Stormwater Infiltration…What’s The Big Deal?

Pipeline Inspection Camera TractorSo there’s a little extra water draining through the storm-pipes…what’s the big deal?

We hear this a lot…especially from condo and homeowners associations…and we get it. Most of the time, the pipes aren’t overly surcharged and they can handle a little extra flow just fine. And it would be just fine, until we point out that water isn’t all that gets into the storm system when there are leaky joints or cracks in aging pipes. Sand and silt are carried with the water and that sand and silt have to come from somewhere…but where does it come from?

It’s amazing how community managers’ perspectives change when we point out cracks running down the middle of the road or dips in the pavement around manhole covers and explain that it’s the result of storm-system infiltration carrying away the earth that supports their road-base. Many had never really given it a thought and assumed that such defects in pavement and roads might just be part of the compaction and natural aging process of all roadways. What’s more, many don’t realize that the erosion of earth around storm pipes over time can present much more significant structural problems as growing underground voids remove support and allow pipes to shift, leading to cracking or separating joints between pipe segments resulting in major damage to the system. If the damage is extensive enough, pipes may need to be excavated and replaced or re-laid which involves tearing up and replacing everything above them (which may include roadways, sidewalks, children’s play areas, or worse…buildings). $!

So what’s the answer? . . Prevention and Regular Maintenance.

All condo associations, apartment complexes, HOAs, and commercial centers should have a regular stormwater maintenance plan in place that includes the cleaning and video inspection of stormwater pipelines on an annual or bi-annual basis.

Regular cleaning of stormwater systems ensures that during periods of heavy rain the systems are able to function at their optimal efficiency to carry stormwater away from parking lots, roads, and buildings…preventing flooding and allowing visitors continuity of access to the property.

Regular video pipeline inspection, which is performed using robotic pipeline inspection cameras, can identify leaks and potential problem areas in your storm-system before significant erosion occurs.

With early detection of infiltration and other structural problems in storm-systems, a variety of trenchless methods can be employed to stop leaks, fill voids, and restore the system to good working order without the need to dig up pipelines. In most cases, the sooner problems are identified and addressed, the less expensive they are to repair and the less damage will be caused to surrounding features.

Moral of the story: Clean regularly, identify issues early, repair trenchlessly, prevent sink-holes and erosion, and keep the system functioning in peak form. In the long run…the savings can be substantial. 

All South Underground can help with the development and implementation of your storm-system maintenance program; please contact your All South representative or call (888) 382-6259 for more information.