Keep an eye on clogged storm drains to prevent flooding

A pedestrian walks through a flooded gutter in Los Angeles, Monday, Dec. 20, 2010.
A pedestrian walks through a flooded gutter in Los Angeles, Monday, Dec. 20, 2010. AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

Rain is in the forecast on-and-off over the next few days across Southern California.

Brian McCormick,  a wastewater manager with the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation, said it’s important to keep an eye on storm drains along curbs - which can often flood when they’re clogged.  

“We find a variety of things, mostly green waste - mud, stuff that people throw out of their cars – wrappers and cups - and things like that," he said.

McCormick said city workers clear storm drains on a regular basis in anticipation of the “wet” season. They also inspect wastewater pumping and treatment plants to make sure they’re ready to handle a surge of water.

Michelle Vargas of the L.A. Bureau of Sanitation said keeping the storm drains clear of trash also protects the environment.  

"If people do not take care of their trash, that all washes out to our waterways," she said.

She cited Ballona Creek as an example. There's a "trash net" in place there to catch debris from heading out to the ocean, but it doesn't necessarily catch smaller items, like leaves and  cigarette butts. 

 "For communities inland, it's an invisible issue," she said. "The ocean starts in your neighborhood, so to be a good environmental steward, you have to pick up after yourself." 

If you see flooded streets or clogged storm drains, you can report them to the LA Bureau of Sanitation by calling 3-1-1 or 213-485-7575.

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