grate covered in leaves

Easy Care for Storm Drains and Catch Basins

If you’ve never considered the well-being of your nearest storm drain—also commonly referred to as a catch basin—you’re certainly not alone. However, these components of urban water systems play an important role in Calgary and elsewhere in Canada. Doing your part to keep them clear can make a significant difference to the smooth functioning of your local infrastructure.


What exactly is a catch basin/ storm drain?

You’ve likely seen and even walked over them a hundred times over. Catch basins are slotted drains that are most often positioned on street corners. Their purpose is to collect and carry water from the streets into the Storm Water sewer system. In Calgary, the melting snow and rainwater are thus free to be carried away to the Calgary rivers, creeks, wetlands and watershed resources, and thereby prevents roadways from flooding. This is another good reason not throw your garbage onto the roadways as the water is not treated and flows directly to the waterways.


The impact of clogged storm drains

When catch basins become clogged, water can no longer escape the streets. Large pools might form, causing roadways to become flooded and presenting a hazard for both drivers and pedestrians. Nearby businesses and homes might also be impacted as these standing waters could get redirected towards structures within close proximity, and eventually flood them. Though storm drains have slots that prevent large objects from falling in, smaller items are still prone to getting stuck inside. Over time, accumulated debris like leaves, stones and other objects— sometimes pushed into storm drains by parking lot and street cleaning— can lead to their clogging.


How to keep catch basins clean

Attending to the storm drain that’s nearest to your Calgary home or business isn’t difficult. All it requires is a small slot of time, a rake, a broom and a garbage bag.


Start by taking your rake and using it to clear any leaves, branches or litter away from the drain and bagging it. Next, use your broom to sweep up smaller items your rake didn’t catch like small stones and more minute bits of litter. Bag all the rubble you collect and leave it on your curb or in your bin to be picked up by the city’s waste management workers. Mission complete.


When to clean storm drains

It’s recommended that catch basins be cleared of debris twice a year, ideally in the autumn when falling leaves are abundant and also in spring when melt-water is plentiful. It’s also a good idea to do a cleaning when a big storm is expected to hit.


What to do when a catch basin is clogged

Despite your best efforts, you may at some point have a clogged catch basin that you need to handle. Should this occur, you’ll have to do one of two things; call the city if the storm drain is on a city street, or call The Drain Doctor if the catch basin is on property you own. Our Calgary drain experts will be sure to set you right before you know it. Call us today to schedule a free maintenance inspection or simply keep our number handy for when you need us.