Green Bay crews work to clear storm water inlets ahead of snow melt

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) – Even though we are getting temporary relief from the snow this week, it could cause some more headaches for homeowners.

With the warm up this week, the snow will melt and have to go somewhere. Officials with Green Bay’s Public Works Department hope it goes into storm drains, but they need the help of homeowners to make that happen.

Throughout the past week, the city has been using road graders to get rid of the ice buildup on streets.

“The road graders are the most effective winter tool we have because it can hydraulically put down force on the blade, so when it gets warmer like this, we can pop that ice out,” said Chris Pirlot, operations division director for Green Bay’s Public Works Department.

To make there wasn’t a buildup of ice in people’s driveways, tractors cleaned up after the graders.

“If it’s really loaded up at the end of your driveway, we will take a scoop out of there so you don’t have deal with all that heavy ice,” said Pirlot.

Moving the ice is one thing, but preparing for it to melt is another.

“DPW will be doing its best to open up inlets at low spots in the city,” said Pirlot.

Pirlot said clearing storm water inlets is vital when it comes to preventing flooding.

“Those inlets connect to pipes, the pipes drain into streams and rivers which drains to the bay so we want to get that water off the land, away from our foundations, and our houses, off our driveways and streets and get it into the water ways,” said Pirlot.

Because the inlets can be hard to see, Pirlot suggests checking Google Maps. Just search your address and use the street view to pinpoint your storm water inlets.

There are over 15,000 storm water inlets in Green Bay. The task to clear them is great, but the need to get them cleared is even greater.

“We don’t want it to pond on your street, overflow into your front yard or get into people’s basements,” said Pirlot.

When it comes to ice covered residential roads, Pirlot said they have a policy to follow and once again rely on the sun to help melt some of it.

“Our policy is we will always maintain bare pavement on arterial streets but not residential streets,” said Pirlot. “We don't plow streets unless there is at least 2 inches of snowfall on the streets.”