Oakland’s Adopt-A-Drain Program.

Earlier this year, the City of Oakland established an Adopt-A-Drain program, aimed at keeping the city’s 10,000-plus water drains open and functioning. Keeping the city’s drains open is especially important during the fall and winter rainy season when debris can clog drains like the one shown below and cause street and sidewalk flooding.

Drain 1


Clogged storm drains create mess on Hurley Way

… After.

Even worse, debris can cause pipe leaks, allowing storm drain water to mix with sewer water, which could dump into the bay untreated or back up toilets and drains in your home.

Drain 3

The implications of polluting our bay.

Currently, fewer than two dozen employees in the Storm Drain Maintenance Section of Oakland’s Department of Public Works care for the city’s 10,000 drains, along with almost 400 miles of drain pipe, seven pump stations, and 40 miles of creeks. Volunteers who adopt drains can assist that team, serving as a first line of defense, helping to prevent significant, water-related problems from arising. As Ben Franklin so astutely stated over two centuries ago, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

 Drain 4

An ounce of prevention…

Drain 5

…A pound of cure.

If you’re interested in volunteering to help keep one or more of Oakland’s drains clear of debris, please visit www.adoptadrainoakland.com to sign up and learn about the terms of service and volunteer guidelines.

Keeping Oakland Beautiful is everybody’s business.

We encourage you to share your thoughts in the reply section. We welcome the dialogue and learning of others’ perspectives.

4 Responses to Oakland’s Adopt-A-Drain Program.

  1. kathy mill January 4, 2015 at 11:21 am #

    Hi. I just adopted 2 drains but I’m having trouble finding instructions.

    • Eric Saltmarsh January 5, 2015 at 10:20 am #

      Hi, Kathy. Thanks for your willingness to keep our drains open, so we don’t have unnecessary local flooding during the winter rains. Here is a website you can go to in order to learn more about Adopt-A-Drain expectations.


      If the site doesn’t open directly, you may need to paste the address into your browser.



  2. carla haimowitz January 4, 2015 at 3:57 pm #

    I have already adopted (for the past few years, but unofficially) the one near the corner of 51st street, east side of street, on Manila Ave. I would like to participate in daffodil day, near the embarcadero area, where I work. thank you for doing this.

    • Eric Saltmarsh January 5, 2015 at 8:11 am #

      Hi, Carla. Thanks for all you do to help keep Oakland’s drains clear. We all benefit from what you and others do to keep winter rains from pooling in the streets and sidewalks.

      FYI, the next Daffodil Day will occur in November 2015. We will provide free daffodil bulbs at that time, so they can be planted in the fall and bloom the following February and March. We’ll be sure to post details of our next Daffodil Day on our website when we get closer to the autumn 2015 event, so you and other interested parties will know when and where to obtain the bulbs.



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