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Experts warn homeowners to clean sewers during flood warning

Posted at 9:21 PM, Nov 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-02 16:03:30-04

With much of Northeast Ohio under flood watches and warnings, experts warn homeowners to keep sewers and gutters free from debris. 

Lenny Knight owns Sewer Technology in Cleveland, a sewer maintenance company. He said it doesn't take much to clog a sewer. 

"Sometimes it’s no rain. Sometimes, if the roots get bad enough, you can flush the toilet, run the shower, that sort of thing, and then the line will back up," he said. 

Before long, Knight said homeowners can have raw sewage in basements.

He cleaned five homes on Thursday, and said he finds countless branches in gutters. 

"Mostly we find tree roots. Most of the time, people have tree root intrusions. It comes in through the clay tiles," Knight said. "All it takes is one acorn to get down into your gutter system, and grow into a huge problem."

He recommends cleaning your gutters at least twice a year to keep everything in check. 

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District spokesperson, Jenn Elting, said crews started monitoring flood-prone areas weeks ago. 

Areas include Sheldon Road in Middleburg Heights, Riverview Road in Brecksville and any low-lying areas like lower Rocky River, Lower Cuyahoga and Lower Chagrin. 

Elting said crews have been out checking debris sites regularly around Hopkins Airport, North Royalton, Puritas Basin and Chippewa Creek. 

Here are a few tips from the NEORSD to keep your home from flooding:

  • Don't rake leaves into the street where they can clog sewers and drains. 
  • Keep leaves in your yard, or bag them for proper disposal.
  • Secure grass clippings in a trash bag.
  • Dispose of woody debris properly. Branches should be roped in 3-foot bundles, no heavier than 40 pounds. Put anything smaller in a trash bag.