Adopt a Drain SF
Join thousands of local volunteers and adopt one of the 25,000 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!
San Francisco has 25,000+ drains. Most of our drains flow to our combined sewer system, which collects and treats both stormwater (from the rain that falls on our rooftops, driveways, and parking lots) and wastewater (from our toilets, sinks, and showers) before discharging them into the bay or ocean. These drains are called catch basins and show as green on this site’s map (when not adopted). In newer sections of the city built after the combined sewer system was constructed, drains flow directly to the bay or ocean. These are called storm drains and show as blue on this site’s map (when not adopted).
Year-round, SFPUC 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 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 sf311.org.
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
It's best to clear the drain before it starts raining to help prevent flooding, and after it rains to clean up any debris that has materialized. However, you should not try to clear a drain during a storm. Instead, visit sf311.org or call 3-1-1 to report a clogged drain. Drain adopters will receive periodic email notifications prior to large storms so you can clean your drain(s) before it rains.
The “My drains” section of this website contains the name and the address of the drain(s) you have adopted. Your drain(s) will appear on the map as orange icons.
City crews deep clean 5,000-9,000 each year using large vacuum trucks. The SFPUC operates and maintains 25,000+ and 1,000 miles of combined sewer pipes, which collect and treat sanitary sewage from homes and businesses, as well as street runoff.
The dots signify that the Bicycle Courier Team for the SFPUC’s Mosquito Abatement Program has been to that location and used water soluble larvicide to ensure that the sewers are mosquito free.
Click on orange icon for the drain you want to un-adopt and then click on “Un-adopt this drain” inside the message that appears.
The best way to change the name of your drain is to un-adopt your drain, re-adopt it, and give it a new name.
Our data is not always accurate about the 25,000+ catch basins throughout San Francisco; we rely on people to inform us. Simply email us at RainReadySF@sfwater.org and we will update our database. Thank you!
Yes, just email us at RainReadySF@sfwater.org or call (415) 554-3289 and notify us of the location of the drain you want to adopt and if you would like to give it a name. We will go online and adopt that specific drain for you so others know the drain has been claimed.
We schedule periodic tool give aways and will email every one in our Drain Adopter contact list in advance of these events. By adopting a drain you will be added to this list.