Small projects, big results

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man and women working on stormwater repairs


Managing stormwater

Meet the Expert

Leah headshot
Leah Johanson

WES Civil Engineer
B.S. and M.S. in Civil/
Environmental Engineering

“I think it is important to understand our impact on the environment, in particular our rivers. Maintaining and improving the function of our storm system is one way to reduce our impact by reducing pollution in the runoff or minimizing the amount of runoff entering a water body.

Each project/drainage issue is unique. I enjoy trying to figure out what is causing the issue in the first place as well as trying to figure out the best solution. I also really enjoy meeting the people in the community who have been impacted by the drainage issues we work on.”

Oregon is known for how much it rains here. But where does all of that water go?

It’s a question most people don’t think about. But it’s nonetheless important to know.

First, some of the water will be absorbed into the ground, but as the county develops, there are more roofs, sidewalks, parking lots, and roads — impervious surfaces where the water can’t seep into the ground.

Clackamas Water Environment Services (WES) and our partner cities spend a lot of time and effort trying to manage all that water. Excessive stormwater can cause flooding and property damage.

Stormwater runoff is also the most significant source of water pollution in our state. It washes pollutants – silt, oil, chemicals, trash and pesticides — from storm drains and drainage ditches to the nearest creek, stream or wetland. The polluted runoff can harm fish and aquatic life and threaten our drinking water.

Since it rains everywhere, our stormwater infrastructure is all over the developed areas in the WES service area, and essential projects happen right in your neighborhoods to manage that water.

One example is the recent Mt Scott Trail Stormwater Repair Project. Over time, the stormwater system eroded and was damaged by tree roots, causing it to no longer function as it should. In August 2022, more than 200 feet of pipe and manholes were repaired, which will reduce localized flooding. It may sound like a small project, but smaller projects, just like the Mt. Scott Trail Project, are happening all over the WES service area to protect your health, property and our water.

wes stormdrain project

Stormwater system repairs in Happy Valley

wes stormdrain project