Howard County Executive Calvin Ball has pre-filed legislation that, if passed, will allow county workers to access streams on private property to remove debris that has the potential to cause flooding. As part of his Ellicott City Safe and Sound plan announced in December, Ball mandated more frequent inspections of streams, but those inspections are only on public property due to the limitations of current law.

The legislation empowers the county Department of Public Works to enter any building, structure, or premises to inspect streams and other waterways for debris, or to remove natural and man-made obstructions which could impede the passage of water during future rain events.

“The county will continue to negotiate with individual property owners for quick access to the location of debris,” said Jim Irvin, director of the Howard County Department of Public Works. “We believe this legislation will help to facilitate that process.”

The second part of the legislation clarifies existing authority for the county to prevent any illegal dumping. To learn more about the Ellicott City Safe and Sound program, visit