Storm drain blockers serve a very important purpose — they sit at the mouth of the storm drain and prevent unwanted material from entering. This is a simple role but a crucial one. Without storm drain mats and other forms of protection, the drainage channel is vulnerable to contamination.
To ignore storm drain mats and leave drains unprotected is a big mistake for industrial facilities in the USA. Drains on construction sites are vulnerable to contamination from eroded soil and wind-blown debris, while industrial facilities may need to handle oil and other pollutants that could get into the drainage system and cause severe harm. Even standard parking lots may need to take delivery of harmful chemicals, which can lead to severe problems in the event of unchecked spillages. Drain protection can prevent such issues.
Why Do Storm Drains Need Protection?
A storm drain is a robust solution, and it needs to be. In areas with large amounts of rainfall, these drains are required to handle vast volumes of water and material on a regular basis, diverting this water from the site and into channels where it can be safely removed. Depending on the type of facility, day-to-day operations can exacerbate this volume. Sprinkler systems and other unconfined water usage can add even more runoff, which will need to be dealt with.
But these drains are so tough — and are often so well designed — that we sometimes end up forgetting about them altogether. With just a bit of regular maintenance, these solutions carry out their duties largely all by themselves, leading to a bit of an “out of sight, out of mind” attitude.
But this attitude can be harmful. In fact, drain protection is required in drain systems if they are to keep on functioning at their best and if they are to remain fit for purpose. Additions like storm drain blockers and mats can be critical for businesses and facility managers, and here’s why:
Storm Drains Are Tough, but “Tough” Has Its Limits
Storm drains are typically made from concrete, which is a highly durable material most of us see every day in the spaces and structures around us. Concrete has become something of a byword for solid and unyielding, but this is not always the case in practice. Concrete can be degraded and damaged over time, eventually leading to failure. For facility managers, concrete failure is expensive simply because the infrastructure needs to be completely replaced. Management teams want to avoid this expense, extending the usable life of concrete solutions like storm drains as far as possible.
Concrete degradation can be caused by many things, but two of the most common factors are physical or mechanical erosion and chemical weathering. Physical erosion takes place when suspended solids such as grit and other materials pass over the concrete surface repeatedly, leading to a high number of micro-impacts that break concrete down over an extended period. Chemical weathering, on the other hand, causes a reaction that changes the composition of the concrete itself, leading to degradation of the material in a different way.
Storm drain mats are particularly useful for preventing solid materials from entering the drain system, minimizing the risk of physical erosion. However, by controlling the water that flows into the drain, these protection solutions also give facility teams the opportunity to treat the water that runs off from the site, potentially bringing chemical weathering down to a minimum too.
Stormwater Pollution Is a Real Problem
It’s not just a case of extending the life of the storm drain itself. There is also the question of where the water goes to. Stormwater is not generally treated at a municipal level, and so any outflow is allowed to run into watercourses and local environments around the USA. This can be seriously problematic, as the water tends to pick up a variety of contaminants as it flows over industrial sites. While storm drain mats are not sufficient to prevent this pollution on their own, they do provide an additional line of defense, preventing some forms of contaminant from entering the drainage system. Facility teams will still need to treat the water they release into their storm drains and may be held accountable if they are found to be damaging the local environment with their runoff.
Storm drain mats can also make this treatment more effective. An unprotected storm drain will permit harmful materials to enter, and these harmful materials will not all be flushed out of the other side of the drain. Some of these contaminants will remain within the drain itself, further contaminating any water that flows across it. This situation would render the pretreatment phase largely useless, but storm drain mats can ensure that these materials don’t enter the drain in the first place.
Storm Drains Are Not Intended to Be Waste Disposal Solutions
We’ve touched upon the idea of “out of sight, out of mind” above, but this is a significant problem when it comes to storm drains. There is a tendency to approach storm drain solutions as waste disposal channels — something that will quickly and efficiently remove all waste from an industrial site. Of course, storm drains were never intended for this purpose, and there are big problems with this approach.
What happens when the storm drain becomes blocked? With nowhere for water to go, it backs up onto the site, resulting in flooding. If flooding gets out of hand, the site may need to close down while the problem is fixed. In the worst cases, human life may even be at risk. Storm drain blockers and protective equipment such as mats help to prevent these blockages by trapping material that may jam the drainage system. As a result, potentially expensive repair and remediation work is avoided, and the drainage solution keeps on working as it should.
Real Benefits of Storm Drain Blockers
Protecting the local environment and securing good relations with nearby communities, extending the life of onsite infrastructure and securing a strong return on investment, and preventing dangerous flooding and other hazardous incidents at the facility itself — these are a few of the key benefits of deploying storm drain mats and protective solutions at your facility. These are simple fixes, but the advantages they offer are profound.