Drain Forest

Drain Forest: a structure to decrease leaf clogging of Vancouver drains.


Langara College


Humanities and Social Sciences


ENVS 2100


  • Mike Smith-Cairns
  • Drew Egan

City of Vancouver:

  • Brad Badelt
  • Angela Danyluk
  • Joshua Hensman

Student Team:

  • McNeil Fiesta
  • Brenna Short
  • Samea Barcelos
  • Marria Aranas


  • Greenest City Action Plan (GCAP)


Fall Semester 2019


Drain Forest is a structure we designed to slow the clogging of street drains so that volunteers from the Adopt-a-Catch Basin Program can easily clear the drains of debris like leaves and garbage. 

In Vancouver, the combination of high rainfall and shedding leaves from the trees that line the streets results in the clogging of drains. When these drains get clogged with leaves, rain water can no longer drain away and instead floods the streets and the surrounding neighborhoods. Floods from the clogged drains are the cause of numerous reports of property damage. The city has been spending over $1 million annually picking up leaves in order to prevent this flooding. The purpose of our project is to combat this problem.  Drain Forest employs a sturdy base structure made from interlocking slats, with gaps under each slat to aid in water flow. This base is covered in a diamond mesh to stop leaves while allowing water to pass through. The beveled edges of our prototype eliminate sharp edges to make the design pedestrian, cyclist and car -friendly, while also allowing leaves to climb up the edge of the structure rather than become stacked at the sides when they come in contact with it. The Drain Forest works by being placed on top of a drain, where it then prevents leaves from clogging the drain while letting water pass through unimpeded. With the Drain Forest on top of the grate, it will take longer for a drain to become clogged. This feature will allow more time for volunteers to respond to any leaf build-up before flooding occurs.

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