Are Hidden Plumbing Systems Bringing You Hidden Costs?

McKenney's Plumbing Services

McKenney's Plumbing Services

Fall is here! Football, baseball playoffs, and cooler weather. It’s my favorite time of the year. But autumn also brings falling leaves, and along with other debris, leaves can create not only a mess of your property, but also your operating budget.

This is a widespread issue: the local news even ran stories of highways being shut down during periods of heavy (and sometimes not-so-heavy) rain falls due to flooding. In a lot of these cases, flooding could have been avoided if the storm drains were cleared of debris before the rain started.
It’s not just public highways that flood from clogged area drains: this happens on private property when outside area drains are not maintained. In response many cities have ordinances that require property owners to have their storm drainage system inspected for obstructions or failures in the system.

Storm water drainage inspection consists of visual inspection of a few big-ticket areas:

  1. detention vaults
  2. weir walls
  3. sand basins
  4. manholes

In a lot of cities, the detention vaults are below ground and can be very large in size. These are designed to manage excess stormwater runoff and help prevent flooding. By definition, a detention vault is an area where stormwater is temporarily stored, or detained, and is eventually allowed to drain slowly when water levels recede in the receiving channel.

These vaults often have massive amounts of leaves and trash that wash down into them; that can cause big problems for properties if they become clogged.

Frequent maintenance is required to remove sediment and debris and to ensure that the outlet structure is functioning properly. The alternative is large-scale removal of accumulated sediment, although this may be difficult due to limited access. What’s more, underground systems will be considered confined spaces, requiring additional safety requirements for inspection and maintenance. All of this adds up to a larger bill at the end for property owners.

As mentioned above, many cities have issued formal ordinances to help combat the creep that naturally comes with these out-of-sight-out-of-mind systems. For example, Atlanta’s Code of Ordinances requires that the property owners “ensure stormwater management facilities installed on their property are properly maintained and functioning as designed” (Code Sec. 74-517). It’s possible your city has something similar, and the last thing you want are fines for ignoring ordinance in addition to footing the bill for a large-scale hyrdovac service.

All permitted and constructed stormwater management facilities are required to have an inspection and maintenance agreement recorded in the deed records for the property. These agreements include a few things:

  1. an appropriate operation and maintenance plan s
  2. an annual inspection
  3. a qualified inspector

Back to our Atlanta example, those inspectors must have what’s called a level II Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission Specialist certification.

In many cases property managers don’t know that they have underground detention vaults. Understandably, it’s far too common that only what is seen gets serviced. Don’t forget to have the underground components of your storm water system inspected and cleaned, as well as the area drains that are seen daily.

So to avoid these hidden systems from resting in hidden costs, regularly scheduled inspection and service of your storm drain systems is the way to go. It’s worth mentioning that we here at McKenney’s Plumbing Service have all the required level II certifications, inspectors and equipment needed to clean and repair your storm water systems.

About Adam Johnson


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Adam Johnson is a veteran technician in McKenney's Plumbing Services. With corporate clients all over the Atlanta metro area, Adam and his colleagues routinely add value to the facilities they service by delivering fast, responsive, high-quality service every time.

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