[If you adopted a storm drain in 2022, please complete DPW certification HERE. Thank you.]

Adopt A Storm Drain


One of the most dangerous results of the climate crisis in New Jersey is the increased number of intense rainfall events.  For example, during Tropical Storm Ida, in 2021, the Hillsborough Duke Farms weather station recorded over 9.45 inches. In Highland Park, we got 8.7 inches. Storm water systems were not built to handle such volumes of water. 

Storm drains, also called catch basins, direct water into the underground piping that moves water away from impervious surfaces like buildings, roads and parking lots.  They also catch debris when it rains.  When people clear the drains of debris on a regular basis, the drains function more efficiently.  

One way citizens can assist in mitigating these events is to “adopt a drain”.  This means taking responsibility for 1-3 drains near your home and committing to clearing debris from the top of the drain(s) once a month.  

If you join this project, Sustainable Highland Park will assist you by helping you choose storm drain(s) near where you live or work, showing you a training video, and providing you with the materials you will need, for example a small rake, protective gloves, a safety vest, bags, etc.

Before you begin, please read the Adopt-A-Storm Drain FAQ Handout for more information here.

How to Adopt a Storm Drain

The following steps will walk you through the process of adopting a storm drain.  You must complete all steps to participate in the project.

  1. Watch the short video on how to clean a storm drain here (If the video doesn’t play, you may need to enable third party cookies.)
  2. Fill out and submit the volunteer form. You will enter your contact information, confirm that you have watched the video, and select the equipment you need. Access the form here.
  3. Download, read and sign, by typing your full name, the Borough of Highland waiver. Access the form here.
  4. Email the waiver directly to Emma Von Thon at: evonthun@hpboro.com
  5. When the application is received, someone from SHP will contact you to help you select your storm drains and get you the equipment that you need.  
  6. Now you are ready to keep your storm drains clean.  Thank you.