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Adopting catch basins a “grate” volunteer opportunity

October 23 2017 City launches Adopt a Catch Basin Program

"Caring for a catch basin may only take a little time, but residents help goes a long way to help prevent flooding in our city and keep our streets safe and accessible for everyone.”

Mother and son clearing a street catch basin

This fall, residents can use a new online tool to adopt their local catch basin.

The new Adopt a Catch Basin program invites residents to pick a catch basin near their home or business, and keep it free of leaves, debris, and litter to help reduce flooding in Vancouver neighbourhoods. 

The online interface maps out over 45,000 adoptable catch basins across the City that residents can go online to adopt and name.

It was built on an open source data platform and will be returned to open source for use by other cities. 

“Our early test-phase adopters have demonstrated their own creativity with catch basin names like Catcher in the Rain and Grate Dreams of Rhythm and Dancing,” says Jerry Dobrovolny, General Manager of Engineering Services. “One early adopter claimed over 40 catch basins, when we called to confirm it was on purpose, he verified that he adopted every one on his block. Caring for a catch basin may only take a little time, but residents help goes a long way to help prevent flooding in our city and keep our streets safe and accessible for everyone.” 

City crews work hard to help keep streets safe from flooding through the fall leaf collection program, street sweeping, and street cleaning.

A GIS mapping system is used to heat-map reports of flooding or clogged catch basins that come in through VanConnect or 3-1-1, allowing City crews to respond efficiently. 

Catch basins play a crucial role in removing excess rainwater from our streets and we are extremely appreciative of residents who adopt and clear out catch basins in their neighbourhood.

How to adopt

Residents can adopt starting today, and see what clever names have been chosen for catch basins around town. 

Adopters are asked to check on their adopted catch basin periodically — the best time is before heavy rain and when the trees begin to lose their leaves — and clear catch basin clogging materials using a broom, rake, or shovel.

If the catch basin does not clear, residents can report flooding online or with the VanConnect app. The City will use a GIS mapping system to send out trucks to attend to reported flooding issues. 

We encourage residents to stay safe in this heavy rain, remain visible with reflective clothing or items on your person and travel mindfully as we all work to navigate the change in weather. 

Adopt now

The “Grate” Catch Basin Naming Contest 

Residents can also enter the “Grate” Catch Basin Naming Contest on social media for a chance to win rain gear.

To enter, residents are invited to share their catch basin’s name on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with the hashtag #mycatchbasin before November 20, 2017.

Learn more 

View a video about the program

Download photos of the program ZIP (34 MB)