Letter to the editor: With spring rain, be prepared to prevent flooding

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To the editor:

The warm temperatures and sunshine are a welcome sight. As we prepare to work in the yard and flowerbeds, we also need to get ready for the rain. Here are some helpful tips.

First, make sure the road curb inlets are cleaned off. Over the winter, debris and leaves can get piled on top of them, causing the water to pond in the roadway. This debris needs to be cleaned up and not swept down the drain. In addition, when you mow your yard, do not blow or sweep the yard clippings into these drains. Most drains outlet to ponds or streams. By sweeping the debris into the drain, it could cause them to clog or wash chemicals into the ponds. The debris could also fill up the bottom of the ponds with silt and debris or cause algae.

The other thing to check is yard inlets or beehive grates. Look down in them to make sure the water is moving. We often find these to be blocked by tree roots, which causes the water not to flow. If you live on a retention pond, you should check the pipes into and out of the pond to make sure there are no trees growing on or near the pipes. In addition, make sure the water can flow in and out and there is not any debris, trash or weeds blocking the flow. If you live near an open ditch or stream, make sure the channel is open and not blocked by beaver dams or trees that have fallen over the winter.

You should check your gutters to make sure they are open and flowing and also check sump pumps to make sure they are working properly.

In addition, if you are in an area that is prone to flood make sure you have flood insurance. Most homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover flood damage. A new flood insurance policy takes 30 days to become effective. Waiting for the unknown or after the storm is too late. Talk with your local insurance agent or visit www.floodsmart.gov for more information. They also have information on being prepared for a flood.

If we do have a flood, do not drive through a flooded area or walk through flowing water. It only takes 6 inches to knock you off your feet. Stay away from power lines and electrical wires. Be alert to gas leaks and turn off gas. If your house does flood, remove all contents and drywall and flooring. To prevent future flooding, consider raising the structure or flood-proofing and flood vents.

Susan Bodkin


Susan Bodkin is the Hancock County surveyor.