Today (December 2017) I have noted two catchment pits full to the brim with leaves and debris as per photos below. There is no need to mention the locality since the lack of maintenance is a generic issue. Clearly these gratings will not be collecting any stormwater runoff, during the rainy season, when they are most needed.
The efficiency of the grating has been greatly reduced and unless they are cleaned and unblocked from the debris, the investment for the installation of a whole stormwater network such as the laying of pipes, outflows, and construction of manholes would be for nothing. It does not make sense to invest in infrastructure and not maintain it to the best of our abilities. This is due to a lack of a culture for maintenance works.
Locally, multi-million euros are invested each year to build roads and infrastructures, but sadly maintenance of such investments is either negligible or inexistent. In order to make the most of the invested capital, maintenance must become an integral part in our building process right from the design stage until the project is completed.
Consider Maintenance Requirement right from the Design Stage
During the design stage the engineer has to design in such a way as to minimise the maintenance required to keep the investments in good operating condition. For example if we keep discussing the gratings above, the following points can drastically reduce the amount of maintenance required.
1. Do not construct gratings directly below trees to prevent blocking of gratings with leaves.
2. Do not use small diameter pipes, so as to avoid blockages.
Plan and Budget for Maintenance after project completion
Once the maintenance required for the upkeeping of the installed infrastructure has been reduced by design, then the required maintenance should be programmed and budgeted accordingly to ensure a fully functional infrastructure. The following tasks need to be carried out regularly:
1. Unblock grating chambers and pipes from debris and leaves every year in late summer just before the first rains are expected. Then check regularly the manholes during the rainy season and unblock accordingly.
2. It has been noted that during some mechanical sweeping of arterial roads, mechanical sweepers push silt, dust and leaves into these gratings, thus contributing to the blockage of the catchment manhole. Make sure that all mechanical sweepers function properly and ensure that silt and leaves are not deposited in the gratings during mechanical sweeping action. If accidentally the mechanical sweeper pushes silt into the catch pit, then these catch-its should be cleaned manually as required.
3. Silt buckets can be installed in grating chambers to collect silt to allow easy cleaning and maintenance of the grating chamber. However, silt buckets need to be emptied regularly.