Ask NOW: Who is responsible for cleaning storm sewer grates?

The city cleans sewer grates as part of its street-sweeping program. Leaves and other debris often clog these grates.
Published on: 7/26/2013

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Who is responsible for clearing rain grates?

Issue: A reader wrote to us saying that they noticed many city rain/sewer grates are obstructed with leaves and other debris and that some people actually try to stuff the debris into the grate rather than sweep it away. 'Are there any guidelines?' the reader asked.

Status: Keeping grates free of debris is addressed in the regular year-round street-sweeping operation, Director of Public Works Bill Porter said. He pointed out that natural debris and other obststructions include spring seeds, fall leaves and winter ice.

Porter said the city encourages residents who are concerned to help by removing debris they see clogging grate entrances.

'If they find clogged grates, they can help by removing whatever is there and putting it on the parkway or putting it in their regular trash,' Porter said. 'Of course, they can always call the city if there is a big problem, and we will address that.'

One warning: Porter said it is not a good idea to go out in an active storm to remove the debris.

'Standing on or near metal grates in a lightning storm is not a good idea,' he said.

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