Adopt a Storm Drain

Join volunteers across the city to keep your local storm drains clear of debris to reduce flooding and protect waterways. The Adopt-A-Drain (AAD) Program online tool lets you adopt a storm drain in your neighborhood.

What does it mean to "adopt" a drain? By adopting a drain you will be making a commitment to monitor and maintain a drain of your choice. Volunteers dedicate around fifteen minutes, twice a month, to provide care to their drain. We ask that you make a volunteer profile so we can keep track of the amazing work you've put into building a stronger and cleaner community!

As a volunteer you will be able to create positive impact by:  

  • Preventing flooding in your neighborhood by keeping drains free of debris.
  • Preventing pollutants from entering our lakes, rivers, creeks, and Puget Sound, which impact the habitat for fish and other wildlife.
  • Helping the city maintain our infrastructure, especially during fall months when rain increases and falling leaves block the drains.  

Getting started

Find your storm drain

Before you clear your first drain, sign up through our partnership with Hamline University of Minnesota Adopt-a-Drain to be a part of the national movement to reduce urban flooding and protect our waterways.

We suggest that when choosing a drain pick one that will be easy for you to access and take care of. This could mean picking one near your home, school, business or somewhere you go frequently.

Next Steps to Clear a Storm Drain

You may want tools for cleaning your drain. If you need supplies, please fill out the Tool Request Form.

Available tools on the request form are: a rake, trash grabbers, leaf claws, work gloves, safety vests, 5-gallon buckets, or yard waste bags.

Once your tool request is submitted and confirmed, you will be able to pick up your tools from our warehouse in SODO. Please read our directions before commuting to the warehouse.

There are several types of storm drains. Most drains are located next to the curb and have a metal grate to prevent debris from falling in. They can be rectangular or circular. Storm drains are often stenciled with text such as:

  • Dump No Waste. Drains to Stream, Lake or Bay.
  • Only Rain Down the Drain. Puget Sound Starts Here

Puget Sound marked storm drain

We ask that you never remove the grate or otherwise attempt to clean the inside. Clean only on top of the storm drain grate and the area around it.

Clear your drain only if it is safe. If the drain is still clogged after you've removed the surface debris, use our Drain Report Form or call our drainage problem hotline at (206) 386-1800 to report it.

There are over 33,000 storm drains in the city, so we really appreciate volunteers taking care of the drain in front of their home.

  •  If possible, clear the drain before it starts raining.
  •  Stand on the curb when clearing drains, not in the street. We only ask you to clean curbside storm drains. Please don't clear drains on major streets and arterials.
  •  Wear gloves and always use a broom or rake to clear the drain. Never use your hands to move debris.
  •  Use a dustpan, shovel, or a trash can lid to pick up debris.
  •  Put excess leaves the from parking strip into the yard waste container or paper lawn & leaf bags and set out for collection. (In November, SPU collects 10 extra bags for free!)
  •  Put polluted street leaves, trash, and other debris into the garbage.
  •  Avoid items that have the potential to be hazardous or cause injury by calling (206) 386-1800 to report a problem.

To dispose of waste, separate it into three categories and place it in the appropriate receptacle: trash, recyclables (Clean glass and plastic bottles, cans) and compostables (leaves, grass clippings, and sticks). When in doubt, especially if its grimy, throw it in the trash.

Photo of 3 bins

Please help us track the impact of adopt-a-drain by estimating the amount of debris you collect when you clean your drain(s). Report that amount to us at least twice a year—at the start of winter and at the end of spring— by logging in to your account and clicking on “track your impact.” You can report the estimate in pounds or gallons; our online calculator will translate gallons into pounds for most types of debris. The shows our collective impact. We can accomplish a lot, together and its important to see results! 

If you take any great photos when you’re out there cleaning your drain, share them with us and follow us on social media! Twitter, Instagram, Facebook

We want to hear from you! Please take a moment to provide us with feedback on how the program is doing. We are constantly striving to improve our program and your feedback will be greatly appreciated.

Adopt-a-Drain Feedback Form 

Public Utilities

Andrew Lee, General Manager and CEO
Address: 700 5th Avenue, Suite 4900, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 34018, Seattle, WA, 98124-5177
Phone: (206) 684-3000

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Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is comprised of three major direct-service providing utilities: the Water Utility, the Drainage and Wastewater Utility, and the Solid Waste Utility.