Storm Drain Cleaning: Reasons, Preparation & Procedure

The focus here is to provide details on storm drain cleaning. This is the area we’ll be dwelling on.

When heavy rains fall, provisions like storm drains provide easy access or a channel for excess water to be carried away. Storm drains go by several names.

These include stormwater drain, storm sewer, and surface water drain, etc.

Storm drains can be found in a whole lot of places. These are mostly public property such as streets. However, they aren’t only restricted to public property. In other words, storm drains can be installed on private property too.

The introduction provided so far adequately gives you an idea of what this is about. Join us as we explore the most effective ways to clean a storm drain.

Is It Necessary to Clean A Storm Drain?

Cleaning a storm drain is an absolute necessity. Quite a lot of things get flushed into the drain. They include sediments, debris and trash, detergents, mineral deposits, antifreeze, and animal waste. Others include paints, solvents & cleaners, fertilizers, tree roots, oil & grease and so much more.

By their design, storm drains are built for water drainage. These items accompany excess water as it gets channeled away through the storm drain and will have to be removed. Talking about necessity, storm drains will have to be frequently cleaned to help avoid clogs that might worsen with negligence.

Reasons for Cleaning a Storm Drain

Most times, the need for storm drain cleaning falls under one of the following; new construction, emergency, or routine maintenance.

Each of these purposes is important and needs to be carried out whenever the need arises.

  • New Construction

During new construction, newly built storm drains will have to be cleared of all construction-related debris or sediments which may have accumulated.

This helps ensure that when storms storm season comes, there’s no obstruction to water flow or drainage.

  • Emergency

There are situations of emergency where blockages may hinder the normal flow of excess water. This is likely to result in storm overflow that can cause property damage.

Therefore, urgent action is necessary to free up such storm drains before the next storm comes.

  • Routine Maintenance

As the name suggests, this type of maintenance activity happens periodically.

Here, the storm sewer system’s hydraulic handling capacity is being maintained by clearing out any dirt or unwanted items that get in the way.

Preparing For Storm Drain Cleaning

While storm drain cleaning is an important process that ensures drains are cleared of all sorts of debris, you’ll need to know certain basic things.

These will be key to the success of the whole undertaking.

  • Pipe Size

Larger dimension storm drain pipes aren’t cleaned as effectively with flushing as smaller ones. For a better idea of what we’re talking about, storm drain pipes less than 36 inches in diameter are best cleaned by flushing or jetting. Larger pipes will require a different approach.

  • Eco-Friendly Products

You should know that all storm drains connect to freshwater bodies. These could be rivers or lakes. Whatever it is, ensure that only eco-friendly cleaning products are used.

This helps ensure that environmental pollution doesn’t result while trying to clean a drain.

  • Checking For Possible Clogs

Storm drain clogs do much more damage than you can imagine. When excess water is prevented from escaping, it results in an overflow that washes off the topsoil.

With continuous negligence, such clogs will lead to infrastructural damage. Taking care of getting rid of such clogs significantly limits the possibility of that ever happening.

  • Water Jetting

This is one of the most widely used methods of storm drain cleaning because it forces out all forms of clogs or dirt accumulation. You’ll need to have the right equipment necessary for this type of cleaning.

Recall we stated earlier that pipe diameter affects the efficiency of water jetting.

  • Know the Sewer Line Length

The shorter a sewer line that connects a storm drains the easier it is to clean through flushing. So, it’s important that you first determine the sewer line length.

Lengths exceeding 700 feet will require a different cleaning approach.

City & Residential Storm Drain Cleaning Process

Storm drain cleaning is mostly conducted by professional drain cleaning services. When cleaning crews arrive at the job site, they prepare the area for the process to begin.

First, the reason(s) for cleaning needs to be established.

This gives direction and purpose to the whole process. Professionals will first draft a written standard operating procedure to ensure that crew members stick to such plans.

Step 1: Traffic Control Devices

Storm drains are mostly located on streets as well as other public spaces. This means significant traffic presence which has to be regulated.

As such, traffic control devices must be placed to alert people to the presence of a work crew.

Step 2: Site Review

A review of the worksite needs to be carried out.

This includes system mapping among other things. A drain cleaning service can determine how far the drain goes, the drain pipe diameter among other things.

Step 3: Storm Drain Cover Removal

The best way to ensure a thorough job is done involves the removal of the storm drain cover. Most times such covers can be easily lifted. In some cases, there may be issues with lifting.

Specialized equipment is used to take off the lid or alternative cleaning approaches are used.

Step 4: Cleaning Proper

All the actions taken to this point have been geared towards performing a thorough storm drain cleaning job.

Vacuuming up debris is first performed before flushing is carried out. In the case of flushing, some debris will need to be broken down into tiny bits using this method.

Step 5: Start from the Elevated Section

One of the ways to ensure a downstream push during storm drain cleaning is by starting from the elevated section. This is also known as the upstream section.

When this method is adopted, a downstream decanting of liquids follows.

Step 6: Replacing the Lid

Having completed the cleaning process, the storm drain lid will have to be put back in place. This is the final step that ensures the completion of the job.

Storm drain cleaning is an important maintenance activity that seeks to keep such drains in optimal working condition. We’ve seen the various preparatory actions taken as well as the actual cleaning process.

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