Stormwater Management

Stormwater management requires knowledge of the laws and regulations that govern stormwater drainage systems, as well as the most effective maintenance programs to keep them in good working order. You’ll benefit from the expertise of a professional drain cleaning company to oversee the regular maintenance of stormwater drains.

Catch Basins | Area Drains | Storm Line Drains | Water Quality Units | Oil/Water Separators

Catch Basins

A catch basin (a type of storm drain) captures excess water from parking lots and roadways to prevent flooding. In the process, it also collects trash and debris, which helps keep pollutants out of the local water supply.

Catch basins have a sump area where the dirt and debris settle. The dirt accumulates over time and needs to be removed so the catch basin can continue working properly.

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Rules and regulations for catch basin maintenance

The rules and regulations for catch basin cleaning vary by city. Depending on where your property is located, you may be required to inspect and/or clean your catch basins on a regular basis. We will work with you to ensure that your preventive maintenance plan for your storm drain system meets the standards and guidelines for your area.

How we clean catch basins

We clean catch basins with either a clamshell or vactor truck.

 

Clamshell truck
A clamshell truck gets its name from the large claw on the front of the truck that is used to scoop out dirt from the catch basin. Even though these trucks are not able to remove 100% of the dirt and debris, many of our customers choose the clamshell method because it is less expensive and still gets the job done. Sometimes, however, your city or area requires that a vactor truck (see below) be used in order to clean the most dirt and debris possible.

Vactor truck
A vactor truck is a type of pump truck. Its great power and unique profile allows a vactor truck to pick up more dirt and debris than a clamshell truck, and therefore, can more completely clean out a basin. Vactor trucks cost more to run than clamshell trucks and take longer to complete a job. However, some cities and areas require that a vactor truck be used to achieve a more thorough cleaning.

Why John’s?

  • When we clean a catch basin, we take the dirt and debris with us and dispose of it at a proper facility. (Many companies will leave the debris on your property for you to dispose of.)
  • Based on your local area’s guidelines, we’ll develop a regular maintenance plan for your property—and we’ll keep track of your maintenance schedule for you to ensure that you have the dirt and debris removed from your catch basins before you have a problem.

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Area drains

Area drains are small outdoor drains. They differ from catch basins in that they typically have smaller sumps, or lack them completely. They can be on sidewalks, in stairwells, low lying grassy areas, or any other area that tends to collect water. Area drains can be tied into typical larger stormwater drainage systems, or have perforated floors that allow collected water to leech back into the ground.

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Why do I need area drain cleaning?

Area drains are typically located outdoors in areas that collect water. As such, they also find themselves susceptible to dirt and other debris. They typically aren’t as prone to collect sand and other dirt that larger catch basins collect, however their nature as smaller units mean that it takes less debris to cause problems.

How we clean area drains

Area drains come in many shapes and sizes, so the techniques for cleaning them can vary on a case-by-case basis. Larger units can potentially be cleaned with traditional clamshell or vactor methods, while some of the smallest units must be cleaned by hand. Units without sumps, and the lines going from units with sumps, are best served by being flushed out with a water jet.

Tips for keeping area drains clear

  • Area drains are not trash cans. If you find an area drain in an area that collects dirt, do not sweep dirt into these drains.
  • Avoid using mulch and similar landscape material around area drains, as it tends to wash into these units quite easily, and can quickly fill the drain or line and cause problems.
  • Remove leaves and other fall debris quickly and regularly throughout the season in order to avoid their washing into area drains and catch basins
  • Inspect area drains on a regular basis to ensure that debris has not collected.
  • Consider a preventive maintenance plan. By scheduling regular drain check-ups, you can minimize emergency calls.

Storm Line Drains

Storm drain lines are high capacity lines that run between catch basins (also called storm drains) and discharge stormwater from your property. When they clog, nearby parking lots flood and often cause damage to vehicles. It only takes a couple of inches of drain water to cause a 3- or 4-foot back up. Property managers are responsible for cleaning these lines and could be responsible for any damage caused by backups.

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How We Clean Storm Drain Lines

The first step in cleaning a Storm Drain Line is determining if it is necessary. Often times, slow stormwater system drainage can be rectified simply by inspecting your Catch Basins and Water Quality Units (if applicable) and cleaning as necessary.

However, in some cases, especially without routine maintenance and cleaning, sediment and debris can find its way into your stormwater lines, causing slow draining, and in some cases, back-ups. If you’ve cleaned your Catch Basins and Water Quality Units, it might be time to consider cleaning your lines. Luckily, John’s has all the equipment to do so, thoroughly.

Water Jet
Most stormwater lines can be flushed out with a normal water jet truck. We have all the attachments and equipment necessary to deal with these larger lines, and can typically clean your stormwater line with ease. However, sometimes the lines are simply too large, or the debris is too large and/or heavy. In these cases, we might recommend bringing in a Vactor truck.

Vactor Truck
Along with cleaning catch basins and water quality units, Vactor Trucks are useful in cleaning the largest of storm lines, when a normal Water Jet just isn’t enough. Vactor trucks actually have their own, larger water jet setups that allow them to clear larger lines and blockages. Additionally, depending on the location of the blockage, the vacuum function of the truck can be used to dislodge and remove sediment and blockages completely.

Water Quality Units

Water quality units are structures that separate sediment, grease and oils from storm water runoff in conjunction with your catch basin system. They provide an additional layer of protection to keep debris from entering the water supply. Many cities now require water quality units be installed when developing new properties. These units are also known as Stormceptors, Vortechnics or Vortex units, conTech units, hydraGuard units and Downstream Defenders.

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Rules and regulations for Water Quality unit maintenance
As they’re required on many sites to protect watersheds from contaminants, Water Quality Units need to be maintained properly to ensure continued protection. Many cities and towns have their own guidelines and requirements for cleaning, inspection, and maintenance. We will work with you to ensure that your preventive maintenance plan for your Water Quality Unit meets the standards and guidelines for your area. 

Inspections
You may not know if your Water Quality Unit needs to be cleaned or not. That’s okay, with all the varying requirements between every different city, town, and conservation commission, we know it’s hard to keep up. In some cases, your best bet is to have John’s inspect your Water Quality Unit. Our qualified staff has years of experience in determining the cleaning requirements of these units, and can even provide a full inspection report, if necessary. If you’re unsure if your Water Quality Unit needs to be cleaned or not, John’s a call and we’ll be happy to help.

Cleaning
Water Quality Units are typically cleaned with a vactor truck. A vactor truck is a type of pump truck. It uses a large volume vacuum hose to suck out the contents from the Water Quality Unit. Its great power allows a vactor truck to pick up large amounts of dirt and debris from the more confined areas of a Water Quality Unit, offering a very thorough cleaning.

Oil/Water Separators

Oil-Water separators, sometimes called MDC or gas traps, are found in many parking lots and garages, among other places. They are typically chambered tanks that allow for water to drain through while collecting any oils, greases, and other contaminants that may be in the stormwater system. These structures should be kept clean in order to maintain proper function and avoid contamination.

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Rules and regulations for Oil-Water Separator maintenance
Oil-Water Separators are required on many sites to protect watersheds from contaminants. As such, they need to be maintained properly to ensure continued protection. Many cities and towns have their own guidelines and requirements for cleaning, inspection, and maintenance. We will work with you to ensure that your preventive maintenance plan for your Oil-Water Separator meets the standards and guidelines for your area. 

Inspections
You may not know if your Oil-Water Separator needs to be cleaned or not. That’s okay – with all the varying requirements between every different city, town, and conservation commission, we know it’s hard to keep up. In some cases, your best bet is to have John’s inspect your Oil-Water Separator before splurging on a costly cleaning. Our qualified staff has years of experience in determining the cleanliness and operation of these units, and can even provide a full inspection report, if necessary. If you’re unsure if your Oil-Water Separator needs to be cleaned or not, John’s a call. 

Cleaning
If the sediment level is low enough, Oil-Water Separators can often be cleaned with a standard pump truck. However, due to their nature as traps for contaminants, it is important to make sure that any contaminated materials are disposed of responsibly. We often recommend having the contents of your unit tested before cleaning, to determine whether or not it must be treated as a hazardous material. In many cases, the oil content is low enough that it can be disposed of safely without being treated as hazardous waste, which can reduce costs.

However, if your system does contain an amount of oil that deems it necessary to be disposed of as hazardous, you can rest easy as John’s can help with that as well.

Oil-Water separators are often exposed to sediment that collects in the sumps. Sometimes, if there is too much sediment, a pump truck won’t be able to clean the unit properly. In these cases, we recommend using a vactor truck. A vactor truck is a type of pump truck that employs a large volume vacuum hose to suck out the contents from your Oil-Water Separator. Its great power allows a vactor truck to remove both liquid and solid material from the sump.

We have all the resources to make sure your Vactor needs are handled properly, quickly, and efficiently. Give us a call today to learn more.

To learn more about our storm water cleaning and management services, contact us.