Above freezing temperatures in our forecast have Green Bay’s Public Works Department working overtime. They are out clearing storm drains to make sure moisture from the melt has someplace to go.
On Green Bay’s westside – public works employees use heavy equipment and even brute strength to uncover storm drains, buried under ice and snow.
“We started that last week, today we’re out again, we’re going to be out all week,” said Chris Pirlot.
Green Bay Department of Public Works Operations Director Chris Pirlot says crews are out because we’re in the middle of a winter melt, with temperatures predicted to be well above freezing for days and an inch of rain in the forecast.
“We want that water to get off the roads. We don’t want standing water, we don’t want high water to back up into people’s yards and get into their foundations and basements,” Pirlot said.
With nearly 70 inches of snow this winter Pirlot says storm drains simply got buried, as plows worked to keep roads open.
“You can only push it up so high with the edge of the plow and it slumps back down and starts accumulating out into the road,” said Pirlot.
And now with the warm-up and rain expected, the city is trying to open up drains in low lying areas.
“What I refer to as our known suspects, usual suspects, we’ll start there,” said Pirlot.
But with 15,000 storm drains, Pirlot hopes property owners consider lending a hand.
“We know it’s hard for us, so it’s going to be hard for you. But throughout the whole winter, try to keep up with it,” said city employee Crede Haut. “Please, please, clean it out, do the best you can to help us out.”
“We’re not going to get to all of them, which is why we ask residents if you have the ability and the access consider doing it,” Pirlot said.
Helping could prevent possible flooding as the snow continues to melt and the water searches for someplace to go.