Storm Drain Maintenance

Do catch basins and storm drains get cleaned out?

Yes, but not every year. A Public Works Department two-person crew works year-round cleaning silt, trash and other deposited pollutants out of catch basins and storm drains. The crew operates a large vacuum truck which annually removes 250 cubic yards of debris from the storm drain system. Santa Rosa’s storm drain system includes over 320 miles of underground pipes and approximately 17,000 structures. Only a portion of the entire system can be cleaned each year. Anything left on paved areas can end up in the storm drain system. The City needs everyone’s help to keep trash and pollutants out of the drainage system to prevent flooding and protect downstream creeks.

Why doesn’t the City clean out catch basins right before a storm?

The City assigns two two-person crews to clean out catch basins before the winter rainy season. Although every catch basin cannot be cleaned before every storm due to budget restrictions, most years every catch basin is inspected before the onset of heavy winter storms. Public Works crews are also on call during storms and respond 24 hours a day to flooding complaints.

Why doesn’t the City install filters or screens in front of catch basins?

Filters or screens in front of catch basins are easily clogged with falling leaves and debris, potentially causing property damage and street flooding.

Why are storm water outfall grates removed in the Fall?

Grates in front of storm water outfalls are easily clogged with falling leaves and debris, potentially causing property damage and street flooding. Oscillating grates can remain year-round as they can slide away from the outfall.

Why isn’t a net/fence/barrier installed at the end of a storm drain channel?

A barrier at the end of a storm drain would significantly impede flow and could become clogged with materials washed down the storm drain. As a result, the barrier could cause property damage and street flooding.
Transportation and
Public Works

Municipal Services Center
69 Stony Circle
Santa Rosa, CA 95401


Monday - Friday
8:30am - 5:00pm

Weekends and After-Hours
Report a Flooded Street

Flood Prevention Maintenance

Things you can do at home to prevent flooding

  • Inspect and clean private drainage systems or encourage property managers to do so.
  • Pick up materials that may wash into storm drain inlets or gutters. Grass, leaves and other yard wastes clog the drainage system and pollute downstream waterways. Remember, ALL storm drains flow directly into local creeks.
  • Determine how water flows around your house by watching how water flows or accumulates during an average rainstorm.  Called the grading or slope, the angle of the ground can direct water to or from your house.  A little earth moving with a shovel can help direct water away from your house.
  • Inspect and clean Roof Gutters and Downspouts Regularly.
  • Invest in a battery-powered sump pump if there is a low spot under your house. Sump pumps let you pump water out of your home and can be an excellent defense against flooding — unless they’re powered by electricity and the power is out.

Before/During a Flood Event

  • Keep emergency supplies on hand (food, water, flashlights, portable radio, batteries, first aid kit, etc.).
  • Keep sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting, lumber and other emergency building materials handy for waterproofing.
  • Keep your car fueled.
  • Know safe routes from your home to high, safe ground.
  • Do not try to drive over a flooded road.
  • Avoid unnecessary trips.
  • Do not "sight see" in flooded areas.
  • Tune to your local radio and TV station for emergency information.
  • Do not try to cross a flowing stream where water is above your knees. Even water as low as 6 inches deep may cause you to be swept away by strong currents.

If you are driving and your car stalls, abandon it IMMEDIATELY and seek higher ground. Many deaths have resulted from attempts to move stalled vehicles.