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Residents encouraged to adopt a storm drain

“Brain Drain” catch basin on Dunster Lane. Photo by Joyce Westner

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There are so many ways to volunteer in Winchester, but one of the easiest jobs is to adopt a storm drain. 

A program started in many communities throughout the country, it encourages residents to clean the area around a storm drain near their house so that rainwater and snow melt can flow freely into the Mystic River watershed. 

 The Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA), in partnership with 10 local municipalities and with funding from the commonwealth’s Department of Environmental Protection, launched the Adopt-a-Drain program. According to the MyRWA’s website, “Volunteers sign up to adopt a drain (or drains!) and then check on that drain and remove any excess trash/build up before and after heavy rain, wind, or snow. The result: clean rivers and lakes and less local flooding.”

 If a resident adopts their local drain, they agree to remove debris like leaves and litter from the catch basin’s grates.  

According to Town Engineer Matt Shuman, “This past year was tough. In December, every catch basin was covered and the DPW couldn’t keep up.”

The fun part is adopters can give their drain a name.  Your writer adopted one this morning and named it “Brain drain.” According to a Facebook post, Somerville adopters gave theirs names like Drain the Rock Johnson, If I Only Had a Drain, and You’re So Drain. Shuman is looking for stencils that adopters can use to identify adopted drains.

Although Winchester participates, the town website doesn’t yet have a way to sign up, but you can do so at

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