As the winter months approach, it’s important to think about how your city’s streets will be affected. Snow and ice on its own can cause an extensive amount of damage to asphalt, but that shouldn’t be your only concern. As the weather begins to get warmer next spring, the snow and ice will thaw, and if it the water doesn’t have anywhere to go, it could potentially flood the street. Your city probably has a sewer system or runoffs to keep water off of residential streets, and the time to make repairs is now—before the weather turns cold.

Create a Plan

Before you send out street crews to excess the sewer system and manholes throughout the city, you need to create a plan of attack. Not all manholes need to be replaced, and most of your city’s sewer systems probably work fine. So, spend some time reviewing information that you have on the streets themselves.

  • Have residents reported consistent street flooding throughout the spring and summer?
  • Are there streets in your city that gather large pools of water each time it rains?
  • Are there streets that don’t have access to your city’s sewer system? And, if so, do those streets have proper run-offs?

 

By reviewing the information that you have on hand, it’s easy to determine where your problem areas are—these are the areas where you should start your street inspections.

Inspection and Maintenance

Once you’ve determined which streets need immediate attention, schedule rounds of inspections and maintenance. It’s important to schedule the work during early fall—if you put it off and winter starts early, you might not be able to get the job done.

Have your street crews inspect manhole covers to ensure that they fit properly—and replace them if needed. They should also inspect the sewer system to make sure there isn’t anything blocking water from entering the grates.

If your city uses drywells to control storm water, your street crews need to inspect the grates frequently throughout the fall season. Typically, the land around the drywell grate is slightly sloped so that the storm water flows into the grate, preventing the street from flooding. However, leaves, twigs, and pine needles can get stuck in the grates and the water can’t enter the drywell. While cleaning the grates is important throughout the year, it’s especially important during the fall season when the leaves fall off the trees.

 

Ultimately, clearing grates and performing routine maintenance on sewer systems and manholes isn’t a task that you want your road crews to perform in the winter. By scheduling inspections, maintenance, and routine grate cleanings now, you’ll save yourself—and your residents—a lot of hassle next spring.