Fallen Leaves Can Lead to Flooded Streets

Fall is here and with it brings all the things we love about the change of seasons including the return of the pumpkin spice latte (yes please!), crisp autumn hikes, spooky pumpkin carving, and enjoying the changing colorful landscape of the pacific northwest as the leaves provide a beautiful show of red, purple, yellow, and orange. As those leaves begin to fall, paired with an increase in stormy wet weather, they can become a combination that lead to clogged storm drains causing water to back up and flood neighborhood streets and sidewalks.

What Can You Do to Help Reduce Flooding In Your Neighborhood?

Rake Your Leaves

You can help prevent clogged storm drains by raking fallen leaves in your yard, sidewalk, or parking strip. Make it a fun neighborhood challenge to see who can rake the biggest pile!

Once gathered up, leaves can be used as a great source of free mulch for your garden which will decompose over time while improving your soil’s organic content, or you can dispose of them in your food and yard waste cart and we’ll happy to collect it for composting.

If you do find that you have more leaves and yard waste than can fit in your food and yard waste cart, SPU has you covered! This November, SPU is providing FREE extra yard waste collection for household customers, up to 10 extra bags for every collection throughout the month. Simply set out your extra yard waste next to your food and yard waste cart on your collection day.

SPU household customers can set out up to 10 bags of extra yard waste every collection date all November long for FREE!

Extra yard waste must be contained either in kraft paper bags or placed in an extra container that is clearly marked to indicate it contains extra yard waste. Please make sure your extra yard waste collection bags or container only contain yard waste, not food waste. Fallen branches and twigs can be set out for extra collection as well. These can be tied into bundles up to 4 feet long by 2 feet in diameter and tied with fiber twine. Do not use wire, nylon cording, or plastic banding. For more information on setting out extra yard waste visit our website.

Help Keep Storm Drains Clear

Another way you can help reduce flooding in your neighborhood is by safely clearing leaves and other debris from storm drains. Using a rake and dustpan or a shovel (not your hands!), make sure to work from the sidewalk instead of standing in the street. Once collected, leaves and other debris cleared from storm drains should go in your regular garbage, not your yard waste container due to the possibility of garbage and pollutants found in on road.

For those wanting to go the extra mile, they can join the many volunteers across the city that keep local storm drains clear of debris when they sign up to volunteer with The Adopt-A-Drain (AAD) Program! This tool lets you adopt a storm drain in your neighborhood and provides a valuable service to your community. Volunteers can request supplies and find other support materials as well.

Stay Safe During Wet Weather

Lastly, as the weather changes, please remember to stay safe! If you see flooding or sewer backups, report it by calling SPU’s Operations Response Center at (206) 386-1800. When you call, provide your name, address, contact information, the address of issue, and general information about the issue.

If you come across a clogged storm drain that can’t be cleared or is unsafe to clear, let us know! Using the Find It Fix It app, you can ensure that the right department will be alerted to the issue.

We hope you find this information helpful and that you have a fun filled fall. Thanks for raking your leaves and reducing flooding across Seattle!