Here Come the Rains – You Can Prevent Clogged Street Drains

Submitted  by Thurston County 
The fall monsoon will be upon us any day now — and when those first autumn rains hit, some 20,000 miles of drainage pipes and ditches and hundreds of thousands of street drains in King, Snohomish, Kitsap and Pierce counties will be put to the test.
Although public utility crews work hard throughout the year to maintain drainage systems and get them ready for the storm season, a single big fall gale with high winds and driving rain can clog an overwhelming number of street drains with fallen leaves and litter, in a matter of hours.
At such times, utility crews are literally swamped with work as they labor to clear clogged drains that can lead to flooded streets, potential property damage and dangerous driving conditions.  (Throughout the four-county area, it is estimated that there are several hundred thousand street drains—just in Seattle, there are nearly 80,000.)
The good news is that every year during the fall and winter storm season, people around the region pitch in to help keep street drains clear of debris and protect their neighborhoods from flooding.
Take Winter By Storm — a regional campaign to help people get prepared before bad weather strikes — is urging Western Washington residents to once again lend a helping hand to control stormwater in their yards and neighborhoods.
  • Among the steps residents and businesses can take to get ready for the storm season are:
  • Adopt a local street drain. Help prevent flooding in your neighborhood by raking drains free of debris.
  • When working in and around streets, be safe. Have a spotter to watch for traffic, and wear bright colors. Try and do your raking from the curbside. And never—under any circumstances— attempt to remove storm drain grates or manhole covers. If you don’t feel it’s safe to unclog a drain, or if you’ve dropped something down a street drain, please call your local public utility.
  • Maintain gutters, downspouts, rain barrels, private culverts — by keeping them clean, flowing and directed away from properties and hillsides.
  • Know the emergency hotline number for your local drainage utility to report sewer backups, major flooding and landslide issues.
  • Visit the Take Winter By Storm website,, for a downloadable house maintenance checklist which includes a number of other weatherization tips. is a one-stop emergency preparedness information hub that includes safety tips and regional resources related to high winds, heavy rain, snow, freezing conditions, power outages, flooding and more.
For more information on the Take Winter by Storm campaign:
  • Visit us online:
  • Like us on Facebook: Take Winter By Storm
  • Follow us on Twitter: @WinterByStorm, #stormready, #winterprep View us on YouTube: Take Winter By Storm
About Take Winter By Storm The Take Winter By Storm campaign is a collaborative, public-private effort between King, Pierce, Snohomish and Kitsap counties, Seattle Public Utilities and Seattle City Light, Snohomish County Public Utility District, the cities of Bellevue and Seattle, State Farm, National Weather Service/NOAA, and other local retailers – which represent Washington state’s largest counties and city emergency management offices and utilities, the leading insurer of homes and automobiles, weather forecasters, first responders during disaster occurrences and local businesses. These organizations have joined forces in the major multi-media public awareness campaign to raise community awareness of hazardous weather and help protect lives and property.
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