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One more reason to keep an eye on storm drains

At this time of year, I’m often concerned about storm drain grates getting clogged with leaves, since that can add to problems from snow and ice storms. Now a City press release reports a rash of thefts of storm drain grates! Here’s the text of the release:

Recently, the City of Oak Ridge has had numerous reports of metal storm drain grates disappearing from streets at various locations throughout the City. They are city-owned
property and are there for your protection. They are costly both in time/labor and in tax payer dollars to replace.

City Staff is asking area residents and the general public for their assistance. If you see any unusual activity on city streets including anyone removing lids or metal covers
from city-owned property, please call the Oak Ridge Police Department immediately at 425-4399.

Questions or comments can be directed to the City of Oak Ridge, Public Works Department at 425-1875.

Apparently metal prices are getting too high — and people are getting too desperate. I guess we need to add “messing around in storm drains” to the list of potential suspicious activities to watch for in our neighborhoods — and remember that if a grate goes missing, the drain becomes hazardous to humans, pets, and vehicles. I hope our local scrap metal dealers are on the alert for these things!

Added: This spate of thefts ended with several arrests, but I’m not impressed to read that a Coalfield scrap dealer bought the metal from these guys and resold it to a processor.

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