Adopt a Storm Drain

Join a community of volunteers across the city who keep our local storm drains clear of garbage, leaves, and debris to protect our waterways and reduce flooding.

Seattle is part of Washington Adopt-A-Drain (AAD), leading regional efforts to protect Puget Sound!

How to "adopt" a storm drain

Volunteer fifteen minutes, once a month, for cleaner waterways and healthier communities. Storm drains flow directly to rivers, lakes, creeks, and the Puget Sound, acting as a conduit for trash and organic pollutants.

Adopt-a-Drain asks individuals, families, businesses, and organizations to adopt a storm drain in their neighborhood and keep it clear of leaves, trash, and other debris to reduce water pollution and help prevent localized flooding.

Getting started

Find your storm drain

The Adopt-A-Drain (AAD) Program online tool lets you adopt a storm drain in your neighborhood.

Signing up lets you name your drain and create a volunteer profile. You will be making a commitment to monitor and maintain your “rain” drain. The online tool lets you report what is collected from around your drain. Collectively we can show the impact our community of volunteers is making toward a stronger and cleaner Seattle.

We recommend 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.

Residential home and common sources of pollution noted: pet waste, motor oil, gutter runoff, street runoff, litter, and fertilizers. Stormwater runoff carries pollutants into our waterways.
Common pollutants that are carried through the storm drains to our waterways.

Storm drains are used to collect and transfer excess rain to our waterways; however, stormwater runoff often collects pollutants along the way to entering Seattle storm drains. The image above gives examples of common pollutants that are carried through our storm drains to our waterways. All runoff that enters the storm drains is not treated, which means all polluted runoff goes straight to our waterways such as the Puget Sound or Lake Washington.

Most of the drains in Seattle are located next to the curb and have a metal grate to prevent debris from falling in. Storm drains are often stenciled with text such as:

  • Dump No Waste
  • Only Rain Down the Drain
  • Puget Sound Starts Here
  • Drains to Creek, Lake, Duwamish River or Puget Sound

"Puget Sound Starts Here" marked storm drain

There are over 33,000 storm drains in the city, so we really appreciate volunteers taking care of the storm drains in their community. We ask that you respect the following safety guidelines when cleaning:

  • Do not remove the grate or otherwise attempt to clean the inside. Clean only on top of the storm drain grate and the area around it.
  • Stand on the curb when clearing drains, not in the street. Please don't clear drains on major streets and arterials.
  • Wear gloves and always use a broom, rake, or other tool to clear the drain. Never use your bare hands to move debris.
  • Use a dustpan, shovel, trash can lid, or other tool to pick up the collected debris and/or trash
    •  Put excess leaves 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
  • 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.

An adult and child cleaning a storm drain.

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.

Garbage, recycling, and food and yard waste 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.  We can accomplish a lot together and it's important to see our collective impact! 

If you take any great photos when you’re out there cleaning your drain, share them with us by emailing Follow us on social media: Instagram, Facebook

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.