What is underground drainage? (with photos)

In underground drainage systems, pipes often disperse water into culverts.

Underground drainage is the drainage of water that is directed underground rather than along the surface. There are several reasons to choose underground drainage and these systems must be installed with care. People need to make sure that they drain to the correct location and that they are installed with materials that are sturdy and are able to withstand incursions such as roots. Irrigation and drainage companies can design and install these systems for people who prefer to leave things in the hands of experts.

Mosquitoes may use underground drainage areas as a breeding ground.

Drainage is an ever-present problem in any area where there is water. In some cases, the natural design of a property provides enough surface drainage that drainage is not a major issue. In other cases, people may notice puddles, soggy soil, and other signs of a drainage problem. Drainage issues need to be addressed because poor drainage can compromise a home’s foundations, damage garden plants, look unsightly, and make walking around the garden or yard difficult. Poor drainage can also contribute to erosion and other problems.

One option is to install a surface drainage system that collects water and directs it into culverts, the street, or another suitable area. This can be unpleasant, however, leading some people to prefer an underground drainage system. With underground drainage, a series of collection sites lead to underground pipes that are dumped down a slope. Collection locations include gutter downspouts and railings at strategic low points around the yard or garden.

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Pipes used for underground drainage need to be able to repel roots that might otherwise try to grow through them. Some people use a French drainage system, with perforated pipes surrounded by gravel. This system allows water to quickly seep through the gravel and into the pipes, allowing drainage to occur wherever the pipes run, rather than collecting water at central points. This removes groundwater quickly and efficiently.

It is important to place the outlet of an underground drainage system in the proper location. For people in urban areas, the pipes must drain into culverts or the street, depending on local laws. It is important to avoid directing water into neighboring yards and to avoid creating runoff on the property itself. Residents of rural areas should try to place the outlet on a slope, taking some measures to prevent erosion, such as placing a screen at the outlet to break the water at the outlet of the drainage system.

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