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How to Identify the Different Parts of Your Properties Drainage System

Updated: Oct 7, 2021

Drainage systems are complex, especially on the larger the property, which is why it can be difficult identifying different parts of your system through out your property. Luckily, there are a few characteristics that make it easy to identify them. Some of the common drainage parts we will be discussing here are: catch basins (both lawn and street), trench ditches, interceptors, pump chambers and oil water separators. It is important to know all the different between all of them, their purpose, and how to best maintain them.

Street Catch Basin

This is the most common to find on any property. As we have discussed in many different blog posts, catch basins serves as a filter to keep debris and build up from entering the main drainage system. They are often found at low points on the property and on the side of the road for best drainage. Typically, they have long, wide slits across the top for water to easily drain through. It is recommended that street catch basins are cleaned out annually to prevent any build up of material flowing into the drainage system and causing problems.

Lawn Catch Basin

These guys actually have the same purpose as the street catch basins however they are specifically for unpaved areas. They are often easily overlooked since grass and other shrubbery can grow over the top if not properly maintained. Lawn catch basins are instrumental for keeping lawns staying lawns versus turning into unwanted mini pool due to water build up.

Trench Ditches

You probably have come across these drains more often than you would think but maybe didn't realize what it was for. They are often longer and narrow but vary in width. They are commonly found when a parkade driveway meets the flat ground or along or across sidewalks. It is recommended to clean trench ditches annually as they can easily collect leaves, gravel, and other material that can back up your system.


Interceptors are used to remove water from the property and acts as a filter for the drainage system. Water flows into the interceptor prior to the main sump pumps of the building, in order to collect debris in the interceptor rather than the main sump pumps of the building (the ones that remove water from the property). They are often recognizable with their concrete raised structures and lid with no holes. Often they are tucked away on the property in flower beds, along side buildings, or in a yard.

Pump Chamber

Similar to the interceptor, pump chambers are used to remove water from the property. The water can be either storm or sanitary. Typically, the pump chamber houses a sump pump. A pump chamber is often identified by its solid square or circle lid and can only be opened with specific tools. However, the size of the chamber can vary quite drastically.

Oil Water Separator

The name of oil water separators almost defines the purpose of these guys ~ it is used as a filter to remove any of the oil from water before the water is fully removed from the property via the main sump pump systems. Typically there are two solid steel lids on the ground next to one another. Often the oil water separator is next to a pump station as water flows out of the oil water separator directly into the pump station.

Now you know all the tricks to identify what drainage is on your property and you hopefully have a better understanding about your property's drainage system. If you have any questions or need any of these feel free to reach out to us at any time via email, call or text. Our office number is (604)526-2620 and our email is

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