Mastering the Art of Commercial Storm Drain Maintenance

By Brian on June 27, 2024

The Importance of Commercial Storm Drain Cleaning

Commercial storm drain cleaning is essential for maintaining a safe and functional property. Ignoring it can lead to overflow, property damage, and hazardous conditions. Here’s a quick look at why it’s crucial:

  • Prevents Flooding: Regular cleaning ensures drains do not get clogged, preventing water overflow and potential flooding.
  • Protects Infrastructure: By keeping storm drains clear, you protect buildings, roads, and parking lots from water damage and erosion.
  • Environmental Safety: Clean drains reduce the risk of pollutants entering local water bodies, thus protecting the environment.
  • Compliance: Proper maintenance helps comply with local regulations, avoiding fines and legal issues.

Commercial properties in Northern California must pay special attention to storm drain maintenance due to frequent rainfall and environmental regulations. Neglecting this upkeep can lead to costly repairs and liabilities. Regular inspections and cleanings from a professional service like Go Pro Plumbing ensure your drains function optimally, safeguarding your property and the environment.

benefits of commercial storm drain cleaning infographic - commercial storm drain cleaning infographic infographic-line-3-steps

Up next, we’ll delve into how commercial storm drain systems work and the most effective cleaning techniques.

Understanding Commercial Storm Drains

Commercial storm drains are essential for managing stormwater and preventing flooding. They consist of several components: catch basins, drainage pipes, and outlets. Let’s break down how each part works to keep your property dry and safe.

Catch Basins

Catch basins are the first line of defense in a stormwater system. They are box-like structures with an inlet and outlet, designed to capture debris and sediment. When stormwater flows into the catch basin, it brings along leaves, trash, and dirt. These materials settle at the bottom, while the cleaner water exits through a higher drain opening.

catch basin - commercial storm drain cleaning

Why are catch basins important? They prevent clogs in the drainage pipes by capturing debris. However, they need regular cleaning to function correctly. Municipal inspectors often check sediment levels in catch basins to ensure compliance and functionality.

Drainage Pipes

Once water passes through the catch basin, it enters the drainage pipes. These pipes are usually made from materials like PVC or cast iron and are designed to carry water away from your property. The pipes connect the catch basins to the outlets, ensuring that stormwater flows smoothly and efficiently.

Clogs in drainage pipes can cause severe problems, from localized flooding to property damage. Regular maintenance, including techniques like hydro-jetting, can help keep these pipes clear.


The final component in a storm drain system is the outlet. This is where the stormwater exits the drainage pipes and enters local waterways such as streams, rivers, wetlands, or the ocean. Properly functioning outlets are crucial for preventing water from backing up into the system.

storm drain outlet - commercial storm drain cleaning

Outlets must be kept clear of debris to ensure efficient water flow. Blocked outlets can lead to significant flooding issues, affecting not just your property but surrounding areas as well.

By understanding how catch basins, drainage pipes, and outlets work together, you can better appreciate the importance of regular commercial storm drain cleaning. Up next, we’ll delve into the most effective cleaning techniques to keep your storm drain system in top shape.

Commercial Storm Drain Cleaning Techniques

When it comes to commercial storm drain cleaning, there are three primary techniques that professionals use: high-powered water jetting, vacuum trucks, and specialty clam shell trucks. Each method has its own strengths and is suited for different types of debris and blockages.

High-powered Water Jetting

High-powered water jetting is an effective method for clearing blockages and removing accumulated debris from storm drain lines. This technique uses high-pressure water jets to break up and flush out obstructions.

  • Debris Removal: The intense water pressure can dislodge and remove sediment, silt, and other debris that have built up over time.
  • Blockage Clearance: It’s particularly effective for clearing tough blockages, including those caused by tree roots or hardened grease.

This method is quick and efficient, making it a popular choice for both municipal and commercial drain lines.

Vacuum Trucks

Vacuum trucks are another essential tool in the arsenal for storm drain cleaning. These trucks use powerful vacuums to suck out debris from storm drain sumps and catch basins.

  • Sediment Removal: They are excellent for removing sediment and sludge that settles at the bottom of catch basins.
  • Safe Disposal: The debris collected is safely stored in the truck’s tank, ensuring environmentally responsible disposal.

Although these trucks are expensive, they are crucial for thorough cleaning and are commonly owned by residential drain cleaners as well.

Specialty Clam Shell Trucks

Specialty clam shell trucks are equipped with hydraulic attachments that feature a two-part bucket, known as a clam-shell bucket. This bucket is used to scoop out heavy debris from catch basins.

  • Heavy Debris: These trucks are particularly useful for removing large, heavy debris like rocks and branches.
  • Efficient Cleaning: The hydraulic system allows for quick and efficient cleaning, reducing the time and labor required for manual removal.

Using these specialized trucks ensures that even the most stubborn debris is effectively removed, maintaining the efficiency of the storm drain system.

Preventative Maintenance for Commercial Storm Drains

Preventative maintenance is key to keeping commercial storm drains in top shape. It helps prevent costly repairs and ensures the system works efficiently during heavy rains.

Importance of Regular Inspections

Regular inspections are essential. They help catch minor issues before they become major problems. Here’s why they matter:

  • Catch Basin Checks: Inspecting catch basins regularly helps ensure they are not filled with debris. This prevents blockages and flooding.
  • Compliance: Regular inspections help you stay within regulations.
  • Preventative Measures: Early detection of issues like sediment buildup or small blockages allows for timely intervention, preventing larger problems.

