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Storm Readiness and Response

winter storms

Emergency Issues

  • Downed trees, large branches or powerlines
  • Blocked roadside storm drains or flooding
  • Blocked access to roads, sidewalks, parks, or public pathways
  • Traffic signal light out (completely off — not flashing to red)

Monday - Friday - 7:00 am – 4:00 pm call Public Works: 415-485-3355
After hours, call SRPD Dispatch (24/7): 415-485-3000
*To report a downed powerline, call PG&E's 24-hour Residential Customer Service Center at 1-800-743-5000

Non-emergency issues

  • Blocked or partially blocked storms drains not causing flooding
  • Leaves or small branches
  • Minor damage to property or road signs
  • Traffic signal light flashing to red

Call the Public Works main line: 415-485-3355 or write us at www.cityofsanrafael.org/contactDPW and we’ll address your concern!

  1. Dispose of yard waste and leaves by composting or using your green cart. There is no extra service charge for using up to two additional carts or paper bags – 32 gallons or smaller. You can also rent an additional 64-gallon green cart from Marin Sanitary Service.
  2. Don’t place anything in the street or in the way of a drainage system.
  3. If your home is in the path of runoff, get sandbags and keep plywood, plastic sheeting, and lumber on hand to divert water and debris.
  4. If your basement is subject to flooding, consider installing a sump pump with generator back-up.
  5. Don’t pour chemicals, paints, or other Household Hazardous Waste in areas where it might flow into the storm drain.

If your property can be protected by sandbags, consider getting sand and bags BEFORE the rainy season and stockpile as many filled bags as you think you may need. We provide residents with sandbags and/or sand on a first-come first serve basis. For best results, fill sandbags 1/2 full. After all bags are in place, a light sprinkling of water is recommended. This technique is only effective with burlap sandbags and will not work with plastic sandbags.

Sand and sandbags are available at the following locations:

  • Fire Station #55-955 Point San Pedro Road
  • Terra Linda Community Center-670 Del Ganado Road
  • Menzies Parking Lot-Adjacent to the Falkirk Cultural Center, 1428 Mission Avenue

How to place sandbags

Fold top of sandbag down and rest bag on its folded top (see illustration below). It is important to place bags with the folded top toward the upstream or uphill direction to prevent bags from opening when water runs by them. Place each sandbag as shown, completing each layer prior to starting the next layer. Limit to two layers unless sandbags are pyramided.

sandbags

Sandbags have their limitations. Sandbags are for low-flow protection up to two feet. Protection from higher flows require a more permanent type of structure. Sandbags will not seal out water. Sandbag exposed for several months to continued wetting and drying will deteriorate. If bags are placed too early, they may not be effective when needed.

CAUTION – Do not use straw bale barriers in lieu of sandbags.

When storm season is over, you may keep them for the following year or empty the sand in your backyard.

What is a storm easement?

When a drainage facility can only be accessed by private property, the City is granted a storm easement over that private property — which means the City may access the drainage facility using private property.

What happens if the homeowner is not around to let the City in, in the event of an emergency or non-emergency?

Property owners are responsible to provide the City access through the easement. Failure to do so could leave the homeowner liable for any damages that occur to surrounding properties. We ask that gates and access be left open for emergency access during the rainy season.

What are the responsibilities of private property owners in maintaining an easement?

It is the homeowner’s responsibility to keep the easement clear from clutter or vegetation and to also help monitor the easement for any potential problems.

What is a “V-ditch”?

A “V-Ditch” is a concrete channel that is mostly found at the base of a hill to collect drainage before the water reaches a resident’s property. That water is then channeled to a drainage box.

Drainage Ditch

Who is responsible to maintain “V-ditches” clear of debris?

It is imperative that v-ditches are maintained clear of debris so that water can easily flow through them during a storm event. For all v-ditches on private property, it is the responsibility of the private property owner to keep them clear.

  • Remove any leaves, sticks, rocks
  • Don’t build any structures over your v-ditch
  • Keep the drain clear from any obstructions such as chicken wire or rebar, as this can cause flooding very quickly
  • Emergency Information Hotline
    (415)485-5070
  • American Red Cross (Marin)
    (415)721-2365
  • Pacific Gas & Electric
    (800)743-5000
  • NWS 24-hour Weather Information Line
    (831)656-1725
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