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Stormwater Drainage Catch Basin Maintenance

Stormwater Drainage Catch Basin Maintenance

Tropical Storm Eta negatively impacted South Florida with unprecedented heavy rains during the second week in November 2020 saturating the ground resulting in severe street flooding unsafe for vehicles and pedestrians. There was prolonged street flooding from the accumulation of stormwater located at several catch basins along Imperial Point Drive, the main entrance into and through our community. Several catch basins were observed to be ineffective because the stormwater was not draining into them, but rather appeared to be only serving as a stormwater holding tank.

There are essentially two types of stormwater drainage systems, a positive stormwater drainage system and an exfiltration (French drain) stormwater drainage system, both collect stormwater into their respective catch basin type structures. The positive stormwater drainage system collects and conveys the stormwater by gravity through a pipe manifolding into a collector pipe and eventually drains to an outfall pollution control structure where the stormwater is discharged into a waterway or dry retention area. The exfiltration storm drain system also collects stormwater, but is confined to an “on-site” disposal slotted pipe system allowing the stormwater to exfiltrate through the slotted pipe and into exfiltration rock and finally exiting through filter fabric where the stormwater percolates down by gravity into the existing groundwater.

Storm Drain Catch Basin
This storm drain requires maintenance to restore its exfiltration.

The exfiltration stormwater drainage system is the type of system generally used in the Imperial Point neighborhood and is less expensive to construct than the positive drainage system, but requires more maintenance to extend its service life. The maintenance to the exfiltration drