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Published on Saturday, January 11, 2014

The tripling of crews to clear inlets over the past 48+ hours worked. Yesterday’s rains moved in about midday and we came through everything okay. Only 130 calls for weather related problems – given the conditions, a low number. That low number would not have been possible without the assistance of many: mostly importantly our customers, who took it upon themselves to clear inlets so MSD crews could focus on critical areas; the St. Louis County Municipal League who got the word out to their members; the many County municipal public works departments that committed their people to the effort; the City of St. Louis Street Department, who cleared inlets while their crews were plowing Thursday night into Friday morning, and, when they were done, kept on clearing inlets; and our MSD crews who worked tirelessly, performing back breaking work at thousands of locations throughout the City and County. Thank you everyone!

We will certainly not take undue pride in the low number, as we know Mother Nature had a large role to play in this. Our service area did not receive the intense downpours (ie, a ½ inch or more of rain falling within a short timeframe), that were possible. If that had happened, the situation would certainly have been worse and the calls higher.

To our customers whose calls we were not able to respond to, our sincerest apologies. Many of you called and, due to the location of your inlets and other factors, we could not respond and continued our focus on the 23 critical areas where we know problems exist during heavy rain falls. It was a very tough decision and we are sorry we couldn't do more for you.



Now that higher temperatures are rolling in, we highly recommend all homeowners undertake a few significant steps this weekend:  

* Downspouts:  Make sure downspouts are clear and directed away from your home. If you can, dig them out of snow piles and allow them clear access to drain. As snow is shoveled or cleared using snow blowers, downspouts can often be dislodged or damaged. Misdirected downspouts can direct water toward a home, causing flooding within the structure or foundation damage.

* Window Wells:  Many homes have window wells outside their basement windows.  If you can, clear snow from window wells. Be sure they are free of ice, leaves, and other debris so they can drain properly and quickly as possible.  If water accumulates, it presses up against the basement window, which in-turn seeps into or even floods the basement.

* Stairwell Drains:  Homes that can be entered through a basement door will have a drain at the bottom of the stairwell. If you can, clear snow from these drains and be sure they are not blocked and are clear of ice, leaves, and other debris.  If water accumulates in the stairwell, it can seep into or even flood the basement.

The overall goal is to make sure that rainwater/snow melt is directed away from your home and its foundation as best as possible.