UTAH (ABC4) — With record-breaking snowfall, many are worried Salt Lake City will experience flooding similar to the historic floods of 1983, but Deputy Director of Salt Lake City Public Utilities Jesse Stewart said the city is in a very different position than it was 40 years ago. 

Stewart said the City Creek drain system got clogged in 1983, but now the city has better drainage basins and an excavator to pull debris out before it makes its way to a pipe system. 

“We have also put in some redundant piping… We can bifurcate the flows to take some of what’s called the Folsom drains, which gives a different discharge point to the Jordan River,” said Stewart. 

The city also plans to have sandbags available for people who live in flood-prone areas. Stewart said they will be available at the Salt Lake County Public Works Department in Midvale.

WILL MY HOME GET FLOODED?

Stewart recommends residents check to see if they are on a floodplain by going online and searching FEMA’s flood map. Stewart adds that if you are not on a plain, near a creek or low-lying area, you’re probably OK. That being said, if you are concerned, keep in mind most flood insurance policies take 30 days to become active, so now is a good time to purchase it. 

HOW CAN I HELP?

Stewart said one of the most important things is making sure the grates and storm drains are clear from debris. Below are a few things the city said you can do to help improve stormwater quality:

  • Use fertilizers sparingly and sweep up driveways, sidewalks and gutters
  • Never dump anything down storm drains or in streams
  • Compost your yard waste
  • Clean trash and debris out of the curb area
  • Use least toxic pesticides, follow labels, and learn how to prevent pest problems without pesticides
  • Direct downspouts away from paved surfaces; consider directing it towards your garden
  • Take your car to the car wash instead of washing it in the driveway
  • Check your car for leaks and recycle your automotive fluids
  • Clean up after your pet

If you see any debris near a grate, remove it, or contact 801-483-6700. 

With all this extra water the city is also warning everyone to keep in mind that area creeks will flow faster and can be extremely dangerous. The city also advises pet owners to keep their animals on leashes when out on walks so they do not accidentally get swept up in a stream. 

For more tips on stormwater and flood control, visit Salt Lake City’s Public Utilities website.