What You Need to Know About Catch Basins

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What You Need to Know About Catch Basins

Landscapes that are perpetually soggy or lawns that frequently retain standing water can benefit from a drainage system that includes a catch basin. These are plastic or concrete boxes below ground level, with metal or plastic grates at the surface. The grate prevents large debris from entering the basin, while water and smaller debris spills into it. The debris settles to the bottom of the basin, while the water, when it rises to a certain level, flows out a pipe that is pitched downward toward a storm sewer, swale, or other acceptable exit point off the property. This way, water drains away from the landscape quickly, reducing problems relating to standing water.

There are pros and cons regarding the use of catch basins. While they manage water in the landscape, extremely heavy rains or flooding can cause them to become overwhelmed. While they are supposed to prevent debris from traveling down into storm sewer pipes, a basin that fills with heavy rain may fail to restrain debris, and clogs can result.

Insects love standing water, and basins that have a constantly low level of water plus debris in the bottom make good breeding grounds for pests. Clean a catch basin regularly to prevent it from becoming a home for pests. Ensure that debris and sediment doesn’t build up in the basin to the point it blocks, clogs, or enters the outlet pipe. A catch basin filled with dirt, twigs, and leaves won’t function as intended. It may overflow or send debris down into storm sewers, defeating the purpose of having it installed in the first place.

Catch basins help control and remove standing water, which goes a long way toward maintaining a healthy landscape. Unless flora is specifically adapted to swampy conditions, most trees, shrubs, and flowering plants don’t like “wet feet” and won’t thrive in overly wet areas. A catch basin can also help prevent basement flooding by preventing seepage. Instead of soaking into the soil around the home’s foundation, the catch basin contains the water and directs it away from the house.

This is just a brief summary of what you need to know about catch basins. Consult a professional when contemplating installing a catch basin drain on your property. The basin and entry pipes must be level, and the exit pipe pitched appropriately to encourage drainage toward the storm sewer. Grates must be sturdy enough to support someone walking over them, mowers crossing them, or, in the case of basins installed to correct drainage problems in paved areas, to endure vehicles that may drive over them. Seek advice regarding what kind of catch basin is the right size and has the right load tolerance for your project.

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  • Jeremy Lawlor