How to Clean a Storm Drain: 6 Essential Tips for Safe and Effective Results

Storm drains play a crucial role in preventing flooding. They channel rainwater away from homes and streets. But did you know? Water entering storm drains flows directly into local waterways without treatment.

This makes proper cleaning essential for environmental protection3

As a certified master plumber with 15 years of experience, I’ve seen the consequences of neglected storm drains. Clogged drains lead to flooding, property damage, and health risks2 This guide offers 6 key tips for safe and effective storm drain cleaning. Learn how to protect your home and community.

Key Takeaways

Storm drains need regular checks twice a year to prevent flooding and property damage.

Safety gear like gloves, goggles, and high-visibility vests is crucial when cleaning storm drains.

High-powered water jets (4,000 PSI) and vacuum trucks are key tools for effective storm drain cleaning.

Clamshell trucks with hydraulic arms can remove heavy debris from deep drains at least once a year.

Professional help is needed for severe blockages, structural damage, or when specialized equipment is required, especially in industrial sites and hospitals.

Preparing for Storm Drain Cleaning

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Regular checks on storm drains prevent big problems. Safety gear and the right tools are key for DIY storm drain cleaning service.

Regular Inspection of Drain Gratings

Storm drain gratings need vigilant attention. Inspect these crucial components twice yearly to prevent flooding disasters. 1 Look for debris accumulation, sediment buildup, and structural damage.

Clear obstructions promptly to maintain proper water flow.

Thorough checks safeguard your home and neighborhood from water-related issues. Use a sturdy rake or shovel to remove leaves, twigs, and garbage from grates. Document any cracks or missing pieces in the infrastructure.

Swift action on minor problems averts major headaches down the road. 2

Implementing Safety Protocols

Regular drain inspections pave the way for safe cleaning practices. Implementing proper safety protocols protects workers and ensures efficient storm drain maintenance. 3

  • Wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):
    • Don safety goggles, gloves, and steel-toed boots
    • Use high-visibility vests when working near roads
    • Wear respirators if potential exposure to sewer gas exists
  • Set Up Traffic Control:
    • Place cones and warning signs around work areas
    • Use flaggers to direct traffic on busy streets
    • Ensure proper lighting for nighttime operations
  • Practice Proper Lifting Techniques:
    • Bend knees and keep back straight when lifting grates
    • Use mechanical aids like grapples for heavy debris removal
    • Work in teams to handle large or awkward loads
  • Follow Confined Space Procedures:
    • Test air quality before entering catch basins
    • Use ventilation equipment to maintain safe oxygen levels
    • Employ a spotter to monitor workers inside drains
  • Implement Fall Protection:
    • Install temporary guardrails around open manholes
    • Use safety harnesses when working near deep structures
    • Keep work areas clear of trip hazards
  • Handle Chemicals Safely:
    • Read safety data sheets for all cleaning products
    • Store and transport chemicals in approved containers
    • Provide eyewash stations and first aid kits on-site 2

Effective Techniques for Cleaning Storm Drains

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Storm drain cleaning requires powerful equipment and expert handling. High-pressure water jets and vacuum trucks are key tools for this job.

Utilize High-powered Water Jets

High-powered water jets blast away debris in storm drains. These powerful tools shoot water at 4,000 PSIdislodging stubborn clogs and buildup. They’re ideal for pipes under 36 inches wide, but lose effectiveness beyond 700 feet. 4

For best results, use environmentally safe products with the jets. This method cleans thoroughly without harming local waterways or ecosystems. It’s a go-to technique for many plumbers and city workers tackling tough drain blockages5

Deploy Vacuum Trucks

Vacuum trucks play a crucial role in storm drain cleaning. These powerful vehicles use suction to remove debris, sediment, and standing water from catch basins and storm drains. 4 Equipped with large tanks and high-capacity pumpsvacuum trucks can efficiently clear blockages and prevent flooding.

For optimal results, operators should position the truck near the drain opening. The truck’s flexible hose extends into the drain, creating a strong suction force5 This process effectively removes leaves, trash, and other pollutants that accumulate over time.

Regular use of vacuum trucks – at least once a year – keeps storm drainage systems functioning properly and protects local waterways from contamination.

Proper maintenance of storm drains is essential for flood prevention and environmental protection.

Operate Specialty Clamshell Trucks

Transitioning from vacuum trucks, clamshell trucks offer another powerful solution for storm drain cleaning. These specialized vehicles feature a hydraulic arm with a clamshell bucket, designed to scoop out debris from deep drains.

Certified professionals operate these trucks, ensuring safe and efficient removal of sediment, leaves, and other blockages. 6

Clamshell trucks play a crucial role in regular maintenance, preventing severe clogs and flooding. Experts recommend using these vehicles at least once a year to keep storm drains clear. 6 The trucks’ precision allows for targeted cleaning, minimizing disruption to surrounding areas. Their effectiveness in handling heavy debris makes them indispensable for maintaining a healthy stormwater system. 7

When to Seek Professional Storm Drain Cleaning

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Storm drains can face issues beyond DIY solutions. Professional help becomes crucial for complex blockages, structural damage, or when specialized equipment is needed.

Identifying Scenarios for Expert Intervention

Severe blockages in storm drains often require professional help4 Signs include persistent flooding, foul odors, or visible debris accumulation. Experts have specialized equipment like high-powered water jets and vacuum trucks to tackle these issues safely and effectively.

A stitch in time saves nine – regular maintenance prevents costly emergencies.

Industrial sites and hospitals face unique stormwater challenges. 8 These facilities need expert intervention to manage complex drainage systems and comply with strict regulations.

Professional services ensure proper handling of potentially hazardous materials and prevent water damage or contamination risks.

People Also Ask

Why clean storm drains?

Storm drains prevent flooding. They direct rainwater to rivers. Clogged drains cause water damage. Clean drains protect your home and neighborhood.

What tools do I need?

Grab a rake, shovel, and gloves. Use a power washer for tough clogs. Don’t forget safety gear – goggles and boots. A flashlight helps spot hidden debris.

Is it safe to use chemical cleaners?

Avoid chemical drain cleaners. They harm the environment. Use eco-friendly methods instead. Mechanical cleaning is safer for you and wildlife.

How often should I clean my storm drain?

Clean storm drains 4 times a year. Do it before heavy rains. Remove leaves in fall. Check after storms for new debris.

What if I find recyclables while cleaning?

Separate recyclables from waste. Rinse and recycle plastic, glass, and metal. Dispose of other trash properly. You’re helping the environment twice!

When should I call a professional?

Call experts for deep clogs or sewer issues. If you smell sewage, stop cleaning. Professionals have video inspection tools. They handle complex plumbing systems safely.

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Hi, I'm Dale. Some of the things I like to do are box, lift weights, and spend time with my beautiful wife Crystal. I also enjoy watching shows on Netflix or playing video games with my son when I can find some free time.

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