Surface Water Topics

The Leaves Are Changing!
The weather is cooling off and the leaves are changing.  Soon enough, the leaves will again start to fall and our annual challenge to keep surface water draining and stormwater flowing begins!

Runoff is surface water that flows from one area to another.  During rain storms, that runoff starts from where the rain lands and flows downhill however it can.

When it starts raining, even a small city of Mill Creek's size can produce and accumulate a lot of runoff water quickly.  The city is about 4.7 square miles in area (nearly 3,000 acres or nearly 130 million square feet!).  Even the grassy and other vegetated areas in Mill Creek do not absorb all the rain right where it lands. 

All that runoff that needs to be controlled and helped to flow down to North Creek.  Our combination of public and private stormwater pipes and facilities help with that, along with our natural streams like Penny Creek.

Even with nearly 3,600 street storm drains in the city to collect runoff, and nearly that same number of additional drains located in parking lots similar areas, it is common for water to pond up and not drain away quickly.  Hard surfaces like streets and driveways are particularly prone to this ponding.

What can I do?

Keep drains and gutters clear
Leaves and other debris from trees and plants tend to accumulate, sometimes very quickly, at drain grates and similar structures.  Even a small accumulation can either partially block water flow or deflect it in an unwelcome fashion.

Use rakes and remove any debris that accumulates.

Keep leaves out of the street
Do not blow leaves from yards into the street, even if you think the City street sweeper will pick up the debris.  Sweepers are not designed for that work, and City staff cannot sweep all city streets fast or frequent enough to remove excess leaves and other debris in the street.  Instead, dispose of all leaves from your yard and property as yard waste.

Prepare for winter storms
We have not had any significant rain events for fall 2022, but those will be coming soon.  Begin planning for storm preparedness now, while you have plenty of time!

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Angela Bolton
Surface Water Program Coordinator
Phone: 425-921-5752
Email: [email protected]
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