Q. What's a great way to help keep your community clean, promote stormwater management, and keep our stormwater infrastructure as resilient as possible, all with just a few minutes of your time?
A. Participate in the Berkeley Heights Adopt-A-Drain Program!
Berkeley Heights joins Westfield as the first two municipalities on the East Coast to help pilot the Adopt-A-Drain program as it grows its national scope.
Based out of Hamline University’s Center for Global Environmental Education, the Adopt-A-Drain program has been rolled out to approximately 40 communities in the Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN area, as well as Seattle, WA and Braintree, MA. Truly, we are leading the way!
The Adopt-A-Drain program offers Berkeley Heights community members the opportunity to assist with stormwater management on a town-wide level. The more people who pitch in and remove leaves and litter from drains in town, the less likely this litter is to wind up falling into these drains, which means less pollution of our waterways.
Stormwater Runoff and Stormwater Management
If you picture Berkeley Heights as one long mountain, residents who live in lower elevation areas, such as at the bottom of hills, or near tributaries to the Passaic River, may be subject to stormwater runoff – water from heavy rains - that flows to their streets, backyards, and residences. For those residents near such tributaries, litter in the Passaic River tributaries not only can travel along the waterway and end up in their backyards, but this litter can also cause back-ups and “mini-dams,” resulting in flooding to these residents’ properties.
With residents helping to reduce the amount of litter that falls into storm drains, there will be less litter in our stormwater infrastructure. This litter removal, in turn, will keep our stormwater infrastructure more litter-free, which may help to reduce the amount of flooding certain residents experience.
How This Project Complements DPW’s Services and Helps to Preserve Our Stormwater Infrastructure
Our Department of Public Works (DPW) cleans all drains in town on a rotational basis. However, any intermittent assistance that residents can provide between DPW’s cleanings will assist in keeping drains in town cleaner and clear from litter on a more regular basis. The Adopt-A-Drain program, therefore, will complement the DPW’s regular drain cleanings. Having less litter fall into our storm drains will result in less wear and tear on our stormwater infrastructure. Stormwater infrastructure replacement can be highly expensive. With robust participation in the Adopt-A-Drain program, residents’ drain cleanings can collectively be small steps that add up to huge savings.
How This Project Provides an Environmental Justice Element
Anyone can participate in the Adopt-A-Drain program, regardless of their age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, fitness level, etc. All members of our community are welcome to adopt a drain. Participation is free. The Berkeley Heights Adopt-A-Drain program seeks to provide open access, as well as a similar opportunity and experience, for everyone in town. The program is a great way for all to volunteer their efforts and help make our town a cleaner, more beautiful, and more resilient place.
We hope you will join us in participating in this great program!