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I dropped my car keys down a storm drain in Surrey and the City got them back for me

Submit a request at or if happens outside of business hours and item requires immediate attention call 604-591-4152
Scott Simms, left, and Aaron Nelson rescued my keys from the murky storm drain waters on July 22, 2023 (Photo: Anna Burns)

Who do you call when you drop your keys or a personal item down a storm drain in the City of Surrey?

Before Saturday (July 22), I had no idea.

It had already been a long day of covering events when I returned to my car. I put all my gear in my front seat when I suddenly saw my car keys slowly start to fall. The next thing I knew, they had slipped through the cracks in the storm drain beneath my car.

They were gone.

I had no idea what to do or who to call. Do I call my girlfriend? No, she’s on a hike. My parents? No, they are in Alberta. What can they do? So let’s Google it.

After some Googling, I found a website that suggested contacting your local sewer company right away.

So back to the internet, I go to find the number for Surrey. The only number I could find that looked possibly helpful was on the “Report a Problem or Submit a Request” part of the website. Since it was outside of business hours, I called the listed number, 604-591-4152.

After talking to a staff member, I got a call back from Scott Simms, a utility operator at the City of Surrey. They were on their way to me and would be there within 10 minutes.

When they arrived, they told me there was not much they could do since my car was parked on top of the drain, so they could not access it.

So I called BCAA to tow my car away from the drain. After waiting a bit, BCAA came out, put my car in neutral and backed it up just enough so the storm drain was fully accessible.

I called the city again, and within half an hour, Scott and his colleague Aaron Nelson were back.

The storm drain was full of several feet of water and mud so they had to drain some of the water out. After a few minutes of digging around Aaron pulled my keys out of the drain.

Although my keys smelled like they had been sitting in six feet of sewer water, I was thankful to have them back. Surprisingly, my key fob still works, and yes, I have disinfected everything many times.

I am so incredibly thankful to Scott, Aaron, the City of Surrey and BCAA for all of their help on Saturday.

If you are ever in that situation in Surrey, I hope my column will be of help. So you will know who to call.

The official word from the City of Surrey engineering department for what to do in this case is:

“If a resident drops keys or other personal effects down a storm drain, we encourage them to submit a request for service through the Report a Problem feature on our website at If this issue occurs outside of regular business hours and the item requires immediate attention, they can call 604-591-4152 and a staff member will be happy to assist.”

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Anna Burns

About the Author: Anna Burns

I started with Black Press Media in the fall of 2022 as a multimedia journalist after finishing my practicum at the Surrey Now-Leader.
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