Biggest Drainage Design Mistakes To Avoid

Biggest Drainage Design Mistakes To Avoid

Uncontrolled stormwater runoff can cause the loss of soil as well as the nutrients carried by the soil. By implementing drainage on hill slopes, the risk of soil slippage is reduced. Standing water can choke vegetation, attract pests, get contaminated, cause flooding, and become dangerous. The main function of these systems is to collect surface water and direct it away as quickly as possible. Understanding the biggest drainage design mistakes to avoid will help you better comprehend the importance of proper drainage.


In planning and installing drainage systems, there is much to consider. Though the visual appeal is important in landscaping, none of it will matter with poor drainage planning. Any strategically placed grass areas or foliage will be susceptible to drowning or parching. Indoor facilities also need proper planning, which means that embellishments in paving and architecture must account for an appropriate drainage system before anything is made permanent.

Improper Sloping

Although the floors within a structure or ground might seem level, they should not be. Sloping is when floors or the ground are built to slope toward drains, most likely using a 1/8inch per foot angle. If there is improper sloping, water will collect outside anytime it rains and inside anytime there is flooding. Flooding is, of course, unsafe, so make sure to have properly sloped floors in the rooms that require it.

Skimping on Drains

Indoors, building codes require the adequate installation of drainage in floor surfaces that are subject to water. There should be a realistic number of strategically placed drains to avoid potential pooling. Outdoor spaces such as parking lots and garages also require drainage systems. To determine the appropriate number of drains a particular space needs, you’ll need to make accommodations for the heaviest flow possible.


A top priority of proper design and placement of drainage systems is safety. Any system chosen needs to be regularly inspected for issues. It’s essential to ensure drains are working properly and coverings are intact to prevent people from tripping or falling over them. If an improper function occurs at any time, or a drain is posing a problem that could put someone’s safety at risk, the area needs to be closed off and tended to immediately.

Drain Maintenance

Drain maintenance is key in keeping drains that have been carefully selected in working order. Drains should be inspected and receive regular maintenance checks to eliminate possible safety hazards. It’s essential that you set up a regular maintenance schedule to ensure efficiency and adequate operation of the system.

Additionally, systems and filtration should be cleaned out at regular intervals. Whether your maintenance staff handles it or you outsource the work to a company that specializes in it, plan ahead and secure this scheduling.

Type of System

Since there are several drain systems to choose from, you need to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of your options. By determining the flow rate in an area, you can judge whether a particular system can handle it. Account for the common type of traffic and the liquid that’ll be drained. Before deciding or installing, it’s best to consult an expert. The professionals at ABT are trained and experienced to provide information and explanations on which options are best for a particular job and why.

Drainage Systems

There are four types of drainage systems. They often work together to provide the collecting of excess water, so it’s crucial to understand how poor design can affect their abilities. Knowing what the worst-case scenarios are will make it obvious which things you should avoid. In addition to drainage systems collecting surface water, they also work to protect the substructure from erosion. If erosion occurs, load-bearing capacity and stability can be lost.

Surface Drainage

The main purpose of surface drainage systems is to shape the ground in order to allow for water to move toward a drain. It uses sloping and grading to direct water toward ditches or channels. Open drains are a type of surface drain that can pose many issues.

When water is traveling at high speeds, it will carry soil and silt away. However, due to water remaining exposed in open drains, water quality can deteriorate. This can cause illness through waterborne bacteria or water-related diseases. Improper installation of surface drainage like this will leave water susceptible.

Subsurface Drainage

Commercial channel drains is meant to remove water that has infiltrated soil or a structure in excess. By removing the overflow water below the surface, the subsurface drains often work with surface drains to provide relief. Typically, subsurface drains either lower the water table or improves the soil and water conditions outside or the stability of structures inside.

It’s essential that in installing these systems you consider the size based on the required capacity. If the minimum velocity required that prevents silting is not correct, trouble will arise. Additionally, it’s important to decide where the subsurface drain will empty, whether it be a channel, swale, or other area protected from erosion.

Slope Drainage

The majority of issues with drainage are attributed to improper slopes, which prevent the water from being diverted correctly. Positive grading keeps water from pooling, but if negative sloping occurs, the slope will have to be changed by building up the angle. Negative sloping outside will lead water toward a structure, causing damage. Inside, it will cause pooling because the fluid isn’t being moved to the drains properly. This is a safety hazard that will be costly to fix.

Downspouts and Gutters

Downspouts and gutters are one of our first defenses against the pooling of excess water. While some of these systems direct water to a storm drain, others are directly connected to a drainpipe in the ground. Poor design regarding these systems can lead to pooling water around and on top of structures. It can cause property damage, soil erosion, and leave exposed, stagnant water vulnerable to contamination.

Downspouts and gutters are easily placed and should be highly valued. They catch stormwater runoff as early as possible before pollutants can reach it and in order to maintain the surrounding area.

At first glance, a ditch or waterway may not seem like it was elaborately planned. However, each of these systems directs water in order to preserve and conserve it. Additionally, they work to maintain safety and preserve plant life in the areas we live.

Poor design can cost a lot of time, money, and clean water to fix. To take extra care in planning the implementation of these systems, consult the experts at ABT. Our professionals are happy to answer questions and provide direction. We want to ensure that the biggest drainage design mistakes to avoid are understood and that the proper system is chosen and installed for a particular situation.

Biggest Drainage Design Mistakes To Avoid