SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — With record-breaking snowfall, many Utahns are preparing for the possibility of flooding when the snow melts. Well, there may be a way for Salt Lake City residents to reduce the risk of a localized flood — adopt a storm drain.

Launched in 2022, the Adopt A Storm Drain Program encourages residents to adopt a storm drain in their neighborhood and spend about 15 minutes twice a month clearing the waterways to prevent flooding.

“Storm drains get clogged with plastic bottles. styrofoam cups, cigarette butts, leaves and more; this can lead to localized flooding,” officials said.

Aside from that, clearing the storm drains can also reduce pollution of the waterways since trash in the community will often end up below the ground and in the drains. The water in Salt Lake City’s storm drains reportedly flows directly into the creeks and streams that eventually make it to the Jordan River and the Great Salt Lake.

“It’s a way for our community to get engaged in keeping our waterways clean,” said Laura Briefer, director of Salt Lake City Department of Public Utilities. “Those who have immediate access to a storm drain… can really take an active role in helping the City to keep our storm drains clean

Don’t forget – residents who adopt a storm drain get to give it a name as well. The Department of Public Utilities’ website has a map of all the adopted storm drains, and their names range from normal street names to cheeky monikers like “It’s Draining Men,” “Purple Drain, Purple Drain,” and “Toxic Sludge Collector.”

Here are the steps to follow if you are interested in adopting a drain:

  • Locate a storm drain in your neighborhood. Note the location or approximate address.
  • Fill out this registration form.
  • Wait for the confirmation email along with more information about tips to prevent stormwater runoff pollution and how to clean the storm drain grate
  • Track your impact by keeping a rough total of the debris collected and emailing the program the number
  • Send any updates you have of your storm drain through this form

The Department of Public Utilities has also provided a few tips to begin cleaning the drains:

Officials advise residents to never remove the grate. If the drain seems to be clogged, contact city staff at (801) 483-6900, and they will send someone to take care of it. Other tips include never picking up any hypodermic needles, wearing gloves when picking up trash and wearing a mask to prevent dust inhalation.

For more information, visit Adopt A Storm Drain Program or reach out to the Department of Public Utilities at (801) 483-6900.