Adopt and name a catch basin this fall

November 3 2023 –

Recent fall weather has already brought intense rain fall to Vancouver. Heavy rain, combined with falling leaves and other debris, can clog catch basins, leading to flooding and ponding in our streets. Fortunately, residents have adopted over 6,100 catch basins as part of the City of Vancouver’s annual Adopt-a-Catch-Basin program

“Vancouverites do great work caring for our city. It’s great to see people help care for catch basins in our communities. It only takes a few minutes and goes a long way in keeping our streets safer for pedestrians and drivers,” says Mayor Ken Sim. “It also prevents debris from getting swept into adjacent waterways that are often habitat for wildlife, keeping Vancouver cleaner, greener, better for everyone.”

Crews work hard to regularly remove leaves from streets and keep catch basins and our drainage system clear, but with 45,000 catch basins across the city, it’s difficult to attend to all of them within a short period. On average, the City receives close to 1,200 calls per year reporting flooding from blocked catch basins. Like other cities in the Lower Mainland, we’re also seeing more intense and frequent rainfall due to climate change, with more potential for flooding.

Gamelle Fitzgibbon has seven catch basins that she cares for: 
“Since I joined the program and started cleaning debris from catch basins in my West End neighbourhood, people stop to thank me or ask me what I am doing. It feels good being involved in my neighbourhood and environment.”

The City of Vancouver has almost 39,000 catch basins available for adoption. To adopt and name your new catch basin, go to Catch basins marked with “hearts” are prone to flooding and are in need of a little extra care. The best time to check on catch basins is before and after heavy rain or snow, and when trees begin to shed leaves. 

Raking or blowing leaves onto the street can make flooding problems even worse so we ask residents, business, property management and maintenance teams to avoid being in violation under the Street and Traffic By-Law (up to $10,000)  (949 KB). There are no City By-laws that require residents to clear sidewalks of leaves.

Upcoming community catch basin clean-up events

Give back to your community, meet other like-minded residents and learn more about Vancouver’s drainage system. 

Safety guidelines when cleaning catch basins

  1. Do not use your hands to move leaves or debris blocking the catch basins, instead use a long-handled rake, broom or shovel to clear away materials.
  2. Stay visible with bright clothing or a safety vest when clearing your catch basin.

Report hazardous materials

  1. Do not attempt to move or pick up hazardous materials like needles, broken glass, or deceased wildlife
  2. Report hazardous materials: report it online using Van311 or by phoning 3-1-1
  3. Report discarded needles: phone The Mobile Needle Exchange at 604-657-6561

Watch for traffic

  1. Be mindful of car and bike traffic, and other pedestrians, and stay out of the street whenever possible.
  2. Make sure that you only cross the street at designated crossing areas. Avoid crossing mid-block.