Rake Away Potential Street Flooding

rakeleavesWhen it rains in the Puget Sound region, it pours, and with millions of leaves falling from the trees this fall, the combination has the potential to cause localized street flooding. The Surface Water Management Division (SWM) is urging residents to help Federal Way prevent flooding by keeping neighborhood storm drains clear of leaves and debris. SWM crews work throughout the year to remove leaf litter and debris from the city’s 12,000 catch basins. However, one wet and windy storm can quickly drop enough leaves to clog street drains all across the city.

Adopting a catch basin in your neighborhood can help the City’s SWM maintenance staff keep up with the winter storms. All it takes is periodically checking neighborhood storm drains and removing leaves and debris that accumulate on the grate. The material can easily be disposed of in your yard waste container or compost bin.  Homeowners can also reduce storm-related flooding by raking up leaf litter around the yard and off sidewalks and placing it in a compost pile or yard waste bin. Remember never to rake or blow leaves from your property into the street.

Safety guidelines – Clear your drain only if it is safe.

  • Only clear drains next to the curb. Clear from curbside, not out in the street.
  • Watch out for traffic. Don’t clear drains that are in the middle of a street.
  • Be careful of standing water to avoid slipping or stepping on sharp objects.
  • If children are helping, make sure adults are supervising.
  • Don’t try to lift storm drain grates. They are very heavy.

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