June 9, 2022
Salt Lake City is seeking volunteer-minded residents to adopt a storm drain in their neighborhood and keep it clear of leaves, trash and other debris that contribute to water pollution and localized flooding.
Like programs that allow for adoption of roadways for litter removal, the new Adopt a Storm Drain program by the Salt Lake City Department of Public Utilities (SLCDPU) will encourage individual residents, community groups, schools, and businesses to adopt storm drains. Volunteering just a few minutes, twice a month, will contribute to cleaner communities and healthier waterways.
“Storm drains do not treat the water that flows into them. By adopting a storm drain, residents are helping us to steward waterways in our community and to protect water quality,” said Greg Archuleta, SLCDPU Stormwater Quality Program Manager.
In 2021, SLCDPU crews removed 2,715 tons of debris from City storm drains and ditches. They also intercepted 850 cubic feet of floating trash, preventing it from entering the Jordan River.
Storm drains can get clogged with plastic bottles, foam cups, trash bags, cigarette butts, leaves, and more–which can lead to localized flooding. The drains convey runoff directly to creeks, streams, rivers, and lakes, so keeping them running clear is imperative to water quality and environmental health.
“The Adopt a Storm Drain program is a wonderful opportunity to help take care of the streams and rivers in Utah’s capital city,” said SLCDPU Director Laura Briefer. “Most of the urban runoff in Salt Lake City ends up in the Jordan River, which has water quality impairments. It is up to each of us to take part in improving water quality and aquatic health of the Jordan River and all waterways in our community, for current and future generations.”
Adopt a Storm Drain volunteers do not need special equipment, but might want these tools for cleaning a drain: a broom, a rake, a trash grabber, gloves, an orange cone and safety vest, a snow shovel or dustpan, and a pail or yard waste receptacle.
Storm drains on busy, multi-lane roads will not be adoptable for safety reasons–the program applies to residential neighborhoods only. Storm drain covers and grates must not be removed; that job is for SLCDPU crews only.
To help improve Salt Lake City stormwater quality, and to learn specifics about signing up to Adopt a Storm Drain, please visit: www.slc.gov/utilities/adoptastormdrain/