Finding out how to unblock a stormwater drain is a smart move if you suspect you have blocked stormwater pipes around your home.

A stormwater drainage system in your property consists of gutters, downpipes and stormwater drainage pits. Altogether, this system collects rainwater and sends it to the stormwater drainage network in your street or area.

In this article, you’ll get to know why you have a blocked stormwater drain, how to unblock it, and how you can prevent future occurrences. Have a blocked drain inside the house? Read our blog on how to clear a blocked drain

How Do I Detect Blocked Stormwater Pipes?

There are various signs that can indicate that your stormwater drain is blocked. A few of them include:

  • Overflowing roof gutters would mean your downpipes or underground pipework could be blocked
  • Water pooling or boggy areas in your backyard means water isn’t escaping into the drainage system, so there could be a blockage or just inadequate stormwater drainage
  • Water overflowing from the base of your downpipes indicates a blockage in the stormwater system

Once your stormwater drain or pipe gets blocked, it tends to overflow quickly. This is because stormwater drains usually handle a large amount of water. As such, blocked stormwater pipes can cause serious problems, including:

  • Damage to your property and surroundings: A blocked gutter can cause water to flow into your house. It can pass under doors and damage your floors.
  • Mild health risks: Rainwater that sits around may attract more mosquito breeding or lead to algae growth which can become a slip hazard. If rain cannot get into your stormwater drainage system, water can back up onto your roof, which in turn leads to leaks into your home and possible mould growth.

Therefore, it is essential to ensure that you do all you can to prevent a stormwater drain blockage. This will save your home from a possible flood and the resulting damages that come with it. If you notice a stormwater drainage issue on public land, report it to the Gold Coast Council today.  

Let’s look at some things that can cause a blocked stormwater drain.

What Causes Blocked Stormwater Pipes?

There are various causes of blocked stormwater pipes which include:

Thirsty Trees

The number one cause of blocked stormwater pipes on the Gold Coast is root intrusion from plants and trees. During the long dry winters, roots go looking for sources of water and often find their way into the drainage system. They can grow into the drains for many months, sometimes years, before a problem is noticed.  

We recommend an annual CCTV drain camera inspection of your stormwater system to ensure it’s not compromised during heavy downpours on the Gold Coast in the summer months.

Damaged Stormwater Pipes

The second most common cause of blockages is crushed or broken stormwater pipes. As stormwater drainage isn’t laid very deeply in the ground, it is possible as the ground compacts and vehicles are driven over it, that the stormwater pipes become squashed and broken. This narrows the area for the water to escape and can lead to stormwater drain blockages.

Environmental Matter

This includes materials like leaves, dirt, sand, sticks, small pebbles, mulch and bark from the garden. Usually, water picks up anything on its path and takes it down grates and pipes, especially during storm season on the Gold Coast. There, these materials will accumulate and, with time, cause a blockage.

After heavy rainfall, it is wise to check your stormwater drains. This is to avoid consolidating environmental matter in your drains to prevent a blockage.

Rubbish and Debris

If you do not dispose of your refuse properly, they will compound and cause a stormwater blockage. Refuse lying around the environment can be carried by the rain into your stormwater pipes, and this can cause blockages.

Incorrect Connection

If your stormwater pipes are not correctly connected, then expect to have stormwater drains that are blocked constantly. If you discover that the stormwater pipe on your property is improperly connected, contact a good plumber immediately. 

Often stormwater pipes have not been connected to anything and just come to an end in the ground which can lead to blockages. Occasionally stormwater pipes have been connected into the sewer which is actually illegal and needs to be rectified by a plumbing and drainage expert immediately.

These are the major causes of stormwater drain blockages. But how can these blockages be prevented?

How Do I Prevent Blocked Stormwater Pipes?

The common saying that “prevention is better than cure” is true and definitely also applies to stormwater blockages. It’s better to prevent clogging of your stormwater pipes than to begin clearing blocked stormwater pipes.

Prevention is cost-effective, less stressful, and safer for you, your environment, and your pipes. So, here are some ways to prevent your stormwater drain from blockage.

Regular Cleaning

You should have your drains cleared out by a storm drain cleaning service at least once a year. They will rid your drain of debris and other materials that have built up over time.

This way, you can efficiently ensure that a complete blockage does not occur. It is a good method that will save you money and effort.

Allow a Professional To Do Your Plumbing

You should only let a licensed plumber carry out the installation and maintenance of your household stormwater pipes.

Don’t try to do it yourself! Use an experienced professional with many years of drainage solution experience to ensure you will get a quality result. You don’t want to be revisiting these stormwater issues every year or risk making everything worse.

Recognise the Warning Signs

It is always better to detect a blocked stormwater drain early. When this happens, it will prevent more drastic damages from occurring.

Certain warning signs tell you that your stormwater drain is about to block up or is blocked. These signs include:

  • Water gushing out of your downpipes or roof gutters
  • Flooded grates during downpours
  • Slowly draining water
  • Flooded property

Contact a professional plumber to check out your stormwater drain when you notice any of these signs. Clearing blocked stormwater pipes early will prevent further damage, saving you time and money.

Have Gutter Guards and Stormwater Grates

Guards and grates are an excellent way to prevent blockages. When you install them, they are there to stop debris and leaves from entering the drain. Clean the guards and grates regularly, so the debris does not accumulate. 

Also have your gutters vacuum cleaned by a professional at least once a year and more frequently if you have a lot of shedding trees close to your property.

Plan the Structure of Your Property Carefully

If, for instance, you plan to have a garden on your property, be intentional about where you plant the trees on your property.

Since tree roots and leaves can cause stormwater drain blockages, ensure that you plant trees a reasonable distance away from your stormwater pipes.

How Can I Go About Clearing Blocked Stormwater Pipes?

There are natural, chemical, and technical ways of unblocking blocked drains and pipes. However, if your stormwater drain is blocked, the best thing to do is contact a plumbing and drainage expert to help you unblock the pipes.

It is not advisable to try to unclog your blocked stormwater drains by yourself. This is because, unlike other drainage systems, stormwater drains connect pipes from the roof to channels that then discharge water into the water table or kerb in the street.

It can be challenging to know how to unblock a stormwater drain yourself, so you will need to contact a professional. 

DCM Plumbing and Drainage offers storm drain cleaning services on the Gold Coast that are perfect for every stormwater drain situation. Using the best tools, we will get rid of dirt, leaves and debris from your stormwater drains. We will succeed in clearing your drains in situations where other conventional methods won’t work.

Is your stormwater drain blocked on the Gold Coast? Don’t hesitate, call us at (07) 5576 5305 or contact us online and book your expert plumber today.