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City of Houston

Shania Drain, Draino Malfoy, Cardi D: Thousands Of Houston’s Storm Drains Are Up For Adoption

To enter the city’s naming contest, adopt a drain near your home or business by Oct. 17.

Houston's drains are ready for adoption.
City of Houston
Houston’s drains are ready for adoption. Blue flags indicate available drains and orange ones are already adopted.

It’s the familiar plea you hear every time a storm comes to Houston — local officials urging everyone to clear the drains in their neighborhoods of leaves and trash, to help prevent flooding.

That’s why whether you're flush with creativity or your mind is in the gutter, the city of Houston is asking locals to unclog their brain and join in the Adopt-a-Drain naming contest: to bring attention to the city’s more than 100,000 storm drains and the neighborhoods that rely on them to stop flooding.

Residents and businesses have adopted around 1,600 drains since the city began the program in 2018, and now there’s a push to adopt by Oct. 17 to enter a contest for the best drain name. The winner will be chosen in a public poll, and prizes include the winning name on a small blue tile plaque, a tool bundle including a DeWalt power tools set worth $500, drain maintenance tools donated by the Houston ToolBank, and the knowledge that your drain is among the most well-named in the city.

The city spends more than $13 million annually to keep drains clear and around 75,000 of those drains are adoptable, At-Large Council Member Sallie Alcorn said.

"It just helps. Everything clogs up down there. We're still going to have to spend money clearing out drains — it's not like we're going to eliminate the cost — but it really does help,” Alcorn said.

When Houston’s Adopt-a-Drain program launched in 2018, an Arizona-based sex toy company adopted over 200 drains, giving them colorful names.

It was a funny — if not entirely appropriate — illustration of a problem that's since been corrected, the council member said.

"That was bad,” Alcorn said. “But it was also good because there was a bunch of hilarity around it and immediately Public Works had to disable the name thing. Now there's an algorithm. One of my neighbors tried to call their drain ‘the Tumbleweed' and because weed was in it, it got kicked out. Now it's really strict."

For creative inspiration, here are some of our favorite Houston drain names:

Purple Drain

Shania Drain

Drain "The Rock" Johnson

Don Drainer & Betty Drainer

Hakeem Olajudrain

Insane in the MemDrain

Bless the drains down in Africa

Midnight Drain Going Anywhere

Kanye is Overrated

Ru Paul's Drain Race

Stormy Drainels

Draino Malfoy

Cardi D

It's Draining Men

Pinky and the Drain

Leaf me alone

Drains Harden

LL Cool Drain

Girl Scout Troop 122019

Reid promises to clean this drain with his heart and soul

billy corgan

LeBron Drains

Astros doctored baseball disposal (located outside Minute Maid Park)

Lil Drain

Old girl*

Tee shirty*

*DISCLOSURE: The last two drains on the list were named by 3-year-old Rocco, son of Houston Public Media senior producer Paul DeBenedetto