Flood Facts

Clean Water Services often receives inquiries about flooding because we protect water resources and help maintain the public drainage system. This information is a quick reference to help answer your questions.

Washington County and individual cities regulate development in the floodplain to minimize flood risk, and also to enable residents to qualify for flood insurance. The County and cities administer the national flood insurance program for FEMA. Unfortunately, some floodplains were developed before existing land use regulations and floodplain delineations and, therefore, are more prone to flooding.


Preparing for Heavy Rains

During heavy rains, Clean Water Services responds to local flooding problems in low lying areas of urban Washington County. Crews clear leaf-clogged stormwater grates, inspect and clear culverts and monitor known problem areas to ensure the public drainage system is operating properly.

Our crews are standing by 24 hours a day at 503.681.3600 to respond to flooding problems that threaten public health, safety or property.


You Can Help By:

  • Getting leaves out of the street and off catch basins.
  • Making sure your gutters and downspouts are clear.
  • Keeping yard debris and leaf piles away from drainage ditches and streams so that rising water does not carry the material downstream and block a culvert.
  • Using self-serve sand stations located throughout Washington County. Please call ahead to confirm hours of operation and availability of sand and bags. The sand is for FLOODING PREVENTION USE ONLY. Remember to bring your own shovel.
Flood Insurance

The best way to protect yourself from financial loss is to have flood insurance. Should you pay for flood insurance if you don’t live in a designated flood hazard area? Check out the cost benefit analysis.

Most homeowners insurance policies do not cover flooding. You don’t need to live in a floodplain to buy flood insurance. To find flood insurance, visit floodsmart.gov or call toll-free 1.888.435.6637.

Be Prepared

Individuals, especially those who live in a floodplain, need to be prepared to protect themselves and their property. When it floods, authorities are focused on protecting public safety and the public infrastructure (roads, bridges, utility lines, etc.).

Find out how to prepare for a flood and protect your loved ones at the links below.

Emergency Help

If you witness a flood-related threat to human safety, call 911. For non-life threatening emergencies, call the Washington County non-emergency number at 503.629.0111.

Clogged Storm Drains

Clean Water Services and City crews maintain the public drainage system. Residents can help by keeping leaves and debris out of storm drains. If you need help, please call your City’s Public Works Department or Clean Water Services Field Operations at 503.547.8100.

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