Effective Debris Management Strategies

Managing debris effectively is crucial for maintaining storm drains. Here are some strategies:

  • Sweeping: Regularly sweeping outdoor areas prevents leaves, dirt, and trash from entering the storm drains.
  • Trash Removal: Ensure that trash bins are covered and emptied frequently. This reduces the amount of waste that can clog drains.
  • Tree Trimming: Trim trees and bushes near storm drains. This minimizes the amount of leaves and branches that can fall into the drains.

Regular Cleaning

Regular cleaning schedules are vital to keep storm drains clear. Here’s what to focus on:

  • Catch Basin Cleaning: Periodically clean catch basins to remove accumulated debris and sediment.
  • Hydro Jetting: Use high-powered water jetting to clear out any blockages and keep the drainage pipes flowing smoothly.
  • Vacuum Trucks: Employ vacuum trucks to remove sediment and safely dispose of it, ensuring it doesn’t re-enter the system.

By incorporating these preventative measures, you can ensure your commercial storm drains remain functional and efficient.

Commercial Storm Drain Cleaning Frequency and Best Practices

Setting a Cleaning Schedule

Creating an effective cleaning schedule is crucial for maintaining commercial storm drains. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Observation: Regularly inspect the drains to understand their condition. Look for signs of clogging or slow drainage. This can help you decide when a cleaning is necessary.
  • Blockage History: Keep a record of past blockages and cleanings. If a drain has a history of frequent clogs, it might need more regular maintenance.
  • Weather Considerations: Adjust your schedule based on seasonal weather patterns. For example, in areas with heavy rainfall, more frequent cleaning might be needed to handle increased water flow and debris.

A good rule of thumb is to inspect and clean storm drains at least twice a year, but high-use areas may require more frequent attention.

Choosing Professional Storm Drain Cleaning Services

When it comes to commercial storm drain cleaning, professionals can offer expertise and equipment that ensure thorough and efficient service. Here’s what to look for:

  • Expertise: Professionals have the training to handle complex drainage systems. They know how to diagnose issues accurately and apply the right solutions.
  • Equipment: Specialized tools like high-pressure water jetting and vacuum trucks are essential for effective cleaning. These tools can remove tough blockages and large amounts of debris safely.
  • Compliance: Ensure that the service provider follows local regulations and environmental guidelines. This is important for legal compliance and environmental protection.

Hiring a professional service can save you time and prevent costly damage to your drainage system. It also ensures that the job is done right the first time.

By setting a proper cleaning schedule and choosing the right professional services, you can maintain the efficiency and longevity of your commercial storm drains.

Frequently Asked Questions about Commercial Storm Drain Cleaning

How often should commercial drains be cleaned?

Regular cleaning of commercial storm drains is crucial to avoid clogs and flooding. The frequency depends on various factors such as the location, weather conditions, and the amount of debris typically collected.

Tip: Observe the drain’s performance over time. If you notice frequent blockages or flooding, it might be time to increase the cleaning frequency. During heavy rain or snow periods, more frequent cleanings may be necessary.

Fact: Municipal inspectors often check sediment levels in catch basins annually to ensure compliance. This can be a good benchmark for scheduling your inspections and cleanings.

Are commercial drain cleaners safe?

Using chemical-based solutions to unclog storm drains is not recommended. These chemicals can eventually flow into untreated freshwater bodies, harming water quality and aquatic life. Instead, rely on professional services that use safe and effective methods.

Expert Tip: Professional services use techniques like high-pressure water jetting and vacuum trucks to clear blockages. These methods are non-invasive and environmentally friendly.

How to clean a clogged storm drain?

Cleaning a clogged storm drain involves several steps and often requires specialized equipment. Here’s a simplified process:

  1. Inspection: Identify the clog’s location using high-tech camera systems.
  2. Debris Removal: Use a hydro-jet to apply pressure and push debris, tree roots, and sediment out of the drain.
  3. Vacuum Trucks: For full catch basins, an industrial vacuum (like a Vactor truck) removes debris safely and efficiently.
  4. Proper Disposal: The removed sludge must be discarded properly, often through a licensed waste hauler.

Pro Tip: Avoid DIY chemical solutions as they can cause more harm than good. Instead, consult with professionals who have the right equipment and expertise.

By understanding these FAQs, you can better maintain your commercial storm drains and ensure they function efficiently.


At Go Pro Plumbing, we understand the importance of maintaining clean and efficient commercial storm drains. Our commitment to providing top-notch service is unwavering, and we are here to ensure your business remains compliant and free from drainage issues.

Why Choose Us?

Our team of experienced professionals uses state-of-the-art equipment to deliver effective commercial storm drain cleaning services. From high-pressure water jetting to vacuum trucks, we have the tools and expertise to handle any job, big or small.

Regular maintenance and inspections are crucial to preventing costly emergencies. We offer tailored maintenance schedules to suit your business needs, ensuring your storm drains are always in optimal condition.

Get in Touch

Don’t wait until a minor issue becomes a major problem. Contact Go Pro Plumbing today to schedule your commercial storm drain cleaning. Our experts are ready to assist you with all your drainage needs.

Schedule Service

For more information or to set up an appointment, call us at 916-249-1646 or visit our service page.

Go Pro Plumbing – Your trusted partner in maintaining clean and efficient commercial storm drains.

Category: Commercial Services