Last October, more than 100 businesses have participated in the mass storm drain cleaning. Namely four cities from Oregon – Gresham, Wood Village, Troutdale and Fairview – organized a program for businesses to avail a storm drain cleaning at a lesser cost. This was spearheaded by SCAP or the Storm Drain Cleaning Assistance program and started last October before the heavy rainy season. The organizing cities hired a private contractor to perform the storm drain cleaning. The participants only paid a fixed fee of $44 per drain which is a big difference from the usual charge, $130 or more.
The program was a big help especially for businesses who only have one or two drains to be cleaned. The savings is a big help especially for small businesses.
A storm drain or catch basin is common to every business’s parking lot. It looks like a metal grate and needs to be cleaned periodically to avoid flooding. Flooding is not very ideal for business since customers might have a hard time navigating through a flooded parking lot and may also cause accidents. The property owner is the one responsible for maintaining the storm drain, making sure that no dirt and debris are stuck inside that may carry pollution and contaminate the storm water system. It also helps in maintaining the water quality of the streams.
The $44 fee for the private contractor only covered the basic cleaning of the drains. Any additional maintenance work and repair was charged separately. The property owners were also given the option to take no action after the cleaning last October but required to fix the problem immediately. Storm drain cleaning is also another way to detect any problems in the drain system and be resolved before the heavy rains.
This storm drain cleaning program was only for storm drain privately owned by businesses since the cities are responsible for drains that are on public streets. Drains on public streets, on the other hand, are cleaned by the city’s public works department to ensure no flooding and road accidents. They also aim on keeping the water quality of streams and ground water.
Ever since 2003, Gresham has been offering this storm drain cleaning program to help businesses and a few years ago they included three other cities in the program. This type of program should be imitated by cities all over the world.