Litter clogs freeway drainage systems during monsoon

ADOT works to clear litter and other debris from pump stations and freeway drainage systems all year long. Piles of litter often must be collected by hand and hauled out of pump station storage wells, according to state transportation officials. (Submitted photo)

Trash can block drainage grates or wind up in the nearly 60 pump stations that the state operates along Phoenix-area freeways and that litter can provide even more challenges during monsoons, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

“Pump stations are designed to remove large volumes of water from freeways during storms, with individual pumps able to lift more than 12,000 gallons per minute,” an ADOT release stated. “They are part of a vast and largely unseen drainage system that can keep freeways open during storms that overwhelm local streets nearby.”

Pump stations typically have three to five pumps, driven by engines, to lift storm water from inside the facilities and send it into nearby drainage channels or retention basins, according to the release.

Motorists can help keep ADOT’s drainage systems operating at full capacity by helping to reduce litter and other debris that can obstruct drainage grates and catch basins that collect runoff, leading to standing water along a freeway, transportation officials stated.

The state urges those who see someone littering to contact the ADOT Litter Hotline with the vehicle’s license plate number and incident details. Call: 1-877-3LITTER. The owner will get a letter noting that someone was reported tossing trash from the vehicle, along with a free litter bag.

The Apache Junction Independent is mailed each month to 35,000 homes.

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