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Flooding / Sandbags
El Cerrito residents should keep in mind that creeks and culverts will experience substantial flows during periods of sustained rainfall. Many of the creeks and normally dry watercourses will be carrying storm water into the municipal storm drain system this time of year.

The City needs your cooperation and assistance in assuring that our storm drain system functions properly. Here are some tips from the Public Works Maintenance Division:

Creeks or Open Watercourse Tip:

If you have a creek or open watercourse on your property, make sure that any debris or vegetation does not block the flow of water. The City does not maintain creeks on private property, but can assist El Cerrito homeowners with resources to help you if you are experiencing creek bank erosion or flooding on your property. If you observe any blockages at metal "trash racks" or where the creek flows into an underground pipe, contact the City Maintenance Division at 215-4369 to report the problem.

Business Owner's Tip:

Make sure that the gutter in front of your business or residence is kept clear of any impediments that would restrict the flow of storm water. Cut back any vegetation that spills over the edge of the curb, clean out drain pipes underneath driveway approaches and do not allow soil or loose material to get into the gutter area.

Storm Drain Grate Tip:

If you have a storm drain grate in the street near your home, check it frequently during heavy rains to make sure it is not blocked with trash or leaves. If you observe a catch basin that is not draining or needs to be cleaned, contact the City Maintenance Division at 215-4369.

Flooding Tip:

If you are experiencing flooding on your property from water entering by way of the street, you can contact the City to report the flooding problem at 215-4369. Maintenance will respond. When there are citywide  flooding events, requests will be prioritized and Maintenance will do their best to respond promptly.
Sandbags Tip:

If you need sandbags to prevent flooding from the street into your driveway, garage or home (in preparation before a storm hits or after the storm has arrived), you can obtain a maximum of ten (10) bags per household.  Please bring proof of residency.  The sand pile and bags are available for El Cerrito and Kensington residents only.  You will need to fill the bags yourself. There is an enclosure on Schmidt Lane near the Memorial Grove sign at the Hillside Natural Area (directly across from Stege Sanitary District Offices at 7500 Schmidt Lane). During the winter months, it is filled with sand and empty bags are provided.  (During the summer months, the enclosure is filled with mulch.)


If the flooding on your property is not caused by high flows in the public right-of-way, residents should obtain sandbags from their local building supply yard, landscape supply company or hardware store.

Drainage System Tip:

If you have a drainage system on your property, make sure it is functioning properly and that surface run off or roof down spouts are not directed onto your neighbors yard which could cause flooding on their property.

Repairs and Improvements Information:

Over the past six years the City has been making extensive repairs and improvements to its storm drain system to replace old pipes and improve flow capacity. During periods of normal rainfall the storm drain system is designed to collect and convey run off from City streets. However, residents should be aware that during periods of extremely heavy rainfall (usually referred to as "cloudbursts"), the storm drain system may not be able to handle all the water flowing into it. This may cause some temporary street flooding that usually dissipates as soon as the deluge subsides. Also, because the entire City storm drain water collected eventually is carried into the San Francisco Bay, high tides together with high rainfall levels can cause temporary backages in the system, especially in the low-lying levels of the City.

Contact Information:

If you have questions about storm drain system maintenance or need additional assistance, please contact the Maintenance Services Division at 215-4369. If there is an emergency situation when city offices are closed that is after business hours or over the weekend, please contact the Police Department at 233-1214. Someone will be able to assist you.


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