Adopt A Catch Basin Program

There are about 3,000 catch basins in Northfield and keeping all the catch basins clear can be a challenge, especially during heavy spring rains and when the leaves turn in the fall. The Adopt A Catch Basin program allows Northfield residents to help by volunteering and committing to keep storm catch basins and the surrounding areas clear of leaves and debris. By volunteering you will help protect the environment, manage stormwater, and reduce localized flooding.

Adopt a catch basin and help reduce flooding and improve water quality of nearby surface waters, by keeping it free of leaves, debris and litter! An often overlooked piece of street infrastructure, catch basins play a crucial role in removing excess rainwater from our streets and keeping our communities safe from flooding. With your help we can keep our catch basins clear, our water bodies clean, and our neighborhoods vibrant places to live, work and play.

Who should adopt a catch basin?

Individuals, families, youth organizations, businesses, schools, anyone over the age of 18 can sign up to help. Individuals under the age of 18 can assist in cleaning catch basins, however they must be accompanied by an adult when doing so.

Getting started

Adopting a catch basin is fast and easy! Sign up as a group or individually.

Signing up for the program

  1. Visit our interactive map
  2. Review the waiver of liability
  3. Enter your email address; by registering your email you agree to the waiver of liability
  4. Enter your contact information; if you are signing up as a group you can even create your own special team name. 

That's it! You are signed up!

Claiming catch basins

  1. Keep an eye out for an email with a login link and a list of the Adopt A Catch Basin program guidelines. 
  2. Click on the login link (in your email) to access an interactive map displaying adoptable drains.
  3. Claim a drain to adopt (or two...three) and name it! Note the City of Northfield reserved the right to reject inappropriate names.

Caring for your catch basin


You'll need gloves, a rake or broom, yard waste bag (for organic materials), a bag for trash and recyclables, bright/reflective clothing, and closed-toed shoes.

Cleaning instructions

  • Clear debris off the top of the catch basin and approximately ten feet along the curb on both sides of the catch basin.
  • Try not to push debris into the catch basin.
  • Use a rake or broom to place leaves, grass, and other organic materials into a yard waste bag. Place any liter in a trash bag and cans, bottles, and other recyclable materials in your recycling bin.
  • While there may not be leaves to clear during the winter months, adoptees can ensure catch basins remain clear of snow and ice to allow for proper drainage.

Cleaning schedule

The City recommends you check in on your catch basin periodically. The best time to visit your catch basin is before and after a heavy rainfall and in the autumn when trees start to lose their leaves. During the winter months, clear catch basin after heavy snowfalls to allow snow melt to drain properly.

Safety guidelines

Your safety is important to us! To protect your personal safety, follow our guidelines:

  • 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. 
  • Do not attempt to remove grate for cleaning. 
  • Stay visible with bright clothing or a safety vest when clearing your catch basin.
  • Be aware of traffic and keep out of the street whenever possible.

Report hazardous materials

Do not attempt to move or pick up hazardous materials like needles, broken glass, or deceased wildlife.

If you suspect illicit discharge or illegal dumping has occurred and/or has entered the storm sewer system, please report it Cole Johnson Water Quality Technician as soon as possible.

  1. Cole Johnson

    Cole Johnson

    Water Quality Specialist