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CityLink Seattle

How to Clear Storm Drains Safely

With the thaw on the way, the City is asking residents and businesses to locate nearby storm drains in the street and — if it’s safe — to clear them of snow and debris. It’s the single most important thing people can do to protect their property and prevent water from pooling and creating traffic hazards.

In Seattle, there are about 80,000 storm drains — far more than City crews can clear quickly.

Steps to safely clear storm drains:

  • Work with an adult family member or neighbor to clear storm drains
  • Dress for the weather – warm and comfortable clothing
  • Wear a safety vest or reflective gear
  • Be sure to check carefully for traffic before entering the street and have your partner watch for upcoming traffic
  • Use a rake or shovel to remove snow or debris away from the storm drain
  • Leaves and other debris should be collected and placed in garbage bags
  • Snow and ice should be shoveled away from the drain and toward the curb

If an inlet or street drain appears to be blocked by snow or debris, try to safely clear a channel to provide a path for the runoff. If the drain cannot be cleared, or if the cause of the blockage or flooding is uncertain, call Seattle Public Utilities at 206-386-1800.

Click here  to listen to  a message from Mayor Mike McGinn about clearing storm drains, and watch him clear his local drain.

Click here to watch a video from Seattle Public Utilties on clearing storm drains.