Heavy rainfall or melting of a thick layer of snow can cause flooding, sewer backups and drainge issues on individual properties or in neighborhoods.  These events highlight the importance of taking steps ahead of time to be prepared for extremely wet weather.

City Utilities and property owners share the responsibility to prepare for wet weather events and the damage they may cause.

What you can do to prepare can do when heavy precipitation is expected:

  • Check and clean private drains on your property. These include driveway culverts, yard drains, gutters and downspouts.
  • Be sure to check the drains again after the rain starts to ensure they are working properly. While you may have cleared a grate or drain before a storm event, the rain or snowmelt may wash debris back over the drain which may cause flooding.
  • The building sewer between you house and the public sewer line is your responsibility. If you have trees in your yard, you may need to have your building sewer de-rooted to avoid sewer backups.
  • Install a backflow prevention device on your building sewer. This is a device you control, so even if the public sewer system is full, you can keep the sewage from coming into your home.
  • Make sure your sump pump is working.  If your have a sump pump that runs frequently even when it's not raining, consider an alternate power source in case the electricity goes out.
  • Respect the storm drain – it’s not a trash receptacle. Never dump anything down a storm drain and don’t use it to dispose of leaves, grass clippings or other yard waste.
  • If you see leaves, grass clippings, plastic bottles or other trash and debris in front of a storm drain, please clear the drain and bag the debris before the next rainfall. Removing the debris may help to minimize street flooding.
  • If you see sinkholes or if you know that a particular storm inlet never takes in water, call 311 to report the problem.
  • If you do experience flooding or a sewer backup, docclick here for information about how to clean-up following such an event.

Aging, damaged and undersized sanitary, combined and storm sewers may cause a variety of flooding and backup issues. City Utilities is investing millions of dollars to improve these systems. However, even when sewer and drainage systems are preforming at their best, some wet weather events will be too big for the public sewer system to handle.

What City Utilities is doing:

  • Investing in infrastructure
  • Rehabilitating sewers
  • Building new infrastructure to reduce the discharge of combined sanitary sewage and stormwater to the rivers when it rains
  • Regularly cleaning storm sewer inlets
  • Preventive sewer maintenance such as removing grease and roots that could cause blockages

News You Can Use -- information on this page is available as a pre-written newsletter article that you can post on your neighborhood association website or use in your newsletter.