Posted on: 12 December 2018
Homeowners, especially those who have full-time careers and children to raise, often find themselves facing a growing list of home repair chores that need to be addressed. If one of the chores is a clogged or damaged storm drain, putting it off can result in flooding, erosion, and expensive damage to surrounding structures and landscapes.
Where does the stormwater go?
Storm drains are designed to move rainwater and melting snow and ice away from developed homes and businesses and into a nearby source of fresh water, such as a river, lake, or water retention pond.
This is why it is important that homes and businesses in the area refrain from allowing environmentally unsafe liquids or substances to be released into storm drains. For instance, a common problem is when used engine oil or solvents like paint thinner are carelessly disposed of in the storm drain, instead of being taken to a safe disposal center. Even small amounts can cause contamination of fresh water supplies when this happens.
Why do storm drains become clogged?
Areas where the grade of the surrounding land is relatively level are more apt to develop clogs in storm drains because these conditions can slow the flow of stormwater. This allows sediment, like sand, gravel, and dirt, to settle and form a clog, instead of rushing harmlessly through the drain system.
Areas where new construction is occurring and there is little landscaping in place to slow erosion are also more prone to clogs in storm drains, even if they have sufficient grade. This is because the water quickly becomes laden with soil as it moves through the area and into the drains.
Another cause of clogged storm drains is when damage to the storm drain system has occurred. Common causes of this type of damage include infiltration by tree roots and pipes that have been crushed by heavy equipment or soil compaction.
Can periodic flushing help to clear clogged storm drains?
If the drain pipes are relatively small, such as those used for single-family residences, homeowners may be able to help keep their storm drains clear and working properly by occasionally using their garden hose or a pressure sprayer to flush the drain openings. If the clog is several feet underground or firmly entrenched, professional drain cleaning will likely be necessary to properly clear them.
What time of year is best to have storm drains cleaned?
Homeowners who live in an area of the country where significant amounts of winter snow and ice are followed by spring rains will want to ensure that their storm drains are clear before spring arrives to prevent the possibility of flooding around their home.