Public Works crews busy clearing sewer grates after heavy rain

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- On Tuesday, January 29th, Milwaukee Public Works crews were busy handling over 100 calls that came in regarding flooded city streets due to clogged sewer grates. 

Public Works crews were out Tuesday morning clearing three sewer grates near 29th and Hampton. Katherine Patton says water usually covers the streets and sidewalks in the area after a heavy downpour -- but says Monday night was particularly bad, and on Tuesday, water seeped onto her yard.

"I noticed as the rain kept coming, it started coming toward the house and at one point, you  couldn't even walk on the sidewalk because it was covered," Patton said.

Flooding due to clogged sewer grates is a problem throughout the city, according to Public Works officials. 

Milwaukee Public Works officials say they received 139 calls about ponds forming on streets and sidewalks. They say this is an issue typically reserved for September -- not January!

"Much like during the fall, when we have people keep leaves away from the sewer grates and storm inlets, same thing is happening now - there's trash that gets caught up in that and we want people to make sure that's cleared away," Sandy Rusch Walton with Milwaukee Public Works said.

With more precipitation to come, Patton picked up trash that was cleared from the grates near her house -- something she says she tries to do even when there is no rain in the forecast. 

"I got kids on this bus stop corner so we constantly get junk out here and that clogs up the grate, so when we know there's a lot of stuff out here, we clean it up because we know it's gonna rain eventually," Patton said.

"We ask residents to help us out in that way but if you don't feel comfortable doing it, if you're not able to  do it, call 286-CITY and we'll take care of it," Walton said.

Public Works officials plan to keep an eye out for clogged sewers for the remainder of the flood watch. After that, temperatures are expected to drop and crews will focus on salting the roads.