LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - Lawton’s Storm Water Management Department has been extremely busy due to the large amounts of rain in the area over the past few weeks.
The Storm Water Department said they want people to be more aware of what causes excess flooding, and often times it’s more than just a downpour of rain.
“We impact everyone’s life whether they realize it or not. Whenever the rain comes down, it has to have somewhere to go. We are the one’s who are protecting the water quality," said Environmental Specialist Cynthia Williams.
The Storm Water Management team said despite the heavy rain, so far they haven’t dealt with major flooding inside structures, but this rain has caused another problem to arise.
“Grass is growing more, so more people are mowing and letting grass go out in the street," said Stormwater Inspector Troy Brandon.
“If people don’t bag their grass, it ends up on the drainage system and clogs it up, which causes water to back up and flood over until we get there and take care of it,” said Drainage Maintenance Superintendent Jose Ramirez.
The department said grass clippings getting in the drainage system has been a cause for concern, and if it continues, will have lasting environmental impacts for wildlife.
“It will also increase the nutrients and the nitrogen and phosphorous levels inside streams, and that could kill off some of the wildlife and aquatic life in there,” said Williams.
The department said they get a lot of questions concerning the lack of underground pipes in the city, and Ramirez says the city has to work with what it has.
“The roadways are actually our drainage system. The roads cause a lot of dirt and dust and that flushes down our drains also. It flows down our creeks and builds up over time and then we have to go and cut it up,” said Ramirez.
Brandon said if people don’t work harder to keep the drainage system clear, a small amount of rain could have serious impacts on public safety, and water quality in Lawton.
“They are letting grass go out in the streets, which gets washed down the sewer system, which can clog it and cause diseases in the creeks and lakes," said Brandon.
For more information or ways to help prevent flooding, visit Stormwater Managament’s website here -https://www.lawtonok.gov/departments/stormwater-management