Common Drainage Challenges of Commercial Properties

Common Drainage Challenges of Commercial Properties

Admit it—you rarely never give the drain solutions outside of your property another thought. However, we can play a large part in how functional the drain solutions in our areas and towns are. Understanding how common drainage challenges of commercial properties occur may incentivize you to take a more active role in defending fresh water. Knowing how to evaluate the way water pools, runs, and is absorbed will help you identify issues.

Clogged Gutters, Drains, and Downspouts

One of the significant issues that lead to drainage problems is clogs and debris. Gutters, drains, and downspouts need to be clear for water to flow correctly and run off to the appropriate channels. Often, we leave gutters overflowing with things like leaves and those little helicopter-like seedlings (also known as samaras) that come from maple trees.

Laziness and a lack of awareness really hinder us from taking proper maintenance steps to keep these areas tidy. Making this type of maintenance a priority will keep gutters from building up with debris that clogs downspouts and drains. As it stops stormwater runoff from traveling through the proper channels and causes it to stagnate, it not only causes property damage and creates pooling, but it also leaves the water open to possible contamination. The longer water sits on a surface, the more likely that it is to encounter pollutants.


Obstructions that halt or slow drainage can appear in many forms. It is crucial to be aware of the water flow when planning and building structures. You wouldn’t want to build something that obstructs flow because then it would sustain water damage. Additionally, impeding natural or designed channels can create flooding issues and, again, expose runoff to impurities. Before building anything, study the way the water flows, and find alternative paths when necessary.

Landscape Against Water Flow

Natural obstructions can also occur, such as slanted lots and yards or improperly placed landscaping features like flowerbeds and berms. When determining the best ways to channel runoff, a property’s layout is important to consider.

Often, this issue results from improper planning. Even flowerbeds or outdoor leisure areas, though aesthetically pleasing, can create drainage and flow problems that ultimately lead to severe complications. It’s next to impossible to collect clean storm runoff if the water is catching in flood areas. Standing water is susceptible to more impurities the longer it remains stagnant, which diminishes the quality of any water we can gather and use elsewhere.

Proper Planning

Before adding landscaping features to a property, it’s essential to look at area surveys when possible. You may have to pay for in-depth surveying. If you are lucky enough to find a survey that has topographic lines on it, then you’ll have a good chunk of information to help you make educated decisions. It’s worth it to obtain information on the slope of the land and the direction that water travels. This way, you’ll know where it makes sense to install certain landscape enhancements.

When creating a plan of attack to keep drainage challenges in check, consider installing commercial drainage solutions that function in a few ways. ABT Drains manufactures drainage applications that will collect water properly and are both chemical- and fire-resistant. One can use them both indoors and outdoors to corral water. These products have a UL (Underwriter Laboratories) safety classification and meet NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) fire codes.

Runoff From Other Properties

A major challenge that commercial properties may face when dealing with drainage is the runoff from other properties. Surrounding lots can pose problems if they don’t have proper draining solutions in place. Commercial draining is a group effort.

All neighboring areas need to agree about how to manage storm runoff. An inability to remedy issues nearby could mean unwanted water running into other sites. This could be a particularly serious issue if your property is downhill from another. Even though it isn’t your fault, you’ll still need to deal with the consequences, as you don’t want the water to damage your property or building.

Incorrect Grading

Grading indicates how level a surface is. A lot goes into the slope of the land to allow for proper drainage and to avoid pooling. Improper grading can mean that water will get stuck in areas you don’t want it to collect. Use grading to correct a flat area’s flow or slope to take water away from buildings. The slope doesn’t have to be substantial, just enough to carry runoff away from your foundation, structures, and yards.

Avoidance of Changes

The best way to prevent your property or structure from sustaining water damage is to be cognizant of how water stands and flows. Taking note of how long water is evident after heavy rain, how it moves across surfaces, where it pools, and more will help you address issues early on.

Taking preventative measures or a professional assess your drainage the moment you realize something isn’t right will save you a lot of stress later. If you aren’t sure how your property slopes, consider using string. Hold one end, and drag it the span of areas that you are especially concerned about to help you identify whether the slope is going in a favorable direction. As they say, large problems come from avoiding smaller ones!

Permeable Surfaces

The implementation of permeable surfaces can be a lifesaver when attempting to relieve the obstruction of natural water flow. There are many alternatives to standard concrete or asphalt for lots and patios. Using permeable options allows water to seep through the surface and percolate into the soil, thus filtering out impurities and replenishing the water cycle.

There are many ways to identify common drainage challenges of commercial properties. The easiest is to keep your attention on different areas of the property when rainfall is heavy. Paying attention to the ways water travels and how it could affect the areas around it is essential. If you start to see evidence that runoff isn’t draining correctly, be sure to consult a professional at ABT Drains to assess the situation and offer ideal solutions. We are here to help you and the environment to maintain the natural water cycle in the best ways possible.

Common Drainage Challenges of Commercial Properties