Maintenance of drainage and gutters

May 2018 was one of the sunniest and warmest on record but the very heavy rain showers at the end of the month and at the start of June caused flash flooding to roads, car parks and playgrounds as well as damage to buildings here in Shropshire.

Sometimes the amount of rain which falls in a short space of time can overwhelm even the best and most well maintained drainage systems, but the impact of such heavy rain showers on poorly maintained drainage systems can have damaging and dangerous results. Flooding of only a few inches can cause damage to the fabric of a building and can sometimes result in foul drains over flowing and sewerage entering buildings or being deposited on the ground.

Overflowing gutters on a building can cause significant amounts of water to enter a building and because this can often happen at high level it can cause extensive damage – including damage to ceilings and electrical systems.

Even though really heavy downpours can overwhelm a well maintained drainage there are a few things you can do to reduce the risk of flooding or the likelihood of water ingress.

Making sure gutters are clear of debris is essential routine maintenance and if gutters are clear they will disperse rain water into the ground drainage system and help prevent localised flooding on the premises.

On hard surfaces the most common way to disperse the water is through the surface drains; it is essential that the gullies for these drains are clear, the drains are flowing freely and that all the gullies have grated covers. Checking the covers and clearing gullies should be part of routine maintenance, it is particularly important to make sure they are clear after a torrential rain shower as very heavy rain showers can result in a lot of debris blocking gully grates or the gullies themselves.

If there has been localised flooding then it is essential that all risks are assessed before anyone attempts to clear a blockage – even a fairly shallow flood can be dangerous and potentially fatal should someone slip or fall and always remember that flood waters can be contaminated by foul sewers.