Driveway Approach & Culvert Permits

All culvert replacements are done by the Village of Brown Deer, Department of Public Works. An inspection of your existing culvert is necessary before completion or issuance of permit. Please contact the Department of Public Works to schedule a culvert inspection well in advance of drive replacement (10 working day minimum). Permit fees must be paid in advance of permit being issued; fees associated with culvert replacement will be billed following completion of work.

Drive Approach/ Culvert Installation – FAQ

What is a drive approach?

It is the section of driveway intended to provide access for vehicles from the roadway of a public street to private property.  

What is a culvert?

The culvert is the pipe that runs underneath your drive approach connecting the ditch on each side of the driveway. You own the culvert and driveway. 

What is a ditch?

The ditch is the storm sewer for the road and the properties that it runs along.  The ditch serves two purposes. First, it controls and carries rainwater from your property and street to the streams, channels and rivers and allows time for pollutants and fine particles to settle out.  

Why do some areas of the Village have curb and gutter and some have ditches?

The storm water management plan was designed for the Village as it was originally developed with the utilization of ditches.  Curb/gutter and storm sewers convey water more quickly and additional property is required for the creation of detention basins to store the water and remove pollutants and fine particles. Those areas of the Village with curb/ gutters and storm sewers had the costs paid by the businesses and homeowners as they purchased the property and built on it.

I do not have a culvert pipe- do I still need a permit?


I want to replace my driveway, what do I do?

  1. Contact the Department of Public Works (DPW) at (414)371-3020
  2. DPW personnel will do an inspection of your culvert pipe to determine if it needs to be replaced.  A permit application will be left at your property noting whether it is necessary to replace your culvert pipe as well as the permit fee.   If it is determined your pipe should be replaced an estimate for replacement will also be provided. The estimates provided are good for one year.
  3. Contact area pavement contractors for estimates. 
  4. Complete and return the permit application with the appropriate permit fee to Village Hall, 4800 W. Green Brook Drive, Brown Deer WI 53223 

Your permit is now active, and work will be scheduled. Permit work is scheduled in the order in which permits are received.

I submitted my permit application and paid my permit fee, now what?

  1. DPW Personnel will contact Digger’s Hotline to get the area of work surveyed and marked for underground utilities.
  2. Shortly (a few days) after your ditch is hotlined, DPW crews will arrive and remove the pavement over your culvert pipe.  Once the pavement is removed the removal and replacement of the culvert pipe will take place.  This process only takes a few hours, you will be notified in advance so you can move your vehicles out of the driveway.
  3. Once the new culvert pipe is placed a stone base will go over top to allow you to access your driveway.
  4. Contact your chosen contractor and schedule paving of your driveway and approach.
  5. Once paving is completed, contact the DPW (414)371-3020 for inspection and scheduling of finish work.

What is finish work?

To ensure proper storm water flow through your culvert pipe and ditch, some grading work and grass reseeding will likely need to take place next to the culvert pipe and extending along the ditch line.  This work takes place after paving to limit the amount of disruption to the area.

Wrapping up

Once your ditch has been shaped and reseeded the ground will feel soft in comparison to your established lawn.  The grass needs time to grow and establish roots.  Water your grass seed with a gentle sprinkler for 20 minutes per day on days it does not rain.  This is best done in the early morning or early evening hours. Avoid watering in the heat of midday as most of the water will evaporate.

Once the grass reaches 6-8” in height it is safe to mow.  Again, note that the ground will be softer until the new lawn is established.  

You may notice weeds growing in the newly shaped and seeded ditch; the weed seeds exist in the soil and cannot be screened out. Regular watering of the new grass will encourage good growth that will choke out the weeds.  You can also apply weed and feed to the area after two mowings.  Avoid spraying a weed killer or applying weed and feed too soon as it will kill the new grass as well.

If a large rain event occurs and washes out newly seeded areas, contact the DPW.

Settling up

If you had your culvert pipe replaced, you will receive an invoice early next year for the final amount owed. You have until October 15th to pay the invoice. Any amounts unpaid will be assessed to your tax bill.

Questions/ Clarifications?

Contact the Department of Public Works (DPW) (414)371.3020 or