall be entitled to be compensated...
  • § 156-49   Dissolution of corporation
    If, from any cause, the canal or other improvement shall become or shall prove to be valueless, any corporator may apply as is provided in...
  • § 156-50   Laborer's lien for work on canal
    Whenever work or repair shall be done on such canal and any of the parties owning lands liable to be assessed for such work or...
  • § 156-51   Penalty for nonpayment of assessments
    Whenever any person whose lands have been adjudged liable to contribute to the maintenance or repair of such canal shall fail or refuse to pay...
  • § 156-52   Corporation authorized to issue bonds
    The corporations organized under this Subchapter are authorized to issue bonds to such an amount and in such denomination as they may elect, payable at...
  • § 156-53   Payment of bonds enforced
    Upon default of the payment of the interest or principal of such bonds, the holders of the bonds of the corporations organized under this Subchapter...

Article 5 - Establishment of Districts.

  • § 156-54   Jurisdiction to establish districts
    The clerk of the superior court of any county in the State of North Carolina shall have jurisdiction, power and authority to establish levee or...
  • § 156-55   Venue; special proceedings
    When the lands proposed to be drained and created into a drainage district are located in two or more counties, the clerk of the superior...
  • § 156-56   Petition filed
    A petition signed by a majority of the resident landowners in a proposed drainage district or by the owners of three fifths of all the...
  • § 156-57   Bond filed and summons issued
    Upon filing with the petition a bond for the amount of fifty dollars ($50.00) per mile for each mile of the ditch or proposed improvement,...
  • § 156-58   Publication in case of unknown owners
    If, at the time of the filing of the petition, or at any time subsequent thereto, it shall be made to appear to the court...
  • § 156-59   Board of viewers appointed by clerk
    The clerk shall, on the filing of petition and bond, appoint a disinterested and competent civil and drainage engineer and two resident freeholders of the...
  • § 156-60   Attorney for petitioners
    The petitioners shall select some learned attorney or attorneys to represent them, who shall prosecute the drainage proceeding and advise with the petitioners and board...
  • § 156-61   Estimate of expense and manner of payment; advancement of funds and repayment from assessments
    The clerk may make an estimate of the aggregate sum of money which shall appear to be necessary to pay all the expenses incident to...
  • § 156-62   Examination of lands and preliminary report
    The board of viewers shall proceed to examine the land described in the petition, and other land if necessary to locate properly such improvement or...
  • § 156-63   First hearing of preliminary report
    The clerk of the superior court shall consider this report. If the viewers report that the drainage is not practicable or that it will not...
  • § 156-64   Notice of further hearing
    If the petition is entertained by the court, notice shall be given by publication once a week for at least two consecutive weeks in some...
  • § 156-65   Further hearing, and district established
    At the date appointed for the hearing the court shall hear and determine any objections that may be offered to the report of the viewers....
  • § 156-66   Right of appeal
    Any person owning lands within the drainage or levee district which he thinks will not be benefited by the improvement and should not be included...
  • § 156-67   Condemnation of land
    If it shall be necessary to acquire a right‑of‑way or an outlet over and through lands not affected by the drainage, and the same cannot...
  • § 156-68   Complete survey ordered
    After the district is established the court shall refer the report of the engineer and viewers back to them to make a complete survey, plans,...
  • § 156-69   Nature of the survey; conservation and replacement of fish and wildlife habitat; structures to control and store water
    The engineer and viewers shall have power to employ such assistants as may be necessary to make a complete survey of the drainage district, and...
  • § 156-70   Assessment of damages
    It shall be the further duty of the engineer and viewers to assess the damages claimed by anyone that are justly right and due to...
  • § 156-70.1   When title deemed acquired for purpose of easements or rights-of-way; notice to landowner; claim for compensation; appeal
    The district shall be deemed to have acquired title for the purpose of easements or rights‑of‑way to those areas of land identified in the final...
  • § 156-71   Classification of lands and benefits
    It shall be the further duty of the engineer and viewers to personally examine the land in the district and classify it with reference to...
  • § 156-72   Extension of time for report
    In case the work is delayed by high water, sickness, or any other good cause, and the report is not completed at the time fixed...
  • § 156-73   Final report filed; notice of hearing
    When the final report is completed and filed it shall be examined by the court, and if it is found to be in due form...
  • § 156-74   Adjudication upon final report
    At the date set for hearing any landowner may appear in person or by counsel and file his objection in writing to the report of...
  • § 156-75   Appeal from final hearing
    Any landowner, party petitioner, or the drainage district may, within 10 days after the entry of an order or judgment by the clerk upon the...
  • § 156-76   Compensation of board of viewers
    The compensation of the engineer, including his necessary assistants, rodmen, and laborers, and also the compensation of the viewers, shall be fixed by the clerk....
  • § 156-77   Account of expenses filed
    The engineer and viewers shall keep an accurate account and report to the court the name and number of days each person was employed on...
  • § 156-78   Drainage record
    The clerk of the superior court shall provide a suitable book, to be known as the "Drainage Record," in which he shall transcribe every petition,...
  • § 156-78.1   Municipalities
    (a) Any municipality may participate in drainage district works or projects upon mutually agreeable terms relating to such matters as the construction, financing, maintenance and...

