Clean out those storm drains! Photo by Ecoyards.
We had a nice break from the rain that hammered the Northwest the week of Thanksgiving, but more rain is in store this week. The National Weather Service says 100 percent chance of rain on Thursday and much of Friday. Yikes! That often means more clogged storm drains, soggy lawns, leaky basements, and plenty of areas in yards with puddles and small pools.
Time do a visual inspection to make sure your property is storm-proof!
1. Did you clear your storm drains of leaves and other debris? It’s shocking how much flooding and other traffic problems are caused by leaves and other yard debris. The city of Seattle has an Adopt-A-Drain volunteer program for those who want to help clear out drains in the city that are most prone to clogging. With 30,000 drains to monitor, the city could use all the help it can get. If you’re not looking for a volunteer commitment, take it upon yourself to clear out one or two drains closest to you. If the drain is still clogged after you remove all the debris, report the problem by calling the city drainage hotline at 206-386-1800.
2. Are your downspouts directed away from your crawl space or basement? Are your gutters cleaned out, clog-free and working properly? Make sure to direct the water flow away from your house foundation, but for goodness sake’s be a good neighbor and don’t aim that extra water at a neighboring property. And the city warns not to discharge the water over the edge of a steep hill. Makes sense, right?
3. Have you had flooding at your home in the past and need sandbags help redirect water from your property? If so, the city provides up to 25 free bags for every household or business from mid-October until supplies run out. You need to pick them up yourself, and they’re available at four locations in the city. Bring a friend or two to help. Sand is heavy.
3. Are there areas of the lawn or landscape that are too soggy? How big an area is it? If it’s a small area, you might be able to incorporate soil amendments such as compost that will drain water better. If the excessively wet area is much larger, you might have to consider installing a drainage system, such as a French drain or drainage pipes. If the conditions are right for it, you might want to consider installing a rain garden to help improve drainage.
4. Plan ahead. OK, we know rain and more rain is coming this winter. We’ve been getting a flood of calls lately from homeowners desperate for help installing French drains or have other water/leaky problems. Unfortunately, we have been inundated and won’t be able to get to everyone. It’s a busy time of year because so many Seattleites have drainage problems that often only surface during really rainy times. If you have an emergency flooding situation, certainly deal with it as soon as you can. But if you don’t, remind yourself next spring to think about about how you can improve your overall drainage. Can you improve soil? Use plants that can help erosion or are better suited for steep hills? Can you use another rain barrel or a bigger cistern to capture some of that rain? Are there areas of the yard where amending the soil _ therefore allowing it to absorb more water _ help prevent rain from just rushing off the surface? Give us a call in the spring if you want to put together a plan on how to tackle your flooding problems.
There are many reasons to improve the drainage on your property. For one, every bit of water that you prevent from getting into the city’s storm drains helps prevent the backup of sewage into Elliott Bay, the Duwamish River, or whichever water body is closest to you. Secondly, it may save you time and