City crews deal with draining dilemmas - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

City crews deal with draining dilemmas

WATERLOO (KWWL) -- The snow is melting, and the rain keeps falling. Which means many drivers are finding themselves splashing through pools of water as they head around street corners. Crews in every community are working around the clock to prevent draining dilemmas. But they're facing, what you might call, a downhill battle.

Soggy streets are nothing new for Waterloo Waste Management Superintendent Larry Smith.

"Every year. We're in Iowa, and this happens every year several times in the winter," he said.

When it rains, it's inevitable - snow and ice build up on the drains, and crews do their best to break it up, or melt it.

"Our last resort is to use salt to break that bond and get it to melt off," said Brian Heath, Manager of Cedar Falls Operations and Maintenance

In Cedar Falls, street crews take care of the bulk of the bogged up drains. And they do their best to clear the sludge, before the little lakes become a bigger problem.

"You don't want that ice to refreeze and start expanding and contracting in the pavement," said Heath.

In Waterloo, it's primarily Waste Management workers dealing with draining.

"There's about 375 miles of streets in Waterloo, and we have just about 7,300 catch basins."

In the past few years, their crew has been cut by two-thirds, leaving eight workers in charge of clearing clogged corners. Which means, if you divvy it out, every man on the team is responsible for more than 900 drains.

"We get the ones we know we have to get to first, then we fan out into the neighborhoods and try to get to all we can," Smith noted.

Needless to say, they appreciate a call if they've missed your corner.

"We got the guys out working on them. Whatever the weather, they'll be out there," Smith added.

Both Smith and Heath said this kind of minor build up is mainly just a nuisance. They're not worried about any major flooding, even as we head into the weekend.

Again, if you notice the water on your street is not draining, call the department listed below 24 hours a day.

If you live in Waterloo, give Waste Management a call at 317-291-4553.

Cedar Falls residents should contact the Police Department at 319-273-8612. They'll get in touch with Operations and Maintenance.

In Cedar Rapids, call Public Works at 319-286-5826

Online Reporter Colleen O'Shaughnessy

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