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CityLink Seattle

Prevent local flooding: keep storm drains clear

img_0260The first day of fall was September 22nd, and Seattle wrapped up the ninth month of the year with sunny skies. Now that we’re in the middle of October, however, the more turbulent side of fall has made its debut. Cue the rain and wind!

 

 

This time of year, storm drains can easily become overwhelmed with fallen leaves and the summer’s accumulated street debris, resulting in backed up gutters and drains, and localized flooding. In Seattle there are about 80,000 storm drains — far more than city crews can clear quickly.

This is where you can help! Look after a local storm drain or drainage ditch by keeping it clear of leaves, snow and other debris. (Make sure to stay safe by staying off the road and being aware of your surroundings.) After you rake your storm drain clear, you can set the bag of leaves next to your regular yard and food waste cart and SPU will pick up at no extra cost. Free extra yard waste pick up — for leaves cleared from storm drains — will run from November 1-30, 2016.

In addition to looking after a neighborhood storm drain, residents and businesses can take two other important steps to get ready for the storm season:

  • Maintain gutters, downspouts, rain barrels, and private culverts by keeping them clean, flowing and directed away from properties and hillsides.
  • Know the emergency hotline number to report sewer backups, major flooding and landslide issues for your local drainage utility. In Seattle, the number for reporting flooding issues is 386-1800.

For a wealth of information on preparing for bad weather, visit Take Winter by Storm. Take Winter by Storm is a one-stop emergency preparedness center that includes safety tips and regional resources for information about the weather, power outages, flooding, shelters and assistance agencies.

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