Keep Leaves and Debris Off Storm Drains This Fall to Prevent Flooding

Published on October 13, 2022

Leaves and Flooding

Media Contact:
David Wolbrecht
Communications Program Manager
(425) 587-3021

With the start of autumn and long-range weather forecasts predicting more rain than usual, it’s more important than ever to keep Kirkland’s stormwater drainage system flowing freely.

“Kirkland’s stormwater system is designed to hold and carry water during storms to prevent flooding,” said Councilmember Amy Falcone. “However, heavy storms may exceed the system’s capacity, and some flooding may occur. City crews work hard to keep storm drains clear of leaves, but with over 15,000 drains in Kirkland, we could use your help.”

Fallen leaves pile up on storm drains on our streets, which blocks rainwater from draining.  When this happens, it can lead to neighborhood flooding. Flooding can cause safety concerns and property damage.

Kirkland residents and businesses are encouraged to take measures to prevent flooding and flood damage, including:

  • Clear leaves from neighborhood storm drains
    • Check storm drains near your home or business and make sure they are free of debris.
    • Use a rake to remove debris from storm drains and gutters. Dispose of leaves and branches in your gray yard waste cart.
    • Do not rake or blow leaves into the street. You could be billed for clean-up by the City if found doing so.
    • Never remove a grate from a storm drain. This does not unclog the drain and creates hazardous conditions.
    • Call 425-587-3900 if flooding is severe and you are unable to clear the storm drain.
  • Free extra yard waste pickup in November

From November 1 to 30, single family households in Kirkland can put out up to 5 extra yard waste bags or containers per collection day for free. Fill your gray cart first, then put out extra leaves in paper bags or durable containers labeled “yard waste.” Plastic bags are not accepted.

  • Prepare your property
    • Inspect and maintain any drainage structures, including roof gutters, on your property.
    • Do you have a sump pump on your property? Be sure to test it and make sure it is in good working order before a storm.

If your property is at risk of flooding and it is safe to do so, move items in your basement and garage to higher ground or raise them off the floor.