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With just a few minutes a month, you can help reduce flooding and keep our waterways healthy!

It might not seem like a big deal to have leaves, grass and other organic materials in the streets, but rain will swiftly carry these items into storm drains, feeding unhealthy algae blooms. Sticks, litter and other large debris will also clog drains which can encourage flooding.

So, how do you clean a drain? First, stay away from busy roads, focusing on lightly-traveled neighborhood streets, and ensure you have a partner to watch for traffic. Second, never remove the grate; you only want to clear the surface of the storm drain grate. Bring a rake, broom, and a bucket and collect debris from the drain surface and surrounding pavement; gloves are a great idea since you may encounter litter or broken glass. Finally, the best way to dispose of this organic material is in your compost pile or a piece of your property far from the road.

Now that you know, get out there, rake up, and encourage your neighbors to join you in this effort!

And, if you are in Princeton, join the STAR Neighborhood program to earn points for this action and more. For example, the Walnut-Dempsey-Cuyler neighborhood is busy working on this initiative as well as more as part of the STAR Neighborhood program.

Many thanks to Eliane and her neighbors in the Walnut-Dempsey-Cuyler neighborhood for implementing this concept in their neighborhood.