City maps out clogged storm drains, urges residents to help keep them clear

As the rainy season approaches, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission announced it’s launched a new program to help identify some of the city’s storm drains most in need of maintenance.

The new Drains In Need program is part of the utilities commission’s Adopt a Drain program, which started in 2016 and allows residents to pledge to clean and maintain storm drains to prevent flooding on city streets.

The new program uses data and feedback collected from 311, the Department of Public Works, Data SF, Code for SF and agency engineers to identify about 2,000 out of 25,000 drains in the city as the most clogged with leaves, litter and debris. The data has been entered into a digital map.

“Thanks to the dedicated and selfless commitment of our residents, the Adopt a Drain program has been a huge success,” Harlan Kelly Jr., the public utilities commission’s general manager, said in a statement. “We are taking this great initiative to its next logical step with the Drain in Need feature. We can now efficiently identify and clean our drains most in need of maintenance.”

According to SFPUC officials, about 1,600 “drain heroes,” have enrolled in the Adopt a Drain program, helping out SFPUC crews who routinely inspect, clean, repair and replace the more than 1,000 miles of sewer pipes throughout the city.

Residents, however, don’t have to adopt a drain in order to report clogged drains and street flooding. Residents and “drain heroes” are encouraged to call 311 to report any storm drain issues or by visiting www.sf311.org.

A map of the city’s most frequently clogged drains and more information about the Adopt a Drain program can be found at https://adoptadrain.sfwater.org/.

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