What is a Storm Drain How Does it Work?

Storm drains are those underground pipes that carry rainwater away from streets and buildings. They are also called sanitary sewers or sewerage systems.

Storm drains are part of our infrastructure. They collect water from roofs, parking lots, sidewalks, etc., and direct them into the city’s sewer system. Storm drains are often found near roadsides and other low-lying areas where they collect surface runoff and debris. The drainage system helps prevent flooding during heavy rains.

Storm drains are manholes located at street corners or other areas where water flows into the ground. They collect rainwater from streets and buildings and carry it away safely. Storm drains also prevent flooding during heavy rains.

Storm drains are designed to handle surface runoff, such as rainfall, snowmelt, and melting ice and snow. Most storm drains are covered with grates or slabs of concrete to prevent debris from entering them.

Storm drains are often mistaken for sewers, which are underground pipes used to transport waste. In fact, they serve different purposes. Sewers are typically used to remove solid waste from homes, businesses, and industries. Storm drains are usually used to remove liquid waste, such as rainwater and melted snow.

What is a Storm Drain? How Does it Work?

A storm drain is an underground pipe that carries water away from streets and buildings during heavy rains. It collects rainwater from rooftops, parking lots, sidewalks and other low-lying surfaces and directs it into the city’s sewer system.

Cornell Cooperative Extension | WHY KEEP STORM DRAINS CLEAN?

A typical storm drain has three parts: a catch basin (or gutter), a downspout, and a main trunk. Catch basins are large open areas in the middle of streets and parking lots. During periods of heavy rain, these catch basins overflow and collect all the excess water on the pavement.

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Downspouts are smaller openings that lead from the catch basins to the storm drain. Main trunks are larger pipes that connect several catch basins together. These pipes can be up to 100 feet long and have multiple branches.

How do Storm Drains work?

During periods of heavy rain, the catch basins overflow and flood streets and parking lots. Rainwater runs off the pavement and enters the storm drain through the downspouts.

The downspouts then empty their contents into the storm drain. As the water travels along the storm drain, it moves toward the main trunk. When the water reaches the end of the storm drain, it empties out through a manhole cover. This allows the water to flow into the city’s sewer line.

The rest of the storm drain remains dry because there is no way for water to enter the pipe. If you see standing water in your yard after a storm, this may mean that the storm drain was clogged by leaves, sticks, or other items.

Why should I care about my Storm Drain?

Storm drains keep your neighborhood safe from flooding. When it rains hard enough, the catch basins will overflow and flood streets and driveways. Flooding can damage property and cause serious health problems.

Flooding also causes sewage spills that contaminate soil and water supplies. A damaged storm drain can allow pollutants to enter the ground and pollute local waterways.

If you live near a creek or river, you may want to check whether your area floods during heavy storms. You could be required to pay higher insurance premiums if your home floods frequently.

How do I know when My Storm Drain needs Maintenance?

When you notice any signs of drainage issues, contact your local utility company. They can inspect your storm drain and recommend repairs, including replacing old pipes.

You can also call your local government agency to find out what maintenance projects are planned for your area.

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How Do I Fix a Clogged Storm Drain?

You can fix a clogged storm drain yourself with a few simple tools. First, use a shovel to dig around the drain opening at least 6 inches deep. Next, scoop out the debris you find using a garden rake.

Finally, pour some hot soapy water down the drain. The soap will dissolve most blockages. If the problem persists, you’ll need professional help. Call your local utility company or city hall to report the issue.

Do I Need a Permit to Repair My Storm Drain?

No permit is needed to repair a storm drain. However, if you plan to make major changes to your storm drain system, such as installing new pipes or changing the location of an existing one, you may need a building permit. Contact your local building inspector to learn more.

Can I Use a Garden Rake to Clean Out My Storm Drain?

Yes! Using a garden rake is a great way to clean out your storm drain. Just remember not to put too much pressure on the rake when cleaning out the drain. Too much force can break the rake.

Also, don’t try to remove large objects like tree branches or rocks from the storm drain. These items can get stuck inside the drain and become difficult to dislodge. Instead, wait until the storm has passed before trying to clear the drain.

Is Storm Drain Water Treated?

Most cities treat storm drain water before sending it into the sewers. In fact, many cities have programs that offer free rain barrels to homeowners who install them. Rain barrels collect rainwater and store it in tanks.

Then, they release the water slowly through a spigot. This helps prevent overflows and reduces the amount of runoff going directly into rivers and streams. Some communities even provide grants to encourage residents to build their own rain barrels. Check with your local government agency to see if there’s a program available in your area.

Storm Drains Are Not Sewer Lines. What Is the Difference Between Them?

Storm drains are designed to move excess rainfall away from homes and businesses. They’re separate from sewer lines, which carry wastewater.

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Sewer lines usually run underground, while storm drains typically run above ground. Storm drains are often made of concrete, but other materials can be used depending on the size of the pipe.

In addition to being different sizes, storm drains also differ in terms of how they work. For example, some drains have grates that allow sediment and trash to fall through the pipe. Others have screens that trap solid waste.

Storm drains are also located differently than sewer lines. Most sewer lines connect to a main line that runs under streets and roads. Storm drains generally lead to a creek or river.

How Can I Tell If My Storm Drain Needs Repairs?

The easiest way to tell if your storm drain needs repairs is by looking for signs of flooding. Flooding indicates that something is blocking the flow of water.

How Do Storm Drains Work? - Reliable Contracting

Flooding is caused by:

-Heavy rains

-A blocked storm drain

-Overflow from a nearby pond or lake

If you notice any of these problems, contact your local utility company or call 911 immediately.

What Is Stormwater Drainage?

Stormwater drainage refers to the process of collecting and removing excess rainwater from areas where people live and work. It includes everything from street gutters to downspouts.

Street gutters channel rainwater off sidewalks and driveways. Downspouts direct water away from buildings and toward the curb.

Stormwater drainage systems should be inspected regularly. The best time to do this is after heavy storms.


Storm drains are important parts of our community. They help keep us safe during severe weather events. However, they also need regular maintenance to function properly.

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