Every property owner should know the importance of cleaning catch basins. They’re an essential part of the maintenance of public health and safety.
Catch basins are drainage units that help prevent flooding. They also filter out debris and pollutants from stormwater and snowmelt runoff. As such, catch basins help in mitigating risks and preventing costly emergencies.
Some property owners or managers are under a false impression about its maintenance. They might think that as long as runoff continues to drain, there’s nothing to worry about.
If you’re unfamiliar with catch basin cleaning, read on! Here’s what you need to know about catch basins and their maintenance.
What Exactly Are Catch Basins For?
During rainstorms or when the snow melts, there’s often a deluge of water. The ground can only absorb so much runoff. When it can’t absorb any more, water begins to overflow.
When this happens, water will seek out and pool in low points. This is where catch basins work. They hold and redistribute the excess water. Catch basins are channels to storm drain systems.
They usually include a grate where stormwater or snowmelt runoff enters. They’re boxes buried underground with the grates located at ground or street level. A basin traps debris, sediments, and pollutants.
The sediments and debris in stormwater or snowmelt sink to the bottom of catch basins. The water then flows into a distribution pipe leading to a safe location. This can be the main sewer line, ponds in or near a property, or local waterways like rivers, streams, or lakes.
Catch basins aren’t only for avoiding floods in the streets, yards, or property grounds. Its purpose is to also help in preventing clogs in downstream pipes. Catch basins also help in reducing the amount of debris and sediment that go into rivers and streams.
Many catch basins come with a downturned elbow or tee to capture floating material. Storm drains without basins or outlet traps aren’t effective in reducing stormwater pollutants.
The Importance of Proper Catch Basin Cleaning
As catch basins drain excess water, the debris and sediments at the bottom pile up. Without regular cleaning and proper maintenance, catch basins can become blocked. When this happens, excess water will have nowhere to go, causing floods.
This flooding can ruin real estate, expensive equipment, and other valuable properties. For business owners, it can force a stop in operations for an extended period of time. It’s also damaging to the environment.
When a catch basin backs up and causes flooding, the dirt it still holds can enter into waterways. These sediments also hold chemicals, bacteria, and other pollutants. They are harmful and can be damaging to the local ecosystem.
If the flooding’s source is on your property, you’ll also be financially liable. Flooding from neglected catch basins can cost thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in fines and cleanup expenses. This can also be damaging to the reputation of businesses and investors.
This can get worse if such an issue gets news coverage. The public might see the involved business as misers without care for the community’s safety. This may sound extreme yet it can happen to many property owners.
The safeguard against these damages is to make regular maintenance to catch basins. When having maintenance on catch basins, organizations usually hire catch basin cleaning companies. Property owners can also have DIY catch basin cleaning.
Catch Basin Cleaning Basics
Catch basins need regular cleaning to maintain their capacity to hold sediment and drain stormwater. Removing decaying debris and pollutants has water quality benefits. These include removing solids, foul odors, and other pollutants.
Professionals will have the ideal catch basin cleaning tools for the job. Yet property owners can also clean catch basins themselves.
Set a Schedule
Preventive maintenance should be on a recurring monthly or yearly basis. For known trouble areas or specific seasons, you can set it to be more frequent.
It’s recommended to clean catch basins in the fall when the leaves have piled. It’s also good to clean in the spring when the snow has melted to remove the accumulated salt, sand, and other debris. The rainy season also needs more frequent catch basin cleaning.
To check how much sediment is in a catch basin, insert a long stick or pipe into it. See where the stick hits the sediment and push on to estimate the depth of the buildup.
Cleaning the Grates and Basin
Leaves and other trash collect at the grates. Remove these so it doesn’t clog. Consider putting up signs next to grates to deter people or vendors from dumping trash on them.
As for the basin, you can lift the grate to access it. Use a bucket to remove the excess water. Then, use a shovel to remove the accumulated sediment.
Dump the water you collected in sanitary sewers through shop drains or a sink. You can also use a toilet. Let the removed solids dry before disposing of them in proper locations.
Help From the Local Community
The local residents can also help in maintaining catch basins. There are some practices residents can do to ensure the catch basins stay clean.
After doing yard work, they should clean up any grass clippings, dirt, or fertilizers. They can end up in catch basins if they’re hosed or blown into the street. They might then drain into local waterways.
Never dump chemicals, pet waste, oils, or soapy water down a catch basin either.
Catch Basin Cleaning Equipment
Professionals use dedicated cleaning tools like Vactor equipment from Haaker to vacuum sediment. High-pressure water can clean the sides and bottom of a catch basin. These machines can scour pipes and vacuum out clogged solids to restore proper flow.
Ensure Proper Maintenance of Catch Basins
Catch basins are important for preventing flooding and protecting local waterways. Regular catch basin cleaning is necessary to maintain their important function. This will also save you from expensive cleanup costs.
Want to know more about catch basin maintenance? Check out our other guides here.