Article 6 - Drainage Commissioners.

  • § 156-79   Appointment and organization under original act
    After the drainage district has been declared established, as aforesaid, and the survey and plan therefor approved, the court shall appoint three persons, in the...
  • § 156-80   Name of districts
    The name of such drainage district shall constitute a part of its corporate name; for illustration, the board of drainage commissioners of Mecklenburg Drainage District,...
  • § 156-81   Appointment and organization under amended act
    (a) Method of Appointment. The manner of appointment shall be as follows: (1) If the drainage district shall lie solely within one county, the clerk...
  • § 156-81.1   Treasurer
    The appointing authority as determined by G.S. 156‑81 shall appoint a treasurer for the drainage district for a term not to exceed 12 months. The...
  • § 156-82   Validation of election of members of drainage commission
    All irregularities caused by failure of any officer whose duty it was to provide for the election of a member or members of board of...
  • § 156-82.1   Duties and powers of the board of drainage commissioners
    (a) The board of drainage commissioners shall proceed with the levying of assessments, issuance of bonds and construction of canals, water retardant structures and other...
  • § 156-82.2   Appointment of drainage commissioners
    Notwithstanding any other provision of law (including, where applicable, any special acts or local modification of general law), the General Assembly hereby appoints all sitting...
  • § 156-82.3   Validation of previous actions
    (a) All expenditures heretofore incurred, and all actions heretofore taken, by a drainage district for purposes authorized by this Chapter are hereby validated notwithstanding any...

Article 7 - Construction of Improvement.

  • § 156-83   Superintendent of construction
    The board of drainage commissioners shall appoint a competent drainage engineer of good repute as superintendent of construction. Such superintendent of construction shall furnish a...
  • § 156-84   Letting contracts
    The board of drainage commissioners shall cause notice to be given of the letting of the contract. The notice shall be posted at the courthouse...
  • § 156-85   Monthly estimates for work and payments thereon; final payment
    The superintendent in charge of construction shall make monthly estimates of the amount of work done, and furnish one copy to the contractor and file...
  • § 156-86   Failure of contractors; reletting
    If any contractor to whom such work has been let shall fail to perform the same according to the terms specified in his contract, action...
  • § 156-87   Right to enter upon lands; removal of timber
    In the construction of the work the contractor shall have the right to enter upon the lands necessary for this purpose and the right to...
  • § 156-88   Drainage across public or private ways
    Where any public ditch, drain or watercourse established under the provisions of this Subchapter crosses or, in the opinion of the board of viewers, should...
  • § 156-89   Drainage across railroads; procedure
    Whenever the engineer and the viewers in charge shall make a survey for the purpose of locating a public levee or drainage district or changing...
  • § 156-90   Notice to railroad
    The clerk of the superior court shall have notice served upon the railroad company of the time and place of the meeting to hear and...
  • § 156-91   Manner of construction across railroad
    (a) Duty of Railroad. After the contract is let and the actual construction is commenced, if the work is being done with a floating dredge,...
  • § 156-92   Control and repairs by drainage commissioners
    Whenever any improvement constructed under this Subchapter is completed it shall be under the control and supervision of the board of drainage commissioners. It shall...
  • § 156-93   Construction of lateral drains
    The owner of any land that has been assessed for the cost of the construction of any ditch, drain, or watercourse, as herein provided, shall...

Article 7A - Maintenance.

Article 7B - Improvement, Renovation, Enlargement and Extension of Canals, Structures and Boundaries.

Article 8 - Assessments and Bond Issue.

Article 9 - Adjustment of Delinquent Assessments.

Article 10 - Reports of Officers.

  • § 156-130   Drainage commissioners to make statements
    It shall be the duty of the commissioners of all drainage districts in the State of North Carolina organized under the provisions of the laws...
  • § 156-131   Annual report
    At the end of each fiscal year the board of commissioners of all drainage districts in the State of North Carolina shall file with the...
  • § 156-132   Penalty for failure
    Any board of commissioners of any drainage district in the State, and each of the members thereof, which shall fail or refuse to file the...
  • § 156-133   Auditor appointed; duties; compensation
    The clerk of the superior court for the county where the district was organized, shall annually appoint an intelligent and competent person of sufficient experience,...
  • § 156-134   Duties of the auditor
    The auditor for the drainage district will be required to examine the assessment roll and the records and accounts of the sheriff or tax collector...

Article 11 - General Provisions.

Article 12 - Protection of Public Health.