COQUITLAM, BC, Sept. 23, 2021 – Coquitlam residents and businesses are invited to do their part to help protect local streams and their neighbourhood by adopting a catch basin.
In time for B.C. Rivers Day on Sept. 26, the City has launched an Adopt-a-Catch Basin program to encourage members of the public to become stewards for catch basins – also known as storm drains – in their community. These curbside drains help prevent flooding by directing rainwater into the City’s drainage system, which flows directly into local creeks, streams and aquatic habitat.
Why Are Catch Basins Important?
More than 16,000 catch basins across Coquitlam help keep streets, lanes and other areas clear of excess rainwater. However, when catch basins get clogged with leaves, debris or snow, it can cause flooding on streets and properties and – when temperatures drop – turn roadways into ice rinks.
While Coquitlam crews clear catch basins and intakes as often as possible, residents play an important role by helping to clear away debris and snow while also keeping chemicals and dangerous materials out of the drainage system, where they can harm aquatic habitat and wildlife.
A “Grate” Way to Give Back
Open to individuals, groups or businesses, the Adopt-a-Catch Basin program offers members of the public a “grate” way to help protect the environment and the safety of their local streets and neighbourhood. Program volunteers have two main roles:
- Check on their adopted catch basin regularly and keep it clear of leaves, debris and snow; and
- Report their cleaning activity, damage, signs of chemical dumping or other issues to the City.
Volunteers may adopt more than one catch basin and are encouraged to assign them fun, creative names. Instruction is provided, and a limited supply of small rakes is available on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, sign-up links and a map of Coquitlam’s catch basins, visit www.coquitlam.ca/adoptacatchbasin.
The new program complements other City volunteer adoption programs for parks, trails, streets and dog parks.
Only Rain in the Drain
Catch basins – and anything poured into them – empty directly into local creeks and streams. Yellow fish symbols are painted near catch basins around Coquitlam to remind the public that anything that goes down these drains could affect fish and wildlife.
Residents who want to volunteer to paint yellow fish near the catch basins in their neighbourhood can borrow a kit from the City for free. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
Using catch basins to dispose of chemicals could lead to penalties under the City’s Stream and Drainage System Protection Bylaw and from provincial and federal authorities. Visit www.coquitlam.ca/wastewizard or www.rcbc.ca to search for safe disposal locations for chemicals.
Other Ways You Can Help
Help protect Coquitlam’s green spaces and network of creeks, streams and rivers:
- Wash cars on the lawn or at a car wash, and sweep walkways and driveways rather than hosing them down;
- Don’t use pesticides in your yard – visit www.coquitlam.ca/pesticides for alternatives;
- Fix oil and transmission leaks and recycle all used oil and antifreeze;
- Never drain hot tub or swimming pool water into storm drains – direct it into the sanitary system instead. Check out RCBC Recyclepedia at www.rcbc.ca for the disposal of hot tub and pool chemicals.
- During renovation and construction projects, keep dirt, paint and wet concrete away from storm drains and streams; and
- Keep pets away from streams – animal waste is polluting, and pets can erode streambanks, cause siltation and disturb fish and wildlife.
Look for the Watercourse Protection page at www.coquitlam.ca/environment to learn more about how Coquitlam is protecting local creeks, streams and rivers.
Backgrounder: Protecting Coquitlam’s Watercourses
Public Works Services Manager