Ask Not What the Sewer Can Do for You

Ask what you should do with this shovel.

Government entities large and small are cutting services, and the City of Seattle is applying that ethos to storm drains and sewers, just as they're becoming leaf-clogged and prone to flooding in our typically damp autumn weather.According to Seattle Public Utilities, "Urban residents can play a key role in preventing flooding by adopting a street drain." If we don't help, disaster will ensue! In exchange for backbreaking labor and constant vigilance, the city will provide "rakes, bags, gloves, shovels, brooms, and dustpans—helping keep the city's more than 80,000 storm drains clear." (Where were those shovels during Snowpocalypse, when we really needed them?)To demonstrate the city's new "Take Winter by Storm" initiative (, fifth-graders from Seattle's Leschi Elementary School have taken shovels in hand to "reduce the risk of urban flooding by adopting a local street drain." That leaves, oh, 79,999 more such volunteer opportunities for us comparatively selfish adults.The city also admonishes us not to "put grass clippings, leaves, or other debris into drains, ditches, creeks, culverts, gutters, or ravines (it's against the law)." This is where rakes and shovels aren't enough. Clearly, guns and deputy's badges should be handed out, too, to allow the citizenry to protect itself against this annual scourge.So won't you please adopt a drain? City operators are standing by at 684-7647 or See that adorable grate, surrounded by dangerous leaves? It's waiting for you.

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