More rain got you down? Adopt-a-Drain!


Woburn experienced heavy rain last weekend, with more in the forecast for early next week.  In colder weather the ground can be frozen or partially-frozen, making stormwater ground surface infiltration less effective.  This can lead to localized flooding.  With these storms in quick succession it is highly likely areas that experienced short-term flooding during this past summer’s rain events will experience this again with Sunday and Monday’s upcoming storm.

This is a great chance to consider adopting a catch basin!  All you have to do is check the storm drain(s) near you for leaf litter, trash or other debris (including snow) and keep them clear.  This will allow the drains to function more efficiently during storms. To adopt a drain near you, see below for more information, or click here!  And don’t forget to think of a name for your drain!  Some adopters are getting very creative.  Current favorites include “Last Drain to Clarksville,” “Drain ‘The Rock’ Johnson,” and “Mr. Thirsty!”

What does it mean to adopt a catch basin?

The City of Woburn has over 4,200 storm drainage catch basins to maintain.  While Public Works crews do the best they can, they can’t always get to every catch basin during a storm event.  Participants sign-up to adopt a catch basin 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 Aberjona River or Horn Pond, both of which flow into the Mystic River, which is why this program is so helpful. Keeping the catch basin clear can also help prevent streets from flooding as it ensures that water can freely flow down the drain.

What am I adopting? What is a catch basin?

Catch basins are the grates you see in streets and roads and they provide an entrance to the drainage system under the street. . They’ll be to the side of the road, along the curb, and in Woburn are typically square. Since asphalt and pavement can’t absorb water, any rain and melting snow flow along the street and into these drain openings. A structure below the grate, is the actual catch basin, and it is meant to collect this water and debris but it can fill up quickly during heavy storms and doesn’t capture everything. Water that goes into the catch basin and anything in that water, like trash, dirt or leaves, doesn’t get treated or go to a wastewater plant, instead it empties into nearby water bodies, like streams and wetlands.

How can I get involved?

Just head to our website to sign up!  Find a catch basin by typing in a nearby address, or by dragging the map.  If the catch basin you want to adopt is available, you can claim it by clicking on it.  Sign up for the program, give your catch basin a  catchy name, and keep an eye out for a welcome email with more info!  You can adopt as many catch basins as you would like to care for.  The welcome email will include instructions on how to safely keep your adopted catch basin clean.

For more information on the Woburn Stormwater Program, please visit our Stormwater Program page here.