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Maintaining Your Commercial Property’s Stormwater Drainage System

Stormwater! This is not the name of a lesser-known superhero but the term used to describe the runoff water that collects on the ground after heavy rainfall. Stormwater drainage systems are crucial for ensuring this water flows away from commercial properties to prevent flooding and water damage. Fremantle Plumbing is here to stress the importance of maintaining them.  

Stormwater Drainage Systems Protect Property 

A commercial stormwater drainage system is a network of infrastructure designed to manage rainwater runoff from commercial properties and direct it away from buildings, parking lots, and other structures. These systems are typically made up of various components, including gutters, downspouts, catch basins, pipes, ditches, and retention ponds. Let’s look in greater detail at why they are essential and how they are maintained.  

Why are they Important? 

Poorly maintained commercial stormwater drainage systems can lead to various problems, including: 

  • Flooding: Flooding is one of the most immediate consequences of a poorly maintained drainage system. When drains, gutters, and downspouts become blocked or clogged with debris, water cannot flow away from the property effectively, resulting in standing water accumulation. While watching those YouTube videos of floodwater flowing down cleared drains can be cathartic, ideally, things shouldn’t have escalated to that point. Flooding can damage buildings, landscaping, and infrastructure, leading to costly repairs. 
  • Property Damage: Excessive water accumulation due to drainage system issues can cause damage to buildings, foundations, parking lots, and other structures on the property. Water infiltration into basements or crawl spaces can lead to structural damage, mould growth, and compromised building integrity. Additionally, erosion caused by poor drainage can undermine landscaping and pavement, further exacerbating property damage. 
  • Environmental Contamination: Stormwater runoff from commercial properties can contain pollutants such as sediment, oil, grease, chemicals, and debris. A poorly maintained drainage system may not effectively capture and treat these contaminants, leading to pollution of local waterways, rivers, and groundwater sources. Environmental contamination can harm aquatic ecosystems, wildlife, and public health and result in regulatory compliance issues and fines. 
  • Legal Liabilities: Property owners are legally responsible for maintaining their stormwater drainage systems in compliance with local regulations and environmental standards. Failure to do so can result in legal liabilities, including fines, penalties, and lawsuits, particularly if poor drainage contributes to property damage, flooding, or environmental pollution. It is important to be aware of your commercial responsibilities when it comes to maintaining drains. There are also rules about where you direct stormwater. Onto your competitor’s property (although satisfying) would not be legal, for example.  
  • Business Disruptions: Flooding and property damage caused by a poorly maintained drainage system can disrupt business operations, leading to downtime, loss of revenue, and inconvenience for employees, customers, and tenants. Emergency repairs and cleanup efforts can also be costly and time-consuming, further impacting business continuity. Regular drainage system maintenance can prevent these disruptions and minimise the impact on business operations. 

Proper Maintenance 

Here are some essential tips to help you maintain your commercial property’s stormwater drainage system effectively: 

  • Regular Inspections: Conduct thorough inspections of your stormwater drainage system periodically. Look for signs of blockages, including debris, sediment buildup, or vegetation growth in gutters, downspouts, and drains. Also, assess the surrounding landscape for any changes that could impact drainage, such as new construction or landscaping alterations. Regular inspections help identify issues early and prevent potential drainage problems. 
  • Clear Debris: You will often find on these inspections that drains have become cluttered or blocked. Regularly remove debris from gutters, downspouts, and drains to maintain proper water flow. Clearing leaves, branches, and other obstructions will prevent blockages and allow rainwater to drain freely. Consider installing gutter guards or screens to reduce the frequency of cleaning and keep debris out of the system, improving its efficiency. 
  • Monitor Slope and Grading: Ensure that the landscape around your property is appropriately graded to direct water away from buildings and toward drainage systems. Regularly monitor slopes and grading to prevent erosion and sediment buildup, which can impede drainage. It’s necessary to address any issues to maintain optimal drainage efficiency and to avoid water accumulation around structures. 
  • Maintain Vegetation: Trim trees, shrubs, and other vegetation near drainage systems to prevent overgrowth and blockages. Ensure that plants are not obstructing the flow of water through gutters, downspouts, or drains. Avoid planting trees with invasive root systems that could damage pipes and cause disruption. Proper plant maintenance is essential for preserving the system’s functionality, so get out your pruning shears! 
  • Inspect Infrastructure: Regularly inspect the infrastructure of your stormwater drainage system, including pipes, culverts, and catch basins, for signs of damage or deterioration. Look for cracks, leaks, corrosion, or any other issues that could compromise the system’s integrity. Repair or replace damaged components as needed to prevent further damage and keep things functioning properly. 
  • Practice Pollution Prevention: Implement pollution prevention measures to reduce the risk of contaminating waterways with stormwater runoff. Use sediment traps or filtration systems to capture pollutants such as sediment, chemicals, and debris before they enter the drainage system. Properly dispose of hazardous materials and chemicals to prevent pollution of the environment. 
  • Educate Employees: Educate employees about the importance of maintaining the stormwater drainage system and how they can contribute to its upkeep. Encourage them to report any drainage issues promptly and provide training on proper waste disposal practices to prevent pollution. No littering! 
  • Partner with Professionals: Consider partnering with professional contractors or skilled plumbers who have experience in stormwater management to ensure thorough inspections and maintenance of your drainage system. Professional expertise can help identify potential problems early and implement effective solutions to prevent costly damage. Working with professionals can provide peace of mind and ensure the long-term functionality of your system. 

Professional Plumbing with Fremantle 

Whilst we’re on the subject of professional partners, Fremantle Plumbing can offer itself as a perfect choice. After all, we’ve been blocked drain experts since 1952! We understand the challenges of commercial properties are unique, and our experienced team are ready to meet your needs and make plumbing problems a thing of the past. All you need to do is get in touch.  

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