About Catch Basins

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Most people recognize the word catch basin but can't quite remember its definition. If the name storm drain inlet or curb inlet comes into the conversation, they recognize the word immediately. A catch basin is beneficial for removing water from roadways, but it is also useful for the homeowner.

Function

  • A catch basin helps take surface water off the roads and transfers it into storm drains. It usually has a grate or curb inlet and acts as the first level of protection to capture the large sediment so it doesn't enter the drainage system. A catch basin often captures larger sediment but the amount of sediment that it captures depends on the size of the sump.

Significance

  • Most storm drains directly connect to creeks, beaches, bays, lagoons and sometimes oceans or lakes. Most of the pollutants that enter the catch basin are sediment, debris, leaves, trash and litter. However, it also washes down pollutants like soaps into the drainage system. It is important not to use the catch basin to dump pollutants that contaminate the natural waterways. Most major cities now require a treatment area for the runoff water before it enters the waterways. The name for this system is combined sewers. New methods of handling the pollutants like oil in runoff water are now available for new developments.

Size

  • There is a variety of catch basins from which to choose. Low profile catch basins have shallow wells that are only 1 3/4 inches and have a grate on the top. Most of the catch basins are much larger with many deeper than 30 inches. Polystyrene is the material for most new basins.

Effects

  • A catch basin is useful for removing the areas of standing water. If you have a constant problem with puddles forming but don't have enough space for a culvert, a catch basin can do the trick. Simply install one and divert the water through a perforated drainpipe placed in gravel and the water drains away.

Prevention/Solution

  • You can help the environment by adding extra protection to your catch basin. There are varieties of products that help prevent pollutants from entering the ground water. Curb Guard is for use on openings that have no street grates. It traps sediment and oil yet allows water to flow through it. Inserts are also available to catch petroleum products and excess sediment. Example of this type is the Kristar Flo-Gard Catch Basin Insert Filter.

Warning

  • If you are installing a catch basin to divert ground water, always check for the location of buried electrical and phone cables. Check with the local building code to find out any ordinances regarding ground water runoff systems, catch basins and storm drains. Clean the catch basins as often as necessary to keep the system working properly.

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  • Photo Credit MorgueFile.com: Andrea Church (ladyheart)
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