Work Underway To Clear Storm Drains

Wednesday, March 19th 2008, 6:59 pm
By: News On 6

The City of Tulsa deals with the problem of debris in the drains.  The News On 6's Emory Bryan reports city crews responded to more than 60 calls about blocked drains that were causing water to back up.

The problem is storm drains that are blocked by leaves and in some cases what's left of the limbs from the ice storm damage.  The city is working to clear it out both on the streets and in the creeks.

Two men had to wade out into some water to find a clogged storm drain and clear it off.  They were out with their truck all day Tuesday and most of the night, solving problem spots.

"We had a few close calls where it was getting close to peoples garages," said Vactor foreman Walter Bartmess.

The rain Tuesday was the heaviest since the ice storm.  That washed-off leaves and limbs into the storm drains.

"A lot of the limbs are from the ice storm and the leaves, that's just an ongoing problem," said Walter Bartmess.

It's a much more complicated job to clean out the creeks.  The City of Tulsa has two of machines that can crawl down into the water and they've been busy pulling out broken limbs that block the flow and back up the water.

"The creeks are not as visible as the streets, but everybody could see the limbs in the street and we had the same problem with the creeks," said Roy Teeters with Tulsa Public Works.

The city expects to be at the job of cleaning out the creeks for more than a year.  They have 400 miles of creeks to check and, in some cases, entire trees to pull out of the creek.  There is still a lot to do and a sense of urgency to get it done.

"We're trying to get those creeks cleaned out before the rains come this spring," said Roy Teeters.

The city has the larger creeks cleared already and now is responding to reports of blockages before going on to check and clear all the creeks in the city.

The city is asking people to clear off storm drains near their homes or, if they can't physically do it, report it to the city and they'll send someone out.

The drains are an important part of flood control and if they're blocked homes that may not seem likely to flood just might in the next storm.

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