Catch Basin Cleaning: The importance of maintenance

When it’s time for your catch basin cleaning, you’ll need a high-powered vacuum truck that’s licensed to haul the wastewater offsite for recycling.  The role of your catch basin is very important.

Catch Basin Maintenance

Designed to collect and store dirt, oil dry, trash, rust and gasoline and oil residue, catch basins need to be cleaned and inspected regularly in order to function as a pollution collection device.

Catch basins that are not routinely or properly serviced will likely fail, allowing prohibited pollutants to get into the sewer system, clog pipes, create blockages and disrupt your operations! This might be water overflow in your underground parking garage, car wash or factory floor.

Warning – High or low water level.  When observed, the level of water in a properly operating Catch Basin will be about one foot below the manhole grate.  High or low water level indicates the catch basin is not working properly and requires immediate attention.

"You really need high-powered vacuum trucks to clean out a catch basin at a car wash. When it's filled with sand and mud, there's really no other way to pump it out," shares John Mierow, AWS Vacsimizer operator.

“You really need a high-powered vacuum truck to clean and pump out catch basins at a car wash. When it’s filled with sand and mud, there’s really no other way to pump it out,” shares John Mierow, AWS Vacsimizer operator.

Top 5 questions about cleaning catch basins. 

1) Is a catch basin just a hole in the ground?  Catch basins are engineered devices designed specifically to keep common shop facility pollutants from entering the sanitary sewer system.

2) Do I wait to pump a catch basin until it doesn’t drain? Waiting until your catch basin does not drain is like waiting until your car stops before you check the oil.  Catch basins require regular preventative maintenance.

"The longer the hose, the more powerful vacuum truck you'll need to finish quickly. If you need to drop 300 feet of hose for a underground parking garage it could take much longer, costing the client more because you didn't bring the right vacuum truck," shares Derrick Lancour, AWS Results Delivery Group leader.

“If you need to drop 300 feet of hose for an underground parking garage or car wash catch basin, it could take much longer to pump, costing the client more, if you don’t have the appropriate vacuum truck,” shares Derrick Lancour, AWS Results Delivery Group leader. 

3) Do catch basins lines also require high pressure water jetting when serviced? Jetting lines will not be necessary if catch basins are serviced and inspected regularly.  The need for jetting is caused by improper or neglected catch basin maintenance.

4) Does only the floating material need to be removed when cleaning a catch basin? Both the floating material and the sludge need to be removed to ensure proper catch basin operation and allow for proper inspection.


“We have clients on a scheduled routine to pump their catch basins. It avoids the last minute call that they are having an overflow and now they don’t have to worry about it,” shares Mara Evans, AWS Results Delivery Group member.

5) Should the water pumped from the catch basin be dumped back into the catch basin – not hauled away?  A catch basin is designed to provide the detention time needed for pollutants to separate from the water.  A vacuum truck is not.  Dumping water from a vacuum truck back into a catch basin should never be done. 

5.5) How should my catch basin waste be recycled or disposed? Federal law mandates that the generator of a waste is always responsible to see that the waste is properly handled.  Waste manifests and legitimate disposal sites should always be used.

To learn more about Advanced Waste Services catch basin cleaning visit our website or call us at 800-842-9792.

Advanced Waste Services | 800-842-9792


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