As a part of our sanitation and sewer system, catch basins are essential. A catch basin helps keep out debris, sediments, and pollutants that may find their way into a water source by filtering it through a grate and separating the water, routing it through an exit pipe into a storm sewer or body of water. They can, however, cause some issues. A catch basin may end up overwhelmed by heavy rain or even attract a large number of mosquitos, among other issues. Here are some basic catch basin maintenance tips to keep your performance as it should be.
The first step? Preventing debris from getting caught up in your catch basin whatsoever, as this decreases how often you’ll need to do a deeper, more thorough cleaning. Remove the area’s leaves, trash, twigs, grass clippings, and anything else that may make its way into the top of a catch basin and end up clogging the grate.
Just be mindful when you do this. You don’t want to blow grass clippings right into the streets, for example, because then they’ll end up washing into the storm sewer system anyway. Keep parking lots and hardscapes clean as well with regular sweeping to prevent dirt or gravel from making its way into catch basins. Lastly, be sure that any chemicals and hazardous wastes in the area are stored safely and away from the elements.
The recommendations put forth by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is for property owners to clean their basins when the debris at the basin is about one-third the volume of the basin itself. Keep an eye out and when the time comes, remove the grate to get started. Just remember that these grates are often cast iron and very heavy—exercise caution and wear steel-toed boots to protect yourself.
Drain any standing water in the basin with a bucket. You may also want to look into bringing in a professional, who will use a specialized vacuum to remove both the water and debris. Any water removed should be properly disposed of in a toilet or sanitary sewer.
Once you’re done removing water, let the catch basin dry out. If you have a debris basket, remove that and clean it out. Otherwise, use a tool like a shovel to remove dried debris and dispose of it safely and in accordance with local regulations.
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