Drain Blockage Leads to Major Flooding Issues for Corvallis

Flooding in Corvallis’ Timberhill Area; photo by Charles Weaver

On Monday, November 19th, as rain beat down, the east entrance of Huckleberry Drive in north Corvallis slowly filled up with water. The city was called, but the deluge had resulted in over 40 phone calls for assistance across Corvallis, and Huckleberry was deemed a low priority. Meanwhile, the flow of water rose over the curb, past the sidewalk, and streamed down the alley and into the garages of the townhomes at the bottom of the street.

Huckleberry Drive was overflowing, but the water detention pond mere steps away on 29th and Huckleberry—“which provides stormwater drainage from all communities ‘uphill’ from the pond” according to the Meadows at Timberhill HOA Board of Directors—was empty. Residents investigated and found the detention pond’s grate clogged with leaves and detritus. Once cleared of the debris—there wasn’t much, actually, just enough to cover the pipe’s opening—water sprayed from the grate in torrents. Within minutes, the water detention pond was full, and Huckleberry Drive was drained. The flooded garages, however, would still need bailing out for at least another hour.

So much havoc, wreaked by a pile of leaves. The current street-side leaf pickup makes stormwater catch basins prone to carrying along not just water, but also detritus that can clog important grates like the one for Huckleberry’s water detention pond. As demonstrated on November 19th, it doesn’t take much blockage to create a lot of damage. Until all the leaves are shed and off the streets, detritus buildup will still be a threat.

The city’s flood preparedness mailer that was sent out last week briefly mentions the importance of keeping street side catch basins clear of debris, but it bears repeating: curbside waste is a major contributor to street flooding and clogged storm drains. If you see a catch basin covered by leaves, please clear it (do not reach inside or move the grate). If the catch basin is still clogged, call Public Works at (541) 766-6916. You just may avert a disaster.

 by Mica Habarad

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