Norfolk neighborhood tests out city’s ‘Adopt-a-Drain’ program

A storm drain in Norfolk's Fairmount Park neighborhood.

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A neighborhood in Norfolk is testing out the city’s pilot program to help curb flooding.

In January, the city launched its “Adopt-a-Drain” app.

It allows users to “adopt” storm drains in their neighborhoods.

The Fairmount Park neighborhood was chosen to test it out.

“Fairmount Park is an area that experiences drainage issues,” said Katie White, a resilience fellow for the City of Norfolk.

White said the community was also chosen because of its active civic league.

The app allows Fairmount Park users to log on, locate drains near their homes, and adopt them.

“Basicially they’re taking a pledge to ensure their drains aren’t getting clogged with litter, yard debris, any sort of waste,” White said.

White said that residents only have to clear the areas around the drains about twice a month.

After cleaning them, they use the app to alert the city that it’s been done.

She said this makes it easier for the city because there are more than 20,000 storm drains within its limits.

There are more than 120 in Fairmount Park alone.

Taylor Gould, the civic league’s president, said that infrastructure projects have been ongoing in the community since the mid-2000s and they’ve been proactive about environmental issues.

Gould, who’s adopted a few of the drains, said they’re pretty easy to take care of.

“A lot of folks are doing it before a storm. Before we know we’re going to get rain,” he said.

Gould said there are about 2,300 homes in their community and only 15 drains have been adopted.

A few have been chosen by older residents, including some who don’t have internet access.

Gould believes that once they alert more residents, more will get involved.

“We’ve had storms, bad weather. I think it will pick up when the weather is more normal,” he said.

White said the app does not include drains on major roadways for safety reasons and there’s a tutorial on the app to show residents how to clean around the drain areas.

It’s a project she’s excited about and hopes will help make the city more resilient.

“In order to build a coast community of the future, in order to make Norfolk resilient, every resident has a role to play,” she said.