Preparing your storm drains for La Niña

The Bureau of Meteorology has officially declared that we are entering the third La Niña season in three years. This announcement means Australian property owners and local councils need to be prepared for heavy rainfall and the increased number of plumbing problems this brings.

To combat these issues and help protect homes and infrastructure, there are preventative measures that can minimise impacts and possibly prevent an emergency plumbing situation. When dealing with heavy amounts of rainfall, storm drains will be the saving grace of your local community. It’s important that you do what you can to ensure it’s working effectively.

What does La Niña mean for Australia?

This meteorological phenomenon is called El Niño-Southern Oscillation, and it has two opposite phases – El Niño (below average rainfall) and La Niña (above average rainfall).

La Niña occurs when east-to-west winds in the Pacific Ocean get stronger, changing ocean surface currents and increasing water temperatures. This pumps moisture into the atmosphere along the north and east coastlines. The right weather systems can tap into this moisture, resulting in cloudy skies, very heavy rainfall, and often storms, flooding, and coastal erosion.

While is it the north and east of Australia that is usually the most affected, this year climate drivers are also expected to bring heavy rainfall to the west.

The importance of a stormwater drainage system

During times of excessive rainfall like La Niña, stormwater drains will divert water away from properties or council land and back into waterways. This includes any runoff from roofs, streets, roads or even water flowing downhill.

Storm drains are designed to handle very large volumes which is why they’re so effective, but this also means it’s hard to tell there’s a problem until a heavy rain incident occurs. If things become blocked or aren’t working the way they should, the storm drain can overflow, flooding buildings and surrounding streets. However, by putting in effective preparation beforehand and performing maintenance on stormwater plumbing, you could help prevent or minimise costly damages.

How to ensure your storm drains are ready for La Niña

1. Clean your gutters 

The goal of your gutters is to provide a path for rainwater to flow away from the roof, channelling it so it doesn’t make its way beneath the foundation of homes, infrastructure, or public buildings and weaken their structural integrity. Often, there will be downpipes that connect to roofs and flow directly into storm drains.

A clear gutter allows this water to flow freely along the intended path, whereas build-ups from leaves, dirt and debris can cause things to overflow. This can impact the effectiveness of stormwater systems, and when debris makes its way through the downpipes it can even contribute to blocking stormwater drains.

You should ensure your gutters are being regularly maintained to prevent these build-ups. This can be done with pressure cleaning, or by hand. You can also call in the professionals if you want a thorough job done.

2. Check your storm drains for blockages

As part of your maintenance, you should call in a local plumber to inspect your storm drains. Using CCTV equipment, they can examine the interior of your pipes and locate anything contributing to a blocked stormwater system.  

Tree root intrusion is a common issue for inground pipes like the ones connected to storm drains. This is because roots are attracted to the moist soil surrounding the pipes, caused by condensation. The roots will enter the pipe through small cracks and grow inside, blocking them up without you even knowing. Other blockages might just be caused by general debris build-up over time.

Once professionals know what the problem is, they can perform drain cleaning that will leave your stormwater plumbing as good as new and ready to feed water away from your property.

3. Inspect the age of your storm drains and pipes

If a stormwater system is old and deteriorated, it will likely struggle against the intense rainfall La Niña brings about. Aging pipes can burst under pressure, which would be catastrophic in a flooding emergency.

Plus, the ground moves a lot over time which can cause cracks or even collapse part of the pipeline. It could even just be a matter of the stormwater system consisting of outdated features that don’t offer the same benefits as modern plumbing technology.

Knowing all of this ahead of time means you can help prevent a potentially dire situation. With the same CCTV pipe inspection technology discussed above, professionals can examine the condition of your pipes and assess how likely they will hold up in extreme weather.

In the event that your system is unexpected to hold up, the best course of action is pipe relining. This will prevent costly excavations and all the other things that come with a full replacement. Nuflow’s CIPP pipe relining even offers better features than the original pipe, like improved structural integrity, better flow rates, and a longer life expectancy. Our products also have all accreditations needed for use in public and council infrastructure. 

4. Ensure all sinks and drains are clear

While not connected to your storm drain, the sinks and drains inside your home should be kept clear. With the sudden, large amounts of water brought upon by storm season, you don’t want any of your plumbing lines to clog or overflow and add to the already significant volume your storm drains are transporting away from your home.

Nuflow can help you get set for La Niña season

Nuflow offers a range of premium plumbing and piping services that can help residential, commercial, or council properties prepare for the heavy rainfall expected to hit Australia over the coming months. Our top-of-the-line CCTV inspection technology will allow us to fully examine your pipes, and we can clear them with our high-pressure system. 

If you’re in need of a reline, our expert technicians will assess your circumstances and work with head office to identify the best pipe relining materials to fit. Contact us today to start preparing.  

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