Clearing of Garapan storm drains, shoulders starts

Posted on Jun 26 2019

Starting yesterday, June 25, Department of Public Works workers and other agency staff began the process of clearing out the Garapan core area storm drains.

Saipan’s storm drain system is designed to reduce flooding, infrastructure damage, and health risks by safely carrying rainwater off of streets and residential/commercial lots. Many of these drains have been habitually blocked by litter, sediment, and other debris, which has inhibited the system leading to minor flooding and standing water in some areas during rains.

DPW, the Division of Environmental Quality, the Coral Reef Management agency, Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Servises, and Commonwealth Utilities Corp. have partnered and pooled their resources to ensure that this much needed maintenance of the storm water system can be completed as soon as possible. The hope is that by partnering, the agencies can guarantee that this maintenance is done annually to prevent the situation we are now in.

Additionally, the team will be clearing the shoulders and right-of-ways of excess sediment and overhanging vegetation, as these are often the sources of drain blockage. This work should help decrease the likelihood of follow-up maintenance prior to that planned next year.

The partnering agencies would like to ask the community for their patience as they conduct this work. Some heavy machinery and staff will at times take up traffic lanes and otherwise slow traffic through the project area. Motorists are encouraged to be extra vigilant over the next several weeks to ensure their safety and the safety of the workers as the maintenance is conducted.

The public is further asked for their cooperation in keeping these drains clear. Litter and other debris placed in the drains or on the roads or shoulders can cause blockages in the system and lead to road and property flooding that causes a safety and/or health risk to the surrounding community. All of the storm drains lead directly to the Saipan lagoon; no liquids or materials other than rainwater should be put into storm drains, as this can lead to poor water quality, contaminated beaches, and/or damage to fish and coral populations. (PR)

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