Simple Facts about Storm Drainage System Engineering and Design

Kana Pipeline
October 11, 2011 — 1,405 views  

A storm drainage system is a sophisticated network of pipelines, catch basins and inlets that transport water for discharge into watersheds. Systems must be designed by engineers and installed by licensed pipeline contractors.

A storm drainage system includes catchment devices that trap large pieces of debris and lessen environmental impact. These systems are used to quickly transport water from parking lots, sidewalks, roads, and highways to prevent flooding.

Every storm water drainage system requires pipeline installation to carry water to the point of discharge. Drainage pipes range in size from 4 to 114 inches in diameter. The system works by directing runoff water through underground pipes to a specific location for discharge.

Water is released directly into retention ponds, detention ponds, rivers, lakes, and oceans. Since runoff water isn't filtered, sediment, litter, and environmental pollutants end up in the watershed.

Storm water often contains pollutants from petroleum-based products like gas and oil, as well as eroded soil, pesticides, and animal feces. When these types of environmental toxins are released into waterways, aquatic life can become endangered.

Approximately 30 percent of pollutants that are present in U.S. waterways are the result of storm water runoff. One strategy used when designing drainage systems is to include a detention pond that treats and stores water prior to release.

Detentions ponds are designed by hydrologists and can be setup as a dry or wet pond. The primary use of dry detention ponds is to store excess storm water and gradually release it into the ground or watersheds.

Wet detention ponds are mainly used to treat storm water runoff. An added bonus of wet ponds is they provide the perfect environment for birds and mammals; which in turn makes them ideal for wildlife preservation. Both dry and wet detention ponds filter debris and environmental pollutants prior to release.

Pipeline contractors have to collect extensive data in order to design and install drainage systems. Engineers need to locate the main outfall; calculate the direction of water movement; and locate existing subsurface utilities, connecting mains, and manholes.

Pipeline companies typically use subsurface utility engineering to establish the position of existing underground utilities and pipelines. SUE is a priceless method that reduces risks associated with acquiring erroneous underground data and helps to decrease total project costs.

Engineers have to consider many elements when planning drainage systems. Some of the more significant include: different kinds of pipe necessary for the project; location of detention ponds and inlets; maximum capacity of trunk lines and inlets; and the length of time for storm water runoff to reach inlets.

It's best to work with pipeline construction companies that utilize SUE methods and are experienced in storm drainage system engineering and installation. Look for companies that focus on construction safety and are committed to environmental protection.


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Kana Pipeline

Kana Pipeline is a southern California pipeline contractor with over 25 years experience in storm drainage system engineering and installation. We utilize advanced subsurface utility engineering methods to provide precise data that prevents costly delays caused by redesign or damaged utilities. Learn more about our company by visiting us at