Catch Basins 101

residential catch basin in the lawn

Does your front yard look like a marsh after it rains? A catch basin might be the answer. Not only do catch basins keep up your curb appeal, but they can also redirect water away from the foundation of your house. Let’s go over some basics—what are catch basins, where and why are they installed, how do they work, and what do you need to do to maintain them?

What is a Catch Basin?

A catch basin is, in other words, a storm drain. They are used to redirect water in an aim to prevent flooding and are common on public streets but may also be installed on private properties. Catch basins collect rainwater or melted snow, transporting runoff to a sump, reservoir, or treatment facility.

Residential catch basins need to be installed at the lowest point on your property. Large properties or those with uneven terrain may require more than one catch basin or drainage ditches.
storm drain on street in the rain

How Does a Catch Basin Work?

Catch basins use a grate to filter out large debris while collecting water in an underground tank. This water then redirects to another reservoir, sump, or municipal water treatment service. These concrete catch basins will have an inlet and outlet pipe. When the water in the basin reaches a certain level, it will travel down the outlet pipe to a new and more suitable location.
Rain catch basins are covered with a heavy, metal grate to keep out large debris. Most of this debris consists of sticks or leaves, though sometimes trash can collect inside a catch basin as well.
debris blocked catch basin

Is Your Storm Drain Clogged?

Water pooling around the surface is the easiest way to recognize if your storm drain is clogged. Clogged storm drains may cause the street or easement to flood. You will probably notice debris, plant matter, or ice covering the surface of the grate. Debris also may have collected inside the basin, so it is best to check your storm drain periodically.
When large debris gets trapped inside the storm drain, it usually collects trash or plant matter, making the clog more serious. If too much sediment collects at the bottom of the basin, it may make the drain ineffective.

What is a Dry Well, and What Role Does It Play?

A dry well is similar to a catch basin, but instead of redirecting water from an underground tank, it releases it into the surrounding soil. Runoff is filtered through a layer of rocks or gravel inside or outside the basin before it goes back into the ground. Dry wells may take in rainwater from gutters, or they may drain sump tanks and other greywater.
The installation of dry wells typically involves digging a basin deep enough to saturate the necessary volume of water. A perforated basin is set inside the hole and then filled, usually by gravel or rocks.
close view of catch basin in the rain

Tips to Maintain a Catch Basin

When it comes to maintaining or cleaning a catch basin, it’s best to consult a professional. However, periodically cleaning debris off the surface of the catch basin (the grate) will help reduce the debris collected inside and prevent flooding. You can help maintain your catch basin by doing your best to make sure that only rainwater makes its way inside.
A vacuum truck or a vacuum extractor is usually used for stormwater drain cleaning. Public services will typically use a vacuum truck, which is essentially a large vehicle with an enormous, industrial vacuum on the truck bed. If you live in an urban area, you may have seen this sort of truck sucking debris out of catch basins. While it is possible to clean a storm drain yourself, we recommend that you call an expert to help you.
First, the grate will need to be removed with a catch basin puller, which is like a crowbar. Larger pieces of debris may be inside the basin. These must be removed because they will cause other materials to catch inside the drain. If the sediment has built up too high, it will wash into the outlet. A powerful vacuum will remove debris from inside the catch basin.
Catch basins repair is necessary in the case of leaks or cracks. Cracked pipes should be taken out and repaired by a specialist. Luckily, catch basin repair methods have improved in recent years so that the entire area doesn’t have to be dug up to address any damage.
A suddenly improperly fitting lid or mortar cracks near the pipes’ openings are often indicative of damage. The concrete inside the basin may also become cracked over time. These should be repaired to prevent further damage.
team cleaning catch basin using truck

Catch Basin Cleaning Services in Toronto

When it comes to cleaning your catch basin, it’s best to call a professional. Our experts at MT Drains & Plumbing will make sure the job is done right so that you won’t have to hassle with getting debris out of your catch basin.
downward angle of a storm drain

Benefits of Having a Catch Basin in Your Home

Catch basins serve a lot of functional purposes that can increase the value of your house.
First, catch basins prevent flooding on your property to protect your lawn and other landscaping. Frequent flooding can cause unpleasant odours, and may also encourage bugs in your yard, or harm nearby plants. Catch basins can also protect your home’s foundation if your yard and driveway are not sloped away from the house.
partially excavated storm drain

Get a Free Onsite Estimate for Your Catch Basin Installation

Installing a residential catch basin can give you peace of mind during stormy and snowy seasons, especially if your front lawn turns into a lake every year.
Typically, your contractor will find the lowest point for draining before digging a hole in the ground and placing a tightly packed layer of sand or gravel at the bottom. The basin is then placed on top of this layer, sealed, grouted, and backfilled. Building a proper catch basin is a difficult job, and one best left to a professional.
If you’re thinking about adding a catch basin to your property, contact MT Drains & Plumbing. We’ll set you up with a free no-obligation onsite estimate.
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