DPW Implements Emergency Plans to Prepare for Possible Impact of Hurricane Irma
Friday Sep 8th, 2017
In anticipation that Hurricane Irma may affect the Baltimore area next week, the Baltimore City Department of Public Works (DPW) is taking steps to keep its around-the-clock water operations up and running.
“The process of providing safe drinking water to the 1.8 million people in the Baltimore region is a 24-hour operation that requires that DPW staff and facilities be ready to respond to all weather emergencies,” said DPW Director Rudolph S. Chow, P.E. “I also urge Baltimore residents to use this time to prepare for emergencies.”
According to the weather forecasts, it may be too early to determine the storm’s impact, if any, on the Baltimore region. However, at DPW it is never too early to implement plans to safeguard the continued operations of its water and wastewater facilities.
To ensure that the City’s water facilities are prepared to endure the expected rain, DPW is taking the following steps:
- Reviewing emergency plans
- Topping off chemical storage tanks
- Deploying generators
- Filling the water distribution system and keeping it as full as possible
- Checking storm drain inlets
- Fueling all vehicles and generators
- Performing preventive maintenance of any necessary equipment
Prepare for Emergencies
Citizens are advised to review their own emergency plans and be prepared with an emergency kit, and to have these supplies on hand to cope with any weather or other emergency:
- Extra, fresh batteries
- Portable radio
- Bottled water
- Canned foods
- Manual can opener
Additional emergency preparations include:
- Checking smoke detector batteries
- Having your furnace professionally inspected and cleaned to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning
- Maintaining proper ventilation in your vehicle
- Not using ovens or kerosene stoves for heat
- Not using portable generators in your house or boat
Baltimore residents should be especially mindful that power outages can lead to water pumping interruptions, and to always have bottled water on hand.
For more information on how to prepare for bad weather, visit the Mayor's Office of Emergency Management's website at https://emergency.baltimorecity.gov/.
Protecting the Waterways
Baltimore residents are urged to take precautions to make sure loose debris does not enter our waterways due to the storm. Trash and loose debris can also end up entering and clogging storm drains, leading to flooding. Animal waste, grease, oils, and other pollutants will also wash into the storm drains if not cleaned up before any heavy rain fall.
Clearing yard waste, leaves and trash from sidewalks, alleys, gutters, and storm drain inlets will keep this material out of the storm drains and out of nearby streams.
At this time of year leaves can also become a source of storm inlet blockage. Sweeping leaves and trash from sidewalks, alleys, gutters, and storm drain inlets will keep this material out of the drains.
Check your storm drain inlets. These are the grates along the curbs and in the alleys which allow water to enter the storm drain system, thus preventing flooding. If the drain appears to be blocked, please call 311 so DPW crews can address it.
Be aware of possible rising water along streams and in low-lying areas. Blocked storm drains may increase the potential for flooding at these locations.