How To Safely Clean A Storm Drain

With over 25,000 storm drains and catch basins throughout San Francisco, the SFPUC offers a unique program that allows residents to take an active role in caring for and improving the neighborhood where they live and work.

Launched in 2016, the Adopt a Drain Program lets San Francisco residents “adopt” one of the City’s storm drains. The drain adopters get to name their own drain and make the pledge to keep it free of leaves, trash, and debris. To date, there are more than 2,100 community members who adopted over 3,300 storm drains and more waiting to be adopted.

A storm drain clogged with leaves and debris.

Adopt a Drain volunteers take a training on how to safely clean a storm drain.

Here is a quick checklist on how to safely clean a storm drain:

  1. Wear a reflective vest so cars can see you.
  2. Always wear gloves and be careful of sharp objects!
  3. Look out for cars and stay close to the sidewalk.
  4. Use a rake, broom, or shovel to clean storm drains — not your hands.
  5. Put leaves and other debris in the green compost bin.
  6. Put recyclables in the blue recycling bin.

Not only does this effort reduce localized flooding but it is also fostering community engagement by encouraging neighbors, homeowners and renters to take a proactive role in improving their neighborhood.

Residents can sign up to adopt a drain and give it a name.