Have you heard the saying “Only Rain Down the Drain”? So how do you protect storm drains from sediment and other debris running down during active construction? Protecting storm drains are extremely important during construction, and there are several ways a contractor can protect the inlet. The contractor should be pick the Best Management Practices (BMPs) that is most effective for their particular site.
A common BMP used on several construction sites is a filter sock pipe. The BMP can be used along drop inlets, around trees or staked on top of soil. Sock pipes filter sediment as runoff passes through it and allows it to settle out suspended solids. When used at drop inlets, they are combined with rock bags or concrete block to hold them in place. The socks should be inspected weekly to ensure the integrity is maintained. Holes in the sock, broken rock bags, and sediment that has deposited (over ½ the height of the pipe) reduce the efficiency of the BMP and should be addressed within 7 days of discovery. When properly maintained, sock pipes have a life of approximately 9 months of pollution prevention capability.
Sock pipes have a tendency to slow the flow of water and during heavy storms it is common for those pipes to be pulled away from the inlet to prevent streets from flooding. It is important to make sure the sock pipe is placed back as soon as the storm is finished and to protect that inlet. So next time you drive by a construction site and you see a black pipe placed in an inlet know that it is there to serve a purpose, and “Only Rain Down the Drain”.