‘Only rain down the drain’: Philadelphia officials remind residents to keep storm drains clear of leaves

Fallen leaves can clog storm drains and cause flooding. So, the Philadelphia Water Department is urging residents to keep leaves away from inlets.

A hand reaches out, holding a pile of leaves and removing it from a gutter

The Philadelphia Water Department urges residents to keep fallen leaves away from storm drainage areas. (Courtesy of Bigstock)

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The Philadelphia Water Department is urging residents to prevent clogged storm drains this fall and winter.

Fallen leaves can clog storm drains, which prevents runoff from entering sewers, and increases the risk of local street flooding.

The department encourages residents to help the workers who clean the city’s 75,000 inlets, which connect to treatment plants and local waterways. The department received 3,396 cleaning requests in the fiscal year beginning July 2022.

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“When you have all the leaves at once, it’s too much for anyone to get to. That’s when we ask for residents to help out,” said spokesman Brian Rademaekers..

He warns residents against raking leaves on top of storm drains and recommends removing leaves that are covering them.

“It’s just a good neighborly habit,” Rademaekers said.

He also advises residents against shoveling snow on top of inlets, because it can freeze up.

The water department said some residents use storm drains as trash receptacles, and it is warning against the practice. If caught, people who dump trash in storm drains can face a $300 to $25,000 fine.

“Nothing but rain should go into the drain,” Rademaekers said.

The Water Department encourages residents to learn more about inlets near them, as well as their local watersheds.

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