MSD clearing sewer inlets to prevent backups from rain, melting snow

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) – With the snow melting and rain falling, there is concern about the potential for serious flooding.

That concern is made even greater if drains are clogged or blocked with snow and ice or other debris.

That’s why MSD crews are out trying to remove snow and ice impeding sewer drains so the melting snow and rainwater have some place to go.

Thursday, 30 crews with about three workers each started the mammoth job. That’s triple the normal amount of crews that clear clogged inlets.

“We are very intently focused on getting as many inlets cleaned as possible. It’s a Herculean taskbut we’re getting it done. The biggest challenge is going to be the water actually making it to the inlet. We’re trying to make sure that the inlets are free and clear. But the water making its way to the inlet is also going to be a challenge as well,” said MSD spokesperson Lance LeComb.

Crews targeted 23 low lying areas where MSD knows there have drainage problems in the past.

Among those areas is Dryden Court and Dryden Avenue in north St. Louis, near Interstate 70. Several dozen homes there flooded back in June 2011 when an MSD pumping station along the Mississippi River failed.

Kelvin Murphy who lives on Dryden Avenue had four feet of water in his basement back in 2011. He applauds MSD for clearing the drains now, “It’s great on MSD's part. We’re happy that they’re working with us like that, showing some concern and doing just the basic things that can stop a major catastrophe like we had before.”

MSD services more than 130,000 inlets in St. Louis city and county.

They couldn’t get to all of them before the rain so they are asking residents for help.

“We’re asking them to go out to their inlets. If they can clean them themselves, please do so. If it’s strictly blocked up and you see a ponding let us know. If you see street flooding, let us know immediately,” explained LeComb.

Kelvin added, “We hope and pray that we don’t get too muchand it comes in increments.”

City street department crews helped MSD clear inlets Thursday and again Friday.

Additional MSD crews are on standby in case they’re needed after hours.

LeComb is also asking drivers to slow down because there may be water ponding on roadsand that could lead to cars hydroplaning.


  • Irritated Consumer

    MSD rep Cindy was nasty and unhelpful.
    I tried to warn her of pooling on a street, and gave her the nearest intersection. Since there were no houses near the address, I couldn’t give her an exact address. Giving an incorrect address would have been more confusing for the workers than giving the intersection.
    She wouldn’t take the info, demanding repeatedly for an address.

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