Outside Drain Care: The Root of the Problem


Our office is located in a nice facility on the top of a hill near I-5, but our last office was on the edge of the suburbs in Lynnwood, Washington in a small industrial park that got ‘Grand-fathered in’.  Because of that, the infrastructure was not the greatest.

As a matter of fact, our neighbor was a small manufacturing facility that worked for Boeing, and any time it rained, their loading dock area got flooded.  In the middle of winter when we would have weeks of rain, the loading dock area (which was ramped down-hill toward the building) flooded so badly there would be three to four feet of water.

One day I went over to visit it and the guys on break were sitting there with fishing poles and someone had put up a sign that said “Lake Steel’ next to it.  Funny… but it wouldn’t have been funny if a small child had fallen in and drowned.

This is the time of year when these outside drains need to be maintained, repaired or replaced.  Perhaps your driveway drain doesn’t flood as deep as Lake Steel, but even a couple of inches of water can freeze and cause damage to someone at the right time of year, and if the property owners have neglected maintenance and repair, they can become liable for any harm that befalls anyone.

Outside drains need to be cleaned twice a year; in the spring and in the fall.  Small drains in a driveway or at the be bottom of the stairs on a landing can be cleaned by hand, and then a hose should be run to prove drainage.

Large drains in parking lots need to be cleaned by a company that does that, and usually once a year is fine.  They use what are called “Vactor” Trucks, which suck all the mud and sand and debris out, and then they have a high pressure hose that can run up the line to prove it clean and draining.  Cities use these trucks to keep their street drains clean and running. Last winter several of my customers had outside drains that failed..

Organic Drain Cover

Root of the Problem

Hidden Drain Revealed


…and due to the weather, couldn’t be properly repaired at the time.  We snaked the drains and worked on them; but they would not work.  So, we opened up the ground a little and installed a temporary pump with a hose that would send the water away to a safe area.  Now, during drier weather, we are going back to those and excavating a drain line to an appropriate area to fix these drains permanently.

The unfortunate thing about these failed drains, is that regular semi-annual cleaning would have kept them working for years without replacement.  With that in mind, it makes sense to heed this “new” old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, a ton of mud, and whole lot of money”.

Bruce Davis Sr.

Licensed Journeyman Plumber

Licensed Electrician, HVAC/R

Electrical Administrator, HVAC/R

Certified WA State C.E.U. Instructor


6 Responses to “Outside Drain Care: The Root of the Problem”

  1. 1 home

    Very good post. I absolutely appreciate this website.
    Continue the good work!

  2. I rarely leave a response, but i did some searching and wound up here Outside Drain Care: The Root
    of the Problem | plumbertalk. And I actually do have a few questions for you
    if you don’t mind. Could it be only me or does it look like a few of these remarks appear as if they are written by brain dead visitors? 😛 And, if you are posting on other social sites, I would like to keep up with everything fresh you have to post. Could you list of every one of your community sites like your linkedin profile, Facebook page or twitter feed?

  3. Thanks for sharing!

  1. 1 Outside Drain Care: The Root Of The Problem

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