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tippy tippens

10 neighbors want the city to clean the street gutters twice a year minimum for clear catch basins in New Orleans.

tippy tippens
Suggested by tippy tippens
hey, i love the lax parking rules in most neighborhoods [having lived in nyc i appreciate not having to move a car every day] but could street cleaning happen at least 2 times a year?

our streets flood too often to have clogged gutters & catch basins. a neighbor mentioned that at her last place no one ever cleaned them until she & her husband moved in & the street had sunk at that point due to the pressure.

the french quarter gets cleaned daily, how often should the rest of the city's streets get cleaned?

they certainly don't need to be sparkly, but i wonder if the cruddy streets contribute to a 'broken windows' mentality?

could the collected leaves start a city compost system?

could this be a private business?

citywide gutter zoomba?


Candy Chang
Emily Ashley
Tee Parham
Alan Joseph Williams



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Alan Joseph Williams

We we're able to get a shapefile and attendent database files for drain structures, as used in the Sewage & Water Board's Drainage Master Plan!

Not sure yet if this is the right data set. I have to download some GIS software to take a closer look. Even if its not exactly what we're looking for, it will allow us to build a prototype and show people what we're thinking.

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Alan Joseph Williams

@Miriam - thanks for dropping the knowledge!

It's pretty interesting to see that the city has already endorsed a citizen-led approach. In the document you linked to, they lay out the steps for maintaining the basins.

@Jen thanks so much for jumping on the thread. Bayou Land does awesome work.

It really does seem like "Adopt-a" would be a good solution for this problem. The tool has been used in Boston to allow citizens to commit to shoveling out fire hydrants during snowstorms, and in Honolulu to care for Tsunami Sirens.

Here is the code repository on GitHub:

Could we get a GIS layer of the 4,200 catch basis?

@Miriam and Jen---what do you think? Could we get the city behind this?



adopt-a-hydrant - A Ruby on Rails application that allows citizens to "adopt" civic infrastructure, such as fire hydrants.

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Good Call Ya'll! Yes, we should all clean our basins and work with our neighbors to catch all basins in our areas. Water that hits the streets brings with it all manner of litter, dirt, debris, oil, metals, (insert smallish nouns) with it. Storm water is NOT treated before it is pumped through our drainage system into the receiving water bodies. This means anything that gets entrained in the rainwater can and often does affect water quality in the receiving waters--the Lake, Area Wetlands and the River.
We can all watch, monitor, and report water quality & flooding concerns and drainage basin failures to by calling 311 or 52-Water to report water system issues.
Also, if you want to organize a catch the basin event, you can reach out to

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Miriam Belblidia

Glad to see this discussion happening on Neighborland! Keeping our catch basins clear is an important first step in minimizing street flooding and keeping pollutants out of our waterways.

At this point in time, due to the limited capacity at the city, I see it as an important role that citizens can play in helping maintain the system. Last I checked, the City was on track to clean out 4,200 catch basins in 2012; however, this still only represents a fraction of the total catch basins and there are only a couple trucks available to help with the effort. The city did roll out a "Catch the Basin" campaign last year to encourage citizens to help maintain drains in their neighborhoods, which I think is a good way to help folks see the connection between drainage infrastructure, street flooding, and pollutants. For more information, see below:

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Alan Joseph Williams

I would love to get someone that knows their water management to chime in on this---just to learn a little bit more about the impacts. If "adopting" storm drains could have a really significant impact, it seems like we shouldn't wait for the city to at least try something.

I'm going to send this thread to Miriam Belblidia, who is a hazard mitigation specialist, and see if she has any insights.

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tippy tippens

thanks clark! i'm with ya and down for the movement!

shouldn't this be a part of those repairs & regular maintenance/upkeep. especially in a city that is 50% below sea level, the catch basins and gutters are an essential element to the health of our streets and water management infrastructure.

the compost is an initial idea, and although there is motor oil, etc. still think it's possible - couldn't microbes eat the toxic motor oil, etc. when i cleaned my street the other day i found money, mcdonald's packaging and various plastics in the mix, but it had mostly turned into a beautiful, loamy black gold & was 99% leaves..

currently i compost at the local farmer's market, but my freezer also regularly overfloweth with bags of compost since i can't make it there on the same day every week.. looking for ways to combine similar waste streams

pleasure to meet you here & i look forward to neighborland-ing with you !

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Clark Thompson

tippi, I agree with you, and if we lived in Dubai or Singapore I'm sure we'd demand it. Keep in mind we live in a city with about $10bln in subsurface plumbing repairs to me made and such a budget shortfall this year where we may or may not have working traffic lights through the end of the year.

I do not ever compost the gutter debris, though I compost everything else I can. The gutter debris is filled with tire rubber, asbestos, asphalt waste, motor oil, brake fluid, dog feces, rat feces and lord knows what else. I applaud your goal, but this sort of waste is just perfect for the landfill. If the Army Corps were handling it, the waste would probably have to be treated as HazMat.

I intend to be more vocal in the future, when I see a neighbor that should know better allowing their gutters to fill with trash and waste, I'll call them out. We all keep it up, we'll have ourselves a movement!

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tippy tippens

hmmm, i cleaned the catch basins & gutters the other day with a neighbor [having just moved to a new neighborhood] but i disagree that this is the citizen's responsibility when living in a city, if in a rural or surburban setting that makes more sense to me.

when individuals instead of the city clean the gutters & catch basins the collected debris goes into the trash, then to the landfill. if the city or a private business did so, this waste stream could be channeled in a smart manner, into compost for re-sale for example. also, i think if handled en masse instead of individually it could lead to additional similar pickups such as household compost collection.

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How about 'Adopt a Gutter'? What are the pro's/con's of residents taking tasks like this into their own hands?

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