Help Keep the Water Flowing: Become a Grate Keeper


The Village of Cooperstown offers an opportunity for its residents, businesses, organizations, and others to get involved in helping to keep the Village safer.  If you have already adopted a drain, thank you. If you would like to, thank you too and read on. Both the Adopt-A-Drain and Adopt-A Hydrant are modeled after the popular Adopt-A-Highway sponsored by the NYS Department of Transportation. 

We know some roads do receive their share of water and an unclogged drain can help keep water from overflowing into the streets and becoming a safety hazard. How would you like to become a Grate Keeper?  There are 313 storm drains scattered throughout the Village, and many are awaiting your adoption. This is an enthusiastic charge to keep them all clear of debris, including leaves.  Go to the Village website at to find the drains(s) nearest to your home, business, or organization and email the drain number(s) along with your contact information to Village volunteer Rich McCaffery at or call 547-5256.  You may also e-mail or call ahead of time to see if the drain you're hoping for has not been adopted. All requests will be confirmed.

To keep our Great Keepers safe and avoid any damage to the drain, here are helpful tips once you adopt your drain(s).  Always stand on the curb, not in the street, to clear the drain.  Use a rake or pitch fork to clear leaves, limbs, and debris from the top of the catch basin.  Do not push debris into the catch basin.  Do not attempt to remove the grate, only the debris on top of the grate.  Please place leaves and debris in your yard debris container for easy removal and recycling.

When the forecast calls for a heavy rainfall, snow, or ice, be especially vigilant in removing the debris from each catch basin.  After the storm, maintain the openings.  The Village will continue monitoring storm drains, but the assistance of volunteers will reduce the possibility of flooding due to inoperable or clogged drains, especially in light of the more frequent and severe storms we have been seeing.

If you see your adopted catch basin is filled with debris below the grate, or if you cannot clear the basin yourself or notice any other problems with the drain, please notify the DPW Superintendent at 547-2411 and report the particular location, preferably by its assigned number.  Never remove the grate or put debris or other substances into the drain.

Be a Grate Keeper- it's a Great Thing to do!  Contact Village Volunteer Rich McCaffery at or Streets Committee Chair Cindy Falk at with any additional questions.


According to Trustee Cindy Falk, Rich proposed the Adopt-A-Drain and Adopt-A-Hydrant idea in 2014 and garnered the support of the Village Streets Committee and the Board of Trustees. The Cooperstown Fire Department has also supported the initiative, which has the potential of helping prevent property damage from fires. The Village thanks Rich for coordinating this volunteer project.  Over the past several months, he has led the effort to create an updated digital map of all the hydrants and drains within the Village jurisdiction, an important first step toward implementation.


 Drain Map