How to Clear Your Adopted Drain

Thank you for your interest in adopting one or more of San Francisco's 25,000+ storm drains. By pledging to keep your drain free of leaves and debris, you are joining your neighbors in helping to protect the environment, manage stormwater, and minimize flooding.

Drain Clearing Tips
  • If possible, clear the drain before it starts raining.
  • Put leaves and other natural material in the green compost bin. Put trash in the black garbage bin.
  • Clear about 10 feet on both sides of the drain.
  • Drain completely clogged and flooding roadway? Medical waste or needles? Construction debris? Toxic materials? Report it to the City's Customer Service Center, 311 on the web (or dial 3-1-1).

Drain Clearing Safety Tips
  • Never try to lift the drain grate.
  • Clear from the sidewalk, not the street.
  • Wear reflective clothing so vehicles can see you.
  • Always wear gloves and be careful of sharp objects!
  • Use a rake, broom, or shovel - not your hands.
Remember, the City and County of San Francisco won't be held responsible for anything that happens to you or others in service of maintaining your drain. Please be careful!
Free Tools and Training

Stay tuned for emails alerting you of tool giveaway and training events.

Volunteer Waiver and Release of Liability

I am voluntarily participating in the City of San Francisco’s Adopt a Drain program. I have read and agree to follow the Volunteer Guidelines, below. I acknowledge my participation in these events does not come without the risk of injury or harm; I accept this risk and assume responsibility for all liability and risk associated with my participation.

I agree to hold harmless, release, waive and forever discharge the City of San Francisco, its employees, departments, officers and agents, from any and all claims or demands I may have by reason of any accident, illness, injury, loss, destruction or damage to property, arising or resulting directly or indirectly from my participation in this activity. I further covenant not to bring any legal action against the City of San Francisco, its employees, departments, officers and agents, for any injury, loss or damage resulting from my participation in this activity.

This Waiver and Release is contractual and not a mere recital and applies whether or not injury or loss resulting from this activity is caused by an act or omission of the City, its employees, departments, officers or agents, negligent or otherwise.

This Waiver and Release is binding on my heirs, executors, administrators, assigns, and all of my family members, and applies to all losses, whether known or unknown, suspected or unsuspected, related to my participation in this activity.

I hereby grant permission to the City of San Francisco to use photographs of me taken during this activity on its website and in other publications, at the City’s sole discretion and without further consideration.

Volunteer Guidelines

Thank you for your dedication to San Francisco! Your well-being and enjoyment are important to us. All volunteers are expected to conduct themselves in a safe, courteous and legal manner while participating in activities on City property or right-of-way. Please follow these guidelines:

General Safety
  1. Wear appropriate footwear, clothing, sunscreen and eye protection (when necessary).
  2. Keep hydrated.
  3. Call 911 for emergencies.
Traffic Safety
  1. When possible, stay out of the street.
  2. When working in or around a gutter, work from the sidewalk.
  3. If working near traffic, wear a bright reflective work vest or bright-colored clothing. x
  4. Cross streets at signals or crosswalks, not mid-block.
Working Near Waterways
  1. Always work with a partner near water.
  2. Watch for poison oak and blackberry thorns.
  3. Watch your footing on slopes and shorelines.
  4. Never allow children to work on steep slopes or near shorelines without adult supervision.
Tool Safety
  1. Do not use power tools.
  2. Carry tools carefully to avoid hitting others.
  3. Always use the right tools for the job. Ask a team leader or City staff if you are unsure.
  4. Never allow children to play with tools or to use sharp tools.
  5. Always keep your tools close to you.
  6. Count and clean your tools after an activity/cleanup.
  7. Return borrowed tools and supplies, as agreed.
Debris Removal
  1. Always sweep, rake or shovel glass. Never pick up sharp objects with your hands.
  2. Separate collected materials into recycling (blue), compost (green), and landfill (black) garbage bins.
  3. To the extent practicable, place recyclables and smaller garbage bags into home refuse containers.
  4. Contact San Francisco 311 by calling 3-1-1 for pickup of City-issued debris bags. Tell them the quantity of bags, type of debris and the nearest address.
  5. Never touch hazardous or medical waste (including automotive fluids and hypodermic needles). Report items to the 311 Call Center or to a City employee, if present.
General Conduct
  1. Always be courteous to fellow volunteers and City employees.
  2. Never use vulgar language or engage in threatening or disruptive actions.
  3. Never make unauthorized changes to City property or right-of-way, including landscaping.
  4. Keep foreign mulch and soils off City property and right-of-way.

Note: The City reserves the right to immediately withdraw support for any volunteer if, at the sole discretion of the City, the volunteer’s conduct while participating in volunteer activities on City property or right-of-way is determined to be inconsistent with these Volunteer Guidelines or violates any local, state or federal law. Withdrawal of support may include repossession of loaned tools and revocation of related agreements.