Hamilton asks: Want to adopt a storm-sewer catchbasin?

Hamilton officials are asking residents and business people to “adopt” storm-sewer catchbasins near them to help keep them clear of trash and leaves, to prevent flooding of streets and private properties after storms.

Catchbasins are those drains along curbs on streets that usually have grills that filter out leaves and other debris, keeping them from entering the storm-water pipes, which eventually lead the rain water to the Great Miami River. Even small amounts of debris can cause street flooding, sometimes backing the water into yards and buildings.

Hamilton has more than 7,500 catchbasins throughout the city.

“It’s imperative that we keep those drains clean of debris, whether leaves, trash, what have you,” Michael Gurr, senior project manager for Hamilton’s Public Works Infrastructure team. Gurr himself has adopted one near the city garage.

Hamilton has four full-time employees who manage sewers in the city. Last year they cleaned 416 catchbasins. The city also spent $156,000 in storm-system maintenance and $240,000 on street sweeping last year.

To sign up, people can go to www.Hamilton-oh.gov/adoptabasin and provide their name, address and an email address. There is no cost to participate.

Mayor Pat Moeller brought the idea to the city’s attention last year, based on what other cities have been doing. Those cities include New Orleans; Jersey City, N.J.; Seattle; and Grand River, Mich.

Since some severe flooding of parts of Hamilton’s West Side during 2016, “the city has aggressively looked at ways to help remedy street flooding and/or sewer backups that potentially impact private property as well as the streets themselves,” Gurr said.

Explore2 Hamilton sewer projects: one finished, one underway

Steps the city has taken have included installing larger storm-sewer pipes near trouble spots and using video inside the storm sewers to identify trouble spots, such as clogs or broken pipes that were contributing to flooding.

More than five dozen catchbasins already have been adopted.

Moeller said he went online a couple weeks ago and adopted two and found the process easy.

Council member Susan Vaughn also has adopted a couple.

“It’s easy. When I walk, I just take a bag, and I pick up trash and leaves,” she said.

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