Gwinnett County residents raise concern over storm drain run-off ahead of fall

GWINNETT County, Ga. (CBS46) -- Most drivers keeping an eye on traffic won’t notice storm drains on the side of the street, but some residents in Gwinnett County say there’s another reason you can’t see them: Trash, weeds, and other debris.

“It’s an issue,” said Gwinnett County resident Glori Hunter. “Somebody needs to step up.”

Hunter has noticed blocked, clogged, and broken drains for years. She’s made a habit of snapping pictures of these drains and filing complaints with the county.

“When I’m driving through Gwinnett county I’m seeing lot of litter, illegal dumping, things that are not maintained.”

They’re not just an eyesore, explained Hunter. These poorly maintained drains are a safety hazard – especially as summer winds down, leaves fall into streets, and heavy rains could impact the Atlanta area.

“The idea of concrete collapsing in – all I could picture is children jumping around just playing, just being kids, “ she explained.

The Gwinnett County Department of Water Resources says it responds to reports, but with 1,600 miles of storm drains and more than 100,000 storm water structures, upkeep is a challenge.

However, the department says more help is on the way in the coming weeks.

“We allocate extra support to our stormwater team to assist clearing drains during the fall months or during times of frequent storms,” said Varessa Butts, a spokesperson for the department.

A county public education team will also ramp up efforts to stress appropriate waste disposal as summer winds down.

While Gwinnett County utilizes street sweepers to clear out main roads and high traffic areas, residential neighborhoods are largely untouched due to safety and cost reasons.

This puts a lot of responsibility on concerned citizens like Hunter. While she reports every blocked drain she sees and is generally satisfied with the county’s response, she wishes more could be done to maintain residential areas.

She also wishes her neighbors would speak up too.

“Sometimes it feels like a fulltime job. I’m hoping people will notice and decide for themselves that I like this difference and I want it to continue,” said Hunter.

Residents who want to report a sewer drain blockage should call 678-376-7000

Copyright 2021 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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