Adopt a Drain – Autumn 2023

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Adopt a Drain newsletter header image

Welcome to the ‘Adopt a Drain’ community!

We are thrilled to share the first edition of our seasonal ‘Adopt a Drain’ newsletter with you. This newsletter is all about creating stewardship for our neighbourhood drains, a place where we can share tips and tricks related to keeping our storm drains clean and keeping pollution out of our waterways. 

‘Adopt a Drain’ is a programme aimed at reducing stormwater pollution by encouraging individuals and groups to adopt a storm drain in their neighbourhood and commit to keeping it clear of debris and litter. By doing so, we can reduce the amount of pollutants that enter our waterways, protect aquatic life, and maintain the health of our ecosystem.

Thank you for joining us on this journey. Let’s work together to keep our neighbourhoods clean and our waterways healthy.

Leaf no trace

Keeping our waterways healthy in Autumn

“Only rain down the storm drain.” Storm drains are built for carrying excess rainwater during large rainfall events. Many of the storm drains in our community flow directly to our lakes, rivers and wetlands.

Autumn leaves covering a drain in the street

Autumn brings beautiful shades of red, orange and yellow to our community, however the falling leaves of deciduous trees can also cause issues for our neighbourhoods and waterways.

Many people aren’t aware that natural debris – such as leaves, grass clippings or animal poop, are all forms of pollution when they enter our waterways.

Clearing our storm drains of fallen leaves (and all other debris) is important for two main reasons:

1. Clogged storm drains can cause flooding:

Excess leaf litter can block the flow of water into our storm drains, therefore causing neighbourhood flooding. 

2. Leaf litter in our waterways adds excess nutrients: 

When washed into our drain system, leaf litter begins to decay in our lakes and rivers, releasing nutrients (such as nitrogen) that feed algae and reduce water quality.


Cleaning the leaves from our drains

A rake in a pile of autumn leaves.

The time has come to get outside and clean our drains! Here are our top tips for removing leaf debris:

  • Stand on the curb when clearing your drains, not on the street.
  • Use a rake (if possible) to collect leaf debris from around your neighbourhood/storm drains and always wear gloves.
  • Don’t rake leaves to the side – collect them in a bin or bag.
  • Use collected leaves in your compost or as mulch on your garden beds – they are great for this! Otherwise dispose of properly with other green waste materials.
  • If possible, remove leaves before rainfall event. 
Adopt a drain, protect our waterways.

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