Keep Leaves and Debris off Storm Drains this Fall to Prevent Flooding

Published on September 23, 2021

Keep Storm Drains Clear of Debris

Media Contact:
Joy Johnston
Interim Communications Program Manager
(425) 979-6562

KIRKLAND, Wash. – With the autumn season quickly approaching 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. 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, blocking rainwater from draining, which 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:

Prepare your property

  • Inspect and maintain any drainage structures, including roof gutters, on your property. Check to make sure that no debris is blocking the structure and water can flow freely.
  • 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. Consider installing a pump with battery backup in case of power outages.
  • 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.

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 drain and gutter. 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 bags of waste 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. Residents who would like to avoid a charge for yard waste extras in October are encouraged to save excess leaves that won’t fit in their cart until November.

Sandbag stations

Kirkland Public Works staff have positioned two free sandbag filling stations for community members who have concerns about localized flooding or have experienced it in the past. If you've experienced flooding in your neighborhood, you're encouraged to have a supply of sandbags on hand as a preparedness measure.

Each self-service station offers sand and bags that are free to Kirkland residents and businesses. Shovels are not provided, so be sure to bring your own. City-provided bags have attached tie-strings. The stations are located at the Public Works Maintenance Center (915 8th Street) parking lot, and at the North Kirkland Community Center (12421 103rd Ave. N.E.) parking lot. These two stations are accessible 24 hours a day.

More information about flood preparedness:

Kirkland’s Storm & Surface Water Division is updating the City’s Surface Water Master Plan and we need your input to develop an effective plan. Learn more on the Surface Water Master Plan Update webpage.


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