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A walking excavator (nicknamed the Spider) is used to clean out the sediment trap of Buckingham Creek.


A Vactor truck is used by City of Duluth workers to vacuum debris from a storm drain.

Please help keep your streams clean.

If you see any suspicious discharges or dumping of garbage, please call the City of Duluth Storm Water Office at (218) 730-4130 or (218) 730-4063

Maintaining Duluth Waterways

Stream clean-up and maintenance requires a continuous effort by the City of Duluth and Youth Employment Services (YES), combined. YES assists the City Utilities Operations Department with the Annual Stream Cleaning of Duluth Streams. The department of Utility Operations steps in to address specific maintenance problems and to remove the large debris such as houshold appliances sometimes dumped in the streams.

Sediment traps
In an on-going effort to reduce the amount of sediment and garbage entering the St. Louis River and Lake Superior, the city maintains eight sediment traps in Downtown Duluth. Traps are located near the mouths of Buckingham, Clarkhouse, Coffee and Greys Creeks and in four other urban locations with large volumes of stormwater runoff. The traps are designed with wood or metal baffles to remove sediment and floating debris from the water flowing through them. Sediment traps are cleaned 1 to 2 times a year, depending on the amount of sand and debris in the traps, by the Duluth Utility Operations Department.

Stormwater catch basins
Stormwater catch basins are inlets to storm sewers that can collect some of the sediment and debris washed off the streets. Catch basins should be cleaned out regularly to function properly.

There are 250 miles of stormwater sewers with about 9,500 catch basins located in Duluth City limits. The system is cleaned by the City of Duluth on a ongoing basis depending on how much debris is in the system. The entire storm system is cleaned every 8 to 10 years with some areas receiving additional attention.

To remove debris from the catch basins, they are vacuumed out with vactor trucks. City employees find everything that you can think of in the basins: car keys, mufflers, pop bottles, pipes, sticks and lumber, kids toys, clothing and sleds. Without the catch basins, and this continuous maintenance, this debris would wash into the streams impacting both the health and beauty of the Duluth waterways.

NEWThe October 2008 cover story of the of the Municipal Sewer & Water magazine addressed the challenges of handling stormwater in Duluth: STORM: A Downhill Battle.