Adopt a Drain SF

Join thousands of local volunteers and adopt one of the 25,000 storm drains in our beautiful city and pledge to keep it free of debris.

Why adopt a drain?

  • Help stormwater drain properly, reducing risk of flooding.
  • Protect the environment by minimizing pollutants and trash that go down the drain.
  • Help keep your street and neighborhood clean and beautiful.
  • Connect with your community by taking an active role in improving your neighborhood.
  • Give your drain a fun name!

Program Background

Most of our storm drains flow to our combined sewer system, which collects and treats both stormwater runoff from our rooftops, driveways, streets, and sidewalks, and sewage from homes and businesses in the same network of pipes. Some storm drains flow directly to the bay or ocean. Removing pollutants picked up from our streets before stormwater enters the bay and ocean is better for the environment, but can put more strain on our sewer system, especially during major storms. No sewer system, including San Francisco’s, can be designed to manage all stormwater in all storms. During heavy rains, some low-lying areas of the city, especially those that were once creeks or marshes, can experience flooding and property damage.

Year-round, our preventative operations and maintenance crews inspect, clean, repair, and replace aging sewers. They use specialized trucks and equipment to deep clean 5,000-9,000 of the city’s 25,000+ drains each year. We also monitor the weather forecasts and when major storms are expected, increase our staffing and deploy strike teams throughout the city, especially to low-lying areas prone to flooding, including at night and on weekends. We simply cannot get to every drain before every storm, so we rely on the help of residents like you. Our drain adopters can also be our eyes on the sewer system and report any badly clogged drains by submitting a service request to

Code for San Francisco, a non-profit volunteer group and local chapter of Code for America, used open data (drain locations) to develop the Adopt a Drain web application at no cost to the city in 2016. Inspired by Boston’s Adopt a Hydrant Program, our popular program has garnered media attention and attracted interest from various city, state, and national governments interested in replicating it in their community.

Frequently Asked Questions