3 Tips for Storm Drain Cleaning and Maintenance

Sewer Service
February 25, 2020

by David Balkan

Storm Drain Cleaning Maintains Proper Drainage

Keeping your storm drain clean is essential for a properly functioning water drainage system. Unfortunately, the important task of storm drain cleaning is often overlooked until disaster strikes. It is not advisable to try to unclog a storm drain on your own. In almost all cases, you’ll need to hire an experienced professional. There are also ongoing maintenance measures you need to take.

Maintenance will certainly help prevent your storm drain from clogging. This post will help you learn more about storm drain cleaning and maintenance. You should be able to take many of these steps yourself to prevent a clog.

Storm Drain Cleaning Maintains Proper Drainage

A storm drain system can be as simple as a series of drains and catch basins. In other cases, it could be part of a large municipal stormwater system. In either case, street gutters collect flowing water from the surrounding finished surfaces. These surfaces include pavement, sidewalks, streets, parking lots, and of course roof rainwater as well. Storm drains receive the flow so that the streets and pathways do not flood.

Many people believe that water entering through a storm drain goes to the local water treatment plant to be treated. However, in reality, most dedicated storm drain systems are not connected to a water treatment plant. This means the water entering the drain goes directly into nearby streams, creeks, or rivers. Any other substance that finds its way inside the storm drain basin also goes directly to these local waterways as well.

The exception to the above is when the public sewer system is a combined system, accepting both sanitary and stormwater. The following steps should help you to maintain a clean storm drain.

1. Inspect the top of the drain grating regularly.

Clearing off the area on and around the storm drain grate can frequently prevent the need for storm drain cleaning of the pipe itself. Remove debris like sticks and leaves, and anything else you find on top of the grate or in its vicinity. Disposing of it properly into a receptacle ensures it doesn’t reappear in the grating. In some cases, you can place a strainer on top of the grating to help keep it clear.

During the winter, check the grate area regularly for snow and ice. This ensures that after a melt the storm water can enter the drain basin freely. This way, you will keep the surrounding area from being cluttered, decreasing the likelihood that the storm drain will get blocked and the need for storm drain cleaning.

On larger catch basins, do not attempt to remove the grate from the top, they are extremely heavy. It is recommended that you inspect and clear off the grate several times a month. This is especially true, before or after a storm, or before a snow melt. To learn more about yard drain maintenance read Yard Drain Maintenance And Common Problems.

2. Avoid opening and unclogging the storm drain yourself.

Unfortunately, many types of pollutants make their way into a storm drain. A clogged drain can contain antifreeze, motor oil, paints, pesticides, fertilizers, dead animals, animal excrement, toxic chemicals, and many other dangerous substances. Therefore, you should never attempt to remove the grate and clean out clogged material yourself, even with protective gloves and clothing. Especially avoid digging deep into the storm drain, where toxic materials have already settled. By doing so, you could expose yourself to harmful chemicals that pose a real health threat.

3. Call a professional for expert storm drain cleaning.

You must never remove the grate and try to unclog the storm drain yourself. Certified professionals have the right cleaning equipment. Professionals also follow special protocols for removing and disposing of bio-hazards and other pollutants. A variety of techniques may be used to clean the storm drain. However, in many cases, your plumbing professional will apply specialized equipment. These storm drain cleaning tools may include:

High-powered water jetting

The high-pressure sewer jetting clears blockages from the storm drain lines and removes accumulated debris. While water jetters are used by virtually every drain cleaner, larger jetters are frequently needed for municipal or commercial drain lines.

A high pressure water jet cleaning out a main public sewer line.

    Vacuum trucks

    In some cases, a vacuum truck is used to literally vacuum out the debris in a storm drain sump into the back of a vacuum truck. Vacuum trucks are a fairly expensive piece of equipment. Hence, they are typically owned by most residential drain cleaners.

    Specialty clam shell trucks

    Many municipalities and private cleaning companies own what are called clam shell bucket trucks. These are hydraulic attachments with a two-part bucket known as a clam-shell bucket. This bucket is inserted into catch basins and removes the sediment and debris in the bottom of a catch basin’s sump.

    It is recommended that you call a company to inspect and perform storm drain cleaning at least once a year. Balkan Sewer and Water Main is the largest and most trusted plumbing company serving the NYC area.

    Balkan’s experienced professionals provide fast, reliable service every time. In addition, Balkan is recommended by Angie’s List and is accredited by the Better Business Bureau, holding an A+ rating. For more information on storm drain cleaning, contact Balkan Sewer and Water Main, your expert storm drain cleaning company.

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    David Balkan

    David Balkan is the CEO of Balkan Sewer And Water Main, the largest and most trusted service in New York City. David is extremely active in various NYC plumber organizations being the Chairman of the Subsurface Committee in the Master Plumbers Council, and Vice President of the Subsurface Plumbers Association. In addition David’s expertise is respected by officials of New York City agencies such as the NYC DEP, NYC DOB, and the NYC DOT. He frequently provides valuable input on a variety of industry related matters.

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