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’. And 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 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.
One winter several of my customers had outside drains that failed, 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 temporary pumps with hoses that would send the water away to a safe area. When summer rolled around, we went back to those customers and excavated drain lines to appropriate areas to fix the 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
Bruce Davis Sr is President of Day & Nite Plumbing & Heating, a 69-year-old family owned and operated plumbing and heating business in Lynnwood, Washington.
Bruce can be contacted at: Email: Bruce@dayandnite.net
Day & Nite Plumbing & Heating Inc. 16614 13th Ave. W. Lynnwood, WA 98037