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Public Works News

Posted on: December 23, 2022

Melting Snow is Stormwater – Protect Your Property and Drains

Inclement Weather Updates

SAN JUAN COUNTY, WA. December 23, 2022 – With high levels of expected snow melt (stormwater), San Juan County’s Public Works Department encourages residents to be proactive in monitoring and reporting potential blockages to culverts and drains. 

The public should notify Sheriff’s Dispatch of backed-up culverts and other flooding issues by calling the appropriate number below:  

  • Non-emergency Sheriff’s Dispatch line: 360-378-4151
  • Emergencies: 911 

Public Works crews are proactively checking storm drains and culverts on a daily basis this weekend in known problem spots and will address any issues. 

San Juan County’s Public Works Department is responsible for maintaining drainage channels on all County roads, including culverts, maintenance of roadside ditches, cleaning storm drains and inlets, and any other activity required to facilitate proper drainage of stormwater from the roadway.

The County is NOT responsible for drainage issues that occur outside of County road jurisdiction. This includes issues that occur on private property, within town limits, or private roads.

Tips for Managing Your Property for Winter Stormwater: 

Just like when rain falls the rest of the year, melting snow turns into stormwater runoff. Heavy runoff sweeping across your yard and driveway carry pollution and high volumes of water into nearby drains, ditches, streams, and more. Both rain and snow melt can cause significant damage to your property and to County infrastructure. Use these tips to manage stormwater:

  • When piling your snow after shoveling and plowing, choose locations where the snow will have the most opportunity to infiltrate instead of becoming stormwater runoff. Pile your snow in areas where you don't usually have ponding in the spring rains, on relatively flat areas, and away from sensitive areas like streams, ponds, and your private well if you have one.
  • Clear your downspouts to allow melting roof snow to flow and not collect at your foundation.
  • Make sure your nearest storm drains are clear. Do not pile snow on storm drains and clear away any snow that may have been kicked onto the drains by passing cars.
  • Use de-icing chemicals and salts with care. Use what you need to make your walkways and driveways safe, but try to avoid spreading around sensitive areas like waterways and your private well.
  • Pay special attention to places that are eroding during snow melt and make a plan to improve these areas in spring using plants that can slow and stop erosion, like native grasses and meadow plants or native trees and shrubs.

About San Juan County’s Public Works Department    

San Juan County’s Public Works Department constructs and maintains county roads, designs and constructs storm water facilities, and plans and contracts for solid waste services. The department offices are located at 915 Spring Street, Friday Harbor, WA 98250. For more information about San Juan County’s Public Works Department, visit .


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