DPW Prepares for Hurricane Florence

Press Release

In anticipation that Hurricane Florence may affect the Baltimore area later this week, the Baltimore City Department of Public Works (DPW) is taking steps to keep its around-the-clock water and sewer operations up and running.

“Providing safe drinking water to 1.8 million people in the Baltimore region 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 and help us by keeping storm drain inlets clear.”

According to current weather forecasts, it appears that the major part of the storm’s impact will be south of us. That does not mean that we are in the clear.  Hurricanes can shift direction at the last minute, and they can stall and inundate a region with days of heavy rainfall. That is why we are preparing for any situation. Citizens need to do the same.

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:

  • Flashlights (DO NOT use candles)
  • Extra, fresh batteries
  • Portable radio/TV
  • Bottled water
  • Canned foods
  • Manual can opener

In addition:

  • A full tank of gas
  • A portable generator (which should NEVER be used in your house or near open doors and windows)

Baltimore residents should be especially mindful that power outages can lead to water pumping interruptions, and to always have bottled water on hand for any possible emergency.

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 and Preventing Flooding

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 NOW 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.

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As previously reported, rain and snow on November 15, contributed to two sanitary sewer overflows of stormwater mixed with sewer water into the Jones Falls.  As an update, the final total for the overflow at 428 E. Preston Street for this rain event was 7.1 million gallons.  These releases occurred underground in structured overflows and did not spill into city streets. 

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Contact

Jeffrey Raymond
410-545-6541
[email protected]
Kurt Kocher
410-545-6541
[email protected]
Jennifer Combs
410-545-6541
[email protected]
After hours, weekends, or holidays please call 410-396-3100 for the duty officer

The Baltimore City Department of Public Works supports the health, environment, and economy of our City and region by cleaning our neighborhoods and waterways and providing its customers with safe drinking water and sustainable energy practices.