We’ve all witnessed the expensive and messy aftermath when unwanted water pools up faster than it can be absorbed by the surrounding soil. As we’re left counting the dollars lost to its subsequent damage, our natural bodies of water will slowly sponge up the overflow, along with any toxins and pollutants that are washed up along the way, when our storm management systems fail to handle the onslaughts of mother nature, be they predicted or not.
The risk of these instances and their costly results can be reduced greatly by not only having the right stormwater management systems in place but also performing the diligent storm drain cleaning and routine maintenance that’s required on the system from end to end.
In this article, we’ll inspect the anatomy and function of a storm drainage system and explore some of its standard measures of care.
Storm Drain Cleaning And Repair
Storm drains, also known as catch basins, are the rectangular, grated plates that we see embedded on the flat surfaces of streets, parking lots, and landscapes. With a catch basin, the surface around the grate tapers inward to direct water to the basin, where it then collects and flows via sloping pipes to an external storage solution, such as a storm pond or storage tank.
An obstruction or component failure at any point in this process will look exactly the same and lead to the same end result: a nasty mess around the vicinity, more ecological harm to the surrounding area, a multi-dimensional foul odor, and potentially thousands of dollars lost to property and infrastructure damage.
To prevent these disasters, professionals perform storm drain cleaning on the surface using specialized equipment like clamshell or Vactor trucks.
The clamshell truck is essentially a dump truck with a claw apparatus attached to the front (like that of a backhoe or excavator). The clamshell truck’s operator will use the claw to scoop any obstructive materials from the drain and can easily pivot the scoop to unload it onto the cargo bed of the truck. The material can then be transported and dumped at a safe location.
Having both scoop and load functionalities means less equipment at the cleanup site, making clamshell trucks a suitable option for most debris cleanup from a storm drain’s surface.
Equipped with high-powered vacuums and large holding tanks, Vactor trucks can be used to handle all kinds of large-scale liquid, sludge, and slurry cleanup jobs, from septic pumping to the largest storm drain overflows. The truck vacuums and stores materials pneumatically (under the pressure of air or another gas) to be transported and efficiently drained or pumped at another location.
Because of the more automated and contained methods in which they collect and store the debris, Vactor trucks can typically handle bigger messes than a clamshell truck could while cleaning it faster and more efficiently. And like clamshells trucks, the ability to collect, store, and transport the material using only one piece of equipment makes the Vactor truck the right machine for many different jobs.
In addition to storm drain cleaning, the catch basins, storm ponds (or other storage solutions), and all the pipes that connect them will each require professional inspection, maintenance, and repair for the whole system to function properly.
Maintenance Of Stormwater Cartridges And Filters
In addition to routine storm drain cleaning on the surface, stormwater management systems use other components that require diligent maintenance and replacement as necessary.
There are many types of stormwater cartridges and filters, each designed with its own function and its own requirements of care. A cartridge designed to filter salts, for example, operates much differently than one designed to filter oils would; thus, the maintenance and cleaning needs between the two components might vary greatly.
To maximize the efficiency and reliability of stormwater management systems, these nuanced details of inspecting, cleaning, and replacing the equipment demands the expertise of professional storm drain cleaners.
Learn More About Storm Drain Cleaning and Maintenance
Whether it’s from heavy spring runoff or from a sudden storm, the Puget Sound region sits year-round under the threat of unforeseen wet weather and mismanaged water.
The professionals at All Septic & Sewer are now in their third decade keeping Thurston, King, and Pierce counties dry and preventing the financial and ecological damages that threaten our environment, our homes, and our businesses.