Leaves are falling; Please keep them away from storm drains

Published on October 16, 2023

Image of a storm drain with the words,

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. –  As leaves begin to fall this season, the City of Grand Rapids is reminding residents to be aware of catch basins, more commonly known as storm drains, when removing leaves from their yards.

Catch basins are storm sewer inlets designed to collect water during storm events; there are 17,000 of them across Grand Rapids. They are designed to filter out debris that would otherwise end up in the river. These basins are generally located next to street curbs, or in yards of residential areas and, while they generally catch large objects of debris, they are prone to becoming blocked with the leaves that invade our yards each fall. This can lead to unnecessary and unwelcomed street flooding. On average, and as part of a 5-year rotation effort, City crews clean 4,000 of the 17,000 catch basins annually. Residents can help in the prevention of street flooding by ensuring that their leaf raking (or blowing) efforts do not result in the blocking of the catch basins in their neighborhoods. CLICK HERE for some options for leaf removal offered by the City.

As part of their efforts to encourage residents to keep catch basins free of leaves and other debris, the City’s Department of Environmental Services (ESD) partners with the Lower Grand Rapids Organization of Watersheds (LGROW), an organization whose mission includes promoting and protecting the Grand River. LGROW also coordinates a regional year-round Adopt-A-Drain program, which encourages residents to take proactive action in their own neighborhoods “to protect the environment, manage stormwater, and minimize flooding.” Information on this program can be found here.

Residents are encouraged to follow ESD on Facebook for regular updates and important announcements.


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