Keep fallen leaves out of streets and storm drains to prevent flooding.
How we're helping
City of Bothell has over 8,200 storm drains. During this time of year, our Storm Operations crew runs both of our street sweepers seven days a week to help remove leaves from 311 lane miles of streets. Their efforts make a major difference in the amount of leaves left in the streets, but they can't be everywhere at once. We also need your help to keep the storm drains near your house clear before and during rainy weather.
Click each section below for information about how you can help, what to do with fallen leaves, how to report a clogged storm drain, and how to stay safe in a flood.
How you can help
The storm drains in your street catch, move, and release rainwater into the nearest stream to keep excess water away from your property. But fallen leaves and other debris can cause localized flooding if they cover those storm drains. Blowing or sweeping fallen leaves into the street makes them a safety and stormwater hazard to your property and your neighborhood. You can help prevent this from happening by removing leaves from the street and storm drains near your property, usually with a rake. Here are some safety guidelines to keep in mind:
Don't rake leaves towards the street
Avoid raking leaves near the street where they can wash or get blown into nearby storm drains.
Watch for traffic
Be careful when clearing leaves out of storm drains. Work from the curb, not in the street, and make sure an adult supervises any children who are helping.
What to do with fallen leaves
Don't blow them into the street or gutter
Make sure you or any landscaping companies that you or your Home Owners Association hire do not blow leaves into the street, as it is prohibited by Bothell Municipal Code 8.44.150: "Sweeping litter into gutter prohibited. No person shall sweep into or deposit in any gutter, street, alley, or other public place the accumulation of litter from any building or lot or from any public or private sidewalk or driveway. Persons owning or occupying property shall keep the sidewalks in front of their premises free of litter. (Ord. 697 § 9, 1973)." If your neighbor is blowing leaves or other yard debris into the street, please fill out a customer action request so we can follow up.
Turn them into beneficial compost
Autumn leaves are a great source of high-carbon material for your compost pile. Alternate layers of shredded leaves with the other materials you normally add to your compost pile (scraps from fruits and veggies, grass clippings, weeds, etc.) and let it sit over the winter. Whenever you think about it, aerate or turn the pile. Your compost will be ready to use by spring. Learn more about natural yard care methods.
Use them as mulch
Shred leaves and use them as mulch on vegetable gardens and flower beds, around trees and shrubs, and in containers. Just add a 2" to 3" layer of shredded leaves to the beds, keeping the mulch from directly touching the stems and trunks of the plants. The mulch retains moisture in the soil, stays cool, and limits weed seed germination.
Leave the leaves
Use a mulching mower to shred your leaves once a week until they have all fallen, then "leave" them on your yard. While the leaves break down during winter, they'll shade your soil and provide it with nutrients, which means fewer weeds to deal with in spring.
Save a bag or two of leaves in your garage over the winter. In spring, adding that brown material to your compost pile makes your compost just right for the season.
Adopt your storm drain
Help out your whole neighborhood by joining the Adopt-a-Drain program and agreeing to keep at least one nearby storm drain clear throughout the year, but especially during the rainy season.
Report clogged storm drains
Is raking debris away from the storm drain not doing the trick?
- During normal business hours, please report clogged storm drains and flooding to 425-488-0118 (press 1) or online at www.bothellwa.gov/car.
- If reporting after business hours, call 425-486-1254.
If the flooding is an emergency, immediately call 9-1-1.
How you can stay safe in a flood
Because of how much rainfall we get in the Pacific Northwest, flooding is a common regional problem. If you have flooding concerns, prepare ahead of time to reduce damage and keep your family safe
- Store household chemicals at higher elevations to keep them out of flood waters, especially in garages, sheds, and basements.
- Make sure any underground storage tanks are fully sealed and secure.
- Have a plan and make an emergency kit.
- Have check valves installed in building sewer traps to prevent flood waters from backing up in sewer drains.
- Stay out of floodwaters, as they contain many things that may harm health.
- After a flood, learn how to get rid of mold.