In San Francisco, we have a combined system that collects both stormwater and sewage in the same set of pipes. When the system reaches capacity in heavy rains, we can experience street flooding (especially in low-lying areas that used to be creeks or bays) and property damage. No sewer system, including San Francisco's, can be designed to manage all stormwater in ALL storms.
How City Crews Get Rain Ready
Year-round, SFPUC preventative operations and maintenance crews work hard to prepare for the rainy season by inspecting, cleaning, repairing, and replacing aging sewer infrastructure. Throughout the rainy season, our Storm Watch team is dedicated to monitoring the weather closely. They specially monitor low-lying neighborhoods on a regular basis (even in the middle of the night and on weekends), and more frequently during storms. Crews are ready to respond by clearing away dirt and leaves off the top of the catch basins and vacuuming out debris using giant (vac-con) trucks.
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Help Us Keep San Francisco's 25,000 Storm Drains Clean: Adopt a Drain
Keeping storm drains and catch basins clear of leaves and debris helps avoid flooding and enables stormwater to drain properly. Find out more and adopt a drain.
Expecting a Rainstorm? Plan, Prepare and Protect
While our crews are busy preparing the city for rain, you can take steps to prepare yourself, your home or business for major rain events
and help minimize damage when a big storm occurs.
- Apply for our Floodwater Grant and get reimbursed for implementing improvements on your property that reduce flood risk.
- Purchase low cost affordable flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program, administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to cover flood damage to buildings and personal belongings.
|Sign Up for Weather Alerts
One of the most trusted weather alert services is The National Weather Service (NWS). For a listing of alternative sources of weather alerts, whether on your phone or via email, please visit http://www.weather.gov/subscribe.
| Pick Up Free Sandbags
Sandbags can play an important role in protecting your home or business from heavy rains and possible flooding. Don’t wait until it’s raining or flooding to get them; plan ahead! Visit SFPublicWorks.org/Sandbags for hours and location.
Please report sewer emergencies or service problems such as clogged catch basins, street flooding, sewer backups, or wastewater odors to the City’s Customer Service Center, 311 on the web/smart phone (or dial 3-1-1).
Small Business Disaster Relief Fund: Managed by the Mayor's Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD), in the aftermath of a disaster such as flooding, fire, etc., the fund is aimed to assist small businesses to immediately access up to $10K in funds for inventory replacement, equipment purchases, security deposits for new leases, employee salaries, or other expenses and to stabilize cash flow. For more information, please visit http://oewd.org/disaster-relief.
What to do Before the Storm
- Be aware of low elevation spots that could flood. Elevate your belongings in your garage and any low-lying areas on your property.
- Remember to store emergency items, such as first aid kits, flashlights and portable radios in a safe, high place as well.
- Store drinking water in closed, clean containers in case water service is interrupted. Allow one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days.
- Prepare written instructions on how to turn off electricity, gas and water if authorities advise you to do so. (Remember, you'll need a professional to turn them back on.)
- Consider installing a backflow preventer. Backflow preventers are devices that prevent stormwater from backing up into internal plumbing fixtures during large storms. Please contact the Department of Building Inspection at http://sfdbi.org/backflow-preventer to arrange a plumbing survey to find out if this installation is suitable for your property.
What to do During the Storm
- If water has entered a garage or basement, do not walk through it.
- If you are asked to leave your property, disconnect all electrical appliances.
- Tune-in to KCBS (740 AM or 106.9 FM) or local TV channels for emergency advisories and instructions.
- Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates.
- Avoid downed power lines and broken gas lines.
What to Do if a Backup or Flooding Occurs
- Coming Soon
|Flood Resilience Study
This 2016 study characterizes the economic impacts of flooding and identifies and evaluates flood resilience–driven capital projects and programmatic measures as options for reducing those impacts. The study will guide policy discussions around infrastructure needs and associated costs for stormwater management, and ultimately help the SFPUC plan and prioritize projects.
Here's the Executive Summary and a draft of the full Flood Resilience Report.
RainReadySF Community Meetings
Contact us at RainReadySF@sfwater.org.
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