MSD Ready for Storms

Offers tips to protect homes and property from heavy rainfall

April 28, 2017 | 3 min reading time

This article is 3 years old. It was published on April 28, 2017.

With heavy rain forecasted over the next few days for the St. Louis region, Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District (MSD) crews are doing normal/proactive maintenance work and responding to customer calls as received. With over a 160,000 street inlets and almost 10,000 miles of sewers to maintain, MSD works year round to ensure the sewer system is ready as possible for inclement weather. As extreme rainfalls are possible with upcoming storms, MSD will have additional crews on stand-by in the event extra personnel are needed to respond to customer calls.

If you experience a basement backup this weekend please contact MSD’s 24-hour customer service number at 314-768-6240 or email us at MSD has assistance programs in place for basement backups.

With the forecast calling for several inches of rain throughout the weekend we are also urging residents to be aware of their surroundings and to make sure that drainage ways are clear of any debris that could cause inlets to become blocked. MSD is not a flood authority, but we are aware that residents do turn to us during these times. MSD does not cover or have assistance programs for overland flooding. Therefore we want to remind residents in our service area to be aware that localize flooding can occur and the impacts of flooding can be costly. MSD urges everyone to visit to find out more information about their flood risk level, so that residents are equipped with the tools and knowledge when it comes to floods.

If you notice ponding or flooding on streets due to a blocked inlet during rainfall, please contact MSD’s 24-hour customer service number at (314) 768-6260 or email us at (If drivers should come upon a flooded street, MSD wishes to remind the public that it’s not worth taking a chance – turn around a use an alternate route to your destination.)

MSD is also offering tips on steps homeowners can take to help protect their property from the possibly heavy rains.

Tips for Homeowners

  • Be sure gutters are free of leaves, branches, and other blockages:  Blocked gutters can cause water to cascade down the side of a structure or pond on a roof, both of which can cause rainwater to enter a home.

  • Clear downspouts and make sure they are directed away from your house.: Misdirected downspouts can focus water toward a home, causing flooding within the structure or foundation damage.

  • Clean window wells: Many homes have window wells outside their basement windows. Be sure these areas are free of leaves and other debris so they can drain properly and as quickly as possible. If water accumulates, it presses up against the basement window, which in turn can seep into or even flood your basement.

  • Clean stairwell drains: Homes that can be entered through a basement door will have a drain at the bottom of the stairwell. Make sure this drain is not blocked and is clear of leaves and other debris. Water accumulating in a stairwell can seep in and flood your basement.

  • Check sump pump drainage hoses: Water from a sump pump should drain away from the house so that it does not flow back into the basement. Many sump pumps incorrectly lead to the basement drain – the pump’s drain should lead outside. It’s a good idea to have a backup pump in case the primary pump fails.

  • Clear drainage paths on your property: In many parts of our community, small creeks, streams, and other waterways provide stormwater drainage. Ensure that the path rainwater travels from your property to drain into these waterways is clear of possible blockages. Portable pools, loose recreational equipment, piles of yard debris (grass clippings, branches, etc.), and the like can block these drainage ways and stop water from draining as quickly as possible from your property. Remove these possible blockages and ensure that rainwater has an unimpeded flow to the waterway.

  • Limit indoor water use:  By limiting the use of dishwashers, washing machines, bathtubs, and the like during intense rainfalls, less demand will be put on the sewer system. In those parts of our service area with sewers handling both wastewater and stormwater, the ability to handle stormwater will be increased.

  • Clear streets and other areas of debris:  Leaves, plastic bottles, branches, and other debris can easily block inlets. When high intensity rainstorms hit, these items are washed into the inlets. Items that make it into the sewer decrease the amount of water that can be handled. Items that don’t go into the sewer block inlets, which in-turn causes street and other localized flooding.

  • Keep local creeks & streams clear: Local creeks, streams, and other waterways provide stormwater drainage for many parts of our community. The vast majority of these waterways are private property. Thus, responsibility to keep these waterways maintained and clear falls on adjacent property owners or subdivisions as a whole. Ensuring that these waterways are clear of grass clippings, branches, fallen trees, and other debris will allow rainwater to be carried away as quickly as possible.

While MSD cannot address ponding or flooding issues unrelated to the sewer system, calls for flooded streets due to blocked inlets will be responded to as quickly as possible and on a priority basis.

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