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 or at (206) 233-7187.

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.

If a storm drain near your location is grayed out on the map, it could be:

  • unavailable because it is not owned by SPU
  • a storm drain that only SPU crews should maintain

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.

  • Clear only drains next to the curb. Stay on the curbside and not in the street.
  • Watch out for traffic. Don’t clear drains that are in the middle of a street.
  • Be careful of standing water to avoid slipping.
  • If children are helping, make sure adults are supervising.
  • Don’t try to lift storm drain grates. They are very heavy and only crews are authorized to remove.
  • Let our crews handle garbage or any hazards in the catch basin. Clear surface debris only.

Related links

Storms and Flooding
Take Winter By Storm
Storm Drain Stenciling