For Immediate Release
Press Contact: Loren Jensen, Supervising Civil Engineer, (510) 981-6411

Prevent Flooding and Improve Water Quality

Berkeley, California (Monday, December 05, 2005) - Falling autumn leaves  and  winter rains bring clogged storm drains throughout Berkeley.  If unattended, these leaves can cause storm drains to back up when heavy rains arrive.  A clean storm drain prevents flooding, improves traffic flow, and maintains pedestrian access, especially for children, those with disabilities, and the elderly.  Clean water from a clean drain improves the water quality of our Bay.

There being over 6,000 storm drains throughout Berkeley, the City Public Works Department cannot prevent flooding at all intersections.  However, with the help of the Berkeley citizenry, we can significantly lower the number of flooding situations.

In an effort to improve Berkeley services, the City launched an “Adopt-a-Drain” program, modeled after similar efforts in surrounding cities.  The City is seeking volunteers to adopt a drain in their neighborhood.  After signing a simple agreement and liability release, the first 25 volunteers receive a starter kit, including bags, gloves, safety vests and rain gear. Volunteers are asked to clean fallen leaves and other debris from the adopted storm drains and gutters.  Public Works then picks up the bagged product after a call from the program member. 

According to Jim Hynes, Assistant to the City Manager, “these types of volunteer efforts improve the environment, build community, and create a positive connection between City staff and residents.”

For more information, or to download the agreement and liability release, visit our website at: For general information and copies of the Adopt-a-Drain brochure please contact the Customer Service Center at (510) 644-6620.