Adopt a Drain Program

Help keep our waterways clean by adopting a drain in your neighborhood! Through Burlington’s Adopt-a-Drain program, residents can volunteer to care for a local storm drain and check on it before and after heavy rain, wind, or snow.

Did you know that storm drains lead directly into our waterways? Keeping drains clear of litter, leaves, and other debris protects our lakes and rivers from pollution and ensures that our streets don’t flood. 

Click here to adopt your drain

What is an Adopt-a-Drain program? What does it mean to adopt a drain?

An Adopt-a-Drain program is a volunteer program that helps keep our local environment clean and healthy. Participants sign up to adopt a drain (or drains!) and then check on that drain before and after heavy rain, wind, or snow. Any extra care is even better! Anything that goes down the drain ends up in the Mystic, Ipswich or Shawsheen Rivers or one of the many wetlands in town, which is why this program is so helpful. Keeping the drains clear can also help prevent streets from flooding as it ensures that water can freely flow down the drain. While inside catch basins are cleaned regularly, it is not possible to clear every catch basin grate (on top of these basins) prior to a storm event. The Town therefore asks residents and businesses to adopt a catch basin in your neighborhood to monitor and clear the grate as needed.

What am I adopting? What is a storm drain?

Storm drains are the grates you see in streets and roads. They’ll be to the side of the road, along the curb, and in Burlington are typically square. Since asphalt and pavement can’t absorb water, any rain and melting snow flow along the street and into these drains. A basin below the grates, called a catch basin, is meant to collect this water and any debris but it can fill up quickly and doesn’t capture everything. Water that goes into the drains – and anything in that water, like trash – doesn’t get treated or go to a wastewater plant, instead, it empties into nearby water bodies.

How can I get involved?

Just head to our website to sign up! Find a drain by typing in a nearby address or by dragging the map. If the drain you want to adopt is available, you can claim it by clicking on it. Sign up for the program, give your drain a name, and keep an eye out for a welcome email with more info! You can adopt as many drains as you would like to care for.

How can I learn more about stormwater and our environment?

There are lots of great resources to learn more about stormwater, pollution, our three watersheds, and our environment! Our Stormwater Management Program page and Clean Water Tips pages are great places to learn more about