Hard-Working Bernal Heights Storm Drains Need Your Love and Attention


It’s another rainy, wet day, which begs the question: Have you given your nearest storm drain some love today?

Keeping storm drains free from obstruction and debris is an important way to prevent local flooding during heavy rains. Neighbor Susan tells Bernalwood about San Francisco’s adorable Adopt-a-Drain program, and how you can help keep our streets flood-free. She says:

I’m not sure how I heard about adoptadrain.sfwater.org – it has a nifty website that shows where storm drains are as you move through a map o the city. Of course I moved the cursor south to check out Bernal Heights. Drains everywhere! – and some adopted, on Banks Street. Upon inspecting the drains at the intersection nearest to my home, I decided this would be a good civic responsibility to take on. (Some people will argue that “the city should” but I prefer action to waiting.)

The photo above shows my “bad” drain, on the northwest corner of Banks, along with the implements I use to give it care – a broom, a dust pan with a long handle, and a bucket. The third photo is my bad drain, cleaned. The activity took about ten minutes and afforded me some pleasant conversation with people walking by – always good to find a new way to connect with others in the neighborhood.

A couple of keys to success: Check on street sweeping days to be sure that stuff near your drain is in the street to be swept. If rain is coming, clear the drain ahead of time. It doesn’t take long, and you’ll look at all drains differently from now on. As an added plus, no one will have to jump over or wade through a giant puddle caused by your drain being stopped up!

PHOTOS: Courtesy of Neighbor Susan

7 thoughts on “Hard-Working Bernal Heights Storm Drains Need Your Love and Attention

  1. Yes! Especially for streets with no street cleaning, this is very important. We used to do this monthly at minimum when we lived on the south side next to a drain. Now that we’re mid-block on the north side I don’t check as much, but with this excellent reminder, I will.

  2. As I was crossing Cortland at Nevada this morning, I noticed the storm drain on the SE corner was completely clogged, so I cleared it. 🙂

  3. Storms like this one are unusual. But, clogged drains are commonplace. Our city itself does a poor job keeping our streets and drains clean. We got dropped to alternate street cleaning a few years back, which isn’t enough. The city expects us to re-pave our sidewalks, maintain our trees ( although a proposition just reversed that) and now clean nearby drains.
    I thank those that volunteer this effort. I do myself as needed. But, my point is our taxes ought to pay for well-maintained streets and sidewalks. We shouldn’t have to do it ourselves.

  4. If a drain gets blocked and there’s a lot of water backed up around it, be careful clearing it. Sending too much water too quickly into the storm drain might overwhelm and back up the pipes further down the hill.

  5. Great Fun program for kids, you actually get to name the drain. 20 years ago I had Lake Andover out front and my own swimming pool in the basement due to clogged storm drains, found it is much easier to just rake the leaves and garbage off the grates, no problems since.

  6. I love my drain. Her name is Petunia, and she’s been working hard this winter. It is really satisfying to see her when she’s been clean and is ready for action.

Comments are closed.