Maintaining Storm Drains

Join volunteers across the city to maintain storm drains, a critical part of our utility infrastructure.

Sign up to adopt a storm drain near your home or work. By registering, you commit to keeping the drain surface clear of leaves and other debris year round.

If you have any questions, please contact us at

Why should I adopt a drain?

  • Prevent flooding in your neighborhood by keeping drains free of debris.
  • Prevent pollutants from entering streams, creeks and Puget Sound, which protects fish and other wildlife.
  • Help the city maintain our infrastructure, especially during fall months when rain increases and falling leaves block drains.

How to identify a drain

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

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

Storm Drain with Leaves

Sanitary sewers, which usually have solid manhole covers, are NOT storm drains.

Safety guidelines

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.

Before you go:

  • Wear bright and/or reflective clothing and watch out for traffic.
  • Wear appropriate footwear, clothing and eye protection (when necessary).
  • If children are helping, make sure adults are supervising.
  • Keep hydrated.
  • Call 911 for emergencies.
  • Contact Adopt a Drain if you need assistance caring for your drain.

During the clean-up:

  • If possible, clear the drain before it starts raining.
  • 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. Gloves are recommended. Safely place debris including leaves into a plastic garbage bag. Leaves from the street can collect pollutants so should not be put into the Yard Waste Container.
  • Avoid items that have the potential to be hazardous or cause injury, such as heavy objects or items like syringes, automotive fluids, condoms, animal remains, etc. Report it using the City if Seattle's Find It Fix It app or via a Service Request on our website.
  • Stand on the curb when clearing drains, not in the street. We only ask you to clean curbside storm drains.
  • Be careful of standing water to avoid slipping.

Only clear surface debris. Do not remove the drain grates or attempt to remove clogs beneath the grate.

Related links

Storms and Flooding
Take Winter By Storm
Storm Drain Stenciling