Knox County Tennessee

Frequently Asked Questions

Drainage, Flooding & Erosion Problems on Private Property

  • How do I report a Drainage or Erosion problem at my private property?  
    Go here
  • There is a debris jam in the stream next to my property. Will the County remove it?

    Only if it is causing flooding to a public road; otherwise it is up to the property owner to address log and other debris jams.

  • There is a development near me causing my property to flood. Who do I call?

    Knox County Engineering & Public Works is the local regulating agency for new developments. If you are having an issue with a new development please email or call (865) 215-5800 and ask for Construction Services.

Illicit Discharges

  • What is an Illicit Discharge?

  • What is a Special Pollution Abatement Permit (SPAP) and does my business need one?

    A SPAP is required for new development and redevelopment where the land uses are considered to be pollutant “hot spots” or have a higher than normal potential to pollute.  Currently, this includes Food Handling and Processing Facilities, Automotive and Associated Facilities, and Large Parking Lot Facilities (over 400 spaces or 120,000 square ft.).  Also, a SPAP may be required for existing businesses that are in violation of the Stormwater Ordinance or if there is a land use that is not in the ordinance, but deemed by the Director to have the potential to generate highly contaminated runoff. Click here to view the SPAP permit forms on our website.

  • Will Knox County come test my stream and/or tap water for pollutants or contaminants?

    No, Knox County does not do citizen stream or tap water sampling. Call your local utility for more information on water sampling / testing.

Ongoing Stormwater Management on Private Property

  • Will Knox County maintain the detention pond or any other water quality facility that is on my property or any other private property?

    No, Knox County only maintains the publicly owned right-of-ways.  It is up to the property owner to maintain any water quality facility that is on their property.  This includes HOA owned common areas.  Knox County Stormwater Dept. will come out and give recommendations on problems or maintenance issues you may have with your water quality facility. For more information on how to maintain permanent stormwater control structures, such as detention ponds and grassed swales, click here.

  • What are Maintenance Agreements and Operations and Maintenance Plans? How do I know if I have one associated with my property?

Wildlife on Private Property

  • Will the County remove beavers or other wildlife from my property?

    No. Various nuisance wildlife companies in the local area may be able to help you for a fee. We recommend searching “Nuisance Wildlife Knoxville TN” in your search browser.

Adjacent Landowners

  • Can my neighbor direct his gutters toward my property?

    Technically, yes. In most planned residential subdivisions the lot lines are drainage easements reserved to direct rain water runoff. We recommend that neighbors be thoughtful about where they direct their gutters, giving preference to open space or vegetated areas. Options to slow or inhibit the flow of offsite rainwater include capturing it with a rain barrel, extending downspouts with cost-effective gutter extensions, planting a rain garden, or routing downspouts to shared drainage easements or grassed swales between property lines.

  • Can my neighbor drain their pool into my yard?

    Residents can drain their pool and other non-potable water such as irrigation systems into the drainage easements between houses; however, the water must be free of pollutants. Swimming pool water must be dechlorinated before discharging it downstream. Long term discharges may need a permit from the State Department of Environment & Conservation (TDEC).


  • Will Knox County clean up my creek?

    The county will help you organize a creek clean up on your property via the Adopt-a-Stream program. Knox County discourages any kind of dredging of a creek. You need to obtain an Aquatic Resource Alteration Permit (ARAP) from the State of Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation (TDEC) to remove material from a stream bed.

  • Do I need a permit to alter drainage on my property?

    Maybe, it depends on the alteration. Any significant change within a drainage easement may need a permit. To find out if you need a permit click here or call 215-5540

  • The pipe under the road is clogged. Who do I call to clean it?

    Drainage infrastructure within the Public Road Right-of-Way is the responsibility of the municipality to maintain. Please call the Knox County Highway Department at (865) 215-5800 if you notice an issue with the drainage system on a public road.