Public Works Operations
Storm Drain Grates, Manhole Covers Stolen Around Kent
Likely Lifted for Scrap Value
KENT, Wash. – February 25, 2011 – During the last month, nearly 40 storm drain grates and manhole covers have been stolen from neighborhood streets and businesses across Kent and the City’s Public Works and Police Departments are asking the for the public’s help in solving the crimes.
"We are very worried with this type of crime because it produces a huge public safety issue by the mere fact that when the storm drain grate or manhole cover is missing, there is a deep and wide hole," Kent’s Utilities Superintendent Greg Reed said.
Reed said storm drain grates prevent large objects from entering the system and are an important part of ensuring proper flow of water and traffic safety.
"If a car hits a storm drain or manhole with no cover over it, then it can cause significant damage to the car," Reed said. "And also if we have pedestrians walking or even children playing they could actually fall into a 20 feet deep hole."
Depending on the size, the cast iron grates weigh between 80 and 106 pounds. The manhole covers weigh 113 pounds.
"Typically, the grates will be taken to a recycle center and sold as scrap metal," Reed said.
Reed added besides the hazardous situation and the cost of the new grates and covers, which is about $127 each or more if they have to be specially made, there’s also the time and cost of re-installing them. “We’re now securing the grates to prevent future thefts, but it’s a gradual process given the expense and number we’re dealing with. We have about 20,000 grates and 16,000 manhole covers in the city."
Anyone with information about the thefts may contact the Kent Police Department Tip Line at 253-856-5808. To report a missing grate or cover, contact Public Work Operations at 253-856-5600.