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Prevent street flooding by cleaning up leaves

When storm drains get clogged with wet fall leaves, it can cause streets and homes to flood. County officials are urging residents and landscapers to remove leaves from storm drains near their home and not blow leaves into the street or alley. Picking up leaves and yard waste before it rains can help prevent flooding problems in your neighborhood.

“This is a case where practicing preventative maintenance can go a long way,” said Harold Smelt, surface water manager for Pierce County Public Works and Utilities. “It really helps if people just take a moment to keep their yards and storm drains free of leaves to reduce the chance of flooding.”

If you notice a pile of leaves preventing water from entering a storm drain or culvert inlet:

• Remove the leaves with a rake and put them in your yard waste bin for pick up.

• If the blockage is in the traveled portion of a roadway with high traffic volume call (253) 798-6000.

• If you can’t clear the blockage or the storm drain still isn’t working properly report flooding problems on County roadways to (253) 798-6000; and report all other flooding problems in unincorporated Pierce County to (253) 798-4274.

Residents in cities and towns should contact their local public works department to report flooding or storm drain problems.

A list of local facilities that accept yard waste and leaves, often free-of-charge, can be found at For more information about facilities that accept yard waste, call 253-798-2179.


Teresa Lewis, outreach and education coordinator


Mary Powers, public information officer