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WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2007
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Roger Quick operates storm drain cleanup equipment on Central Parkway Southwest.
Daily photo by Chris Paschenko
Roger Quick operates storm drain cleanup equipment on Central Parkway Southwest.

City targets street flooding
Drains cleaned as preventive maintenance

By Chris Paschenko
chris@decaturdaily.com 340-2442

Cleaning the city's trashy storm drains on a consistent basis could mean fewer weather-related traffic accidents in Decatur.

Mark Petersohn, who was hired by the city last summer to direct the Public Works Department, said Tuesday that he started a preventative-maintenance program, which will remove debris from storm drains.

"We're doing it with one truck, one street at a time," Petersohn said.

"We'll keep working every day for the remainder of the winter and spring and complete about 50 percent of what we want to get done."

Petersohn said workers are using a 1995 Vactor truck, which the city purchased for $139,000 in 1994, to spray the inlet throats and suck gravel, bricks, wood and trash from drains.

Steve Walden, one of the supervisors on the project, said preventative maintenance hasn't been done in the past.

"We've been doing it for years, but mostly on a work-order basis or when it was stopped up in places," Walden said.

Expected to reduce accidents

Petersohn said the program will help minimize minor street flooding, which is good news to police Lt. Mike Woods, head of Decatur's traffic unit.

"Obviously, when the roads are wet, we do have more accidents because of the lack of stopping ability a vehicle has," Woods said.

"We had a severe storm just a few years ago where we had to remove people stranded in their cars. The water was so high it killed the engines. Anytime you can get streets to drain better and quicker, it's a very good thing."

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