By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
ALLEN PARK – Residents can prevent street flooding by bagging fall leaves instead of raking them into streets, Department of Public Works Supervisor Matt Dohring said at the Oct. 9 City Council meeting.
Dohring said the city has ordinances against blowing leaves into the street, and the rain that fell recently caused residential street flooding because catch basins were filled with leaves.
He explained that the storm drains and sewage systems are not connected.
“If your street is flooding, your basement is not going to flood,” Dohring said. “These are two separate systems. Your storm drain is out in the street, and the sanitary is off the back of your house.”
He said the DPW gets more than 100 calls during a seasonal rain.
“Callers are screaming and yelling, ‘We are tax payers. Get our here and clean out the drain,’” Dohring said.
He said he recently spotted an 85-year-old woman raking leaves that were blocking the storm drain near her house, and when he stopped to help her, she waved him off, saying she had the situation under control, and had been unclogging the drain as long as she had lived in the neighborhood.
“The contractors, blowing it back in the street, they are the big ones,” Dohring said. “I finally talked to a contractor today and gave him a piece of my mind. I said, ‘We just cleaned these streets.’ They don’t care.”
He said that there are ordinances against blowing yard waste into the street, and residents need to tell their neighbors and contractors about the need to prevent catch basin clogging.
Dohring said they have stepped up street sweeping more than in the past, but the task is enormous if residents don’t bag leaves and other yard waste, preventing it from ending up in the street.
“We are finding grass in all of the drains,” Dohring said. “That is not coming from the trees. That is coming from everyone blowing their yard waste into the street.”
Dohring encouraged residents to help neighbors clean the storm water catch basins on their street.
“It just takes a simple thing to stop the streets from flooding,” he said. “We do have a great city. Just take pride in it, and rake your catch basin off to stop your street from flooding.”
He said until the leaves are all off the trees, rain will need to reach the catch basins.
“Clean up in front of your house,” Dohring urged residents. “It doesn’t take long to rake the catch basin. Help your neighbor.”
(Sue Suchyta can be reached at [email protected])