Floodwater Backing Up Storm Drains

Wednesday, June 27th 2007, 9:27 pm
By: News On 6

There are problems with floodwaters going down the storm drain in Tulsa. The heavy rain has led to backups that the city is working overtime to clear. Drains that are covered by trash can't carry the water they're supposed to handle. The last two weeks have been hard for the city of Tulsa workers that clean out the storm drains. The News On 6’s Emory Bryan reports not only is the rain carrying more debris into the system; the drains are most important now with the constant prospect of rain.

"We really have a good system,” said Mark Rogers of the City of Tulsa. “It's just the really intense rains that cause the street flooding that give us a problem."

At 45th and Braden, drains aren't flowing as they should. They've had the water backed up long enough for algae to grow on the streets, but the biggest part of the problem isn't here. It's a block away, and it's a big job to fix it.

The city can clean out the worst problems with a big truck. First they blast the clog with high pressure water, and then they suck out the debris with a giant vacuum.

Two men spent hours working on one clog.

"About 30 feet up the line, there's a pile of bricks and debris. We can't get through it," said Walter Bartmess of the City of Tulsa.

The truck has enough power to blow bricks out of the way, and then vacuum them up. But bricks are unusual. The most common problem is grass clippings and leaves that homeowners leave in the streets. They wash into the sewer and clog it up.

That's why the city encourages people to look for clogs and clean off the drain covers near their homes.

"No there's no mandate that they do that. It's just to take care of themselves and their neighborhoods,” said Rogers.

People who notice drainage problems in their neighborhood should report it on a 24-hour hotline. The number is 669-6100.

Watch the video: Area Storm Drains Backed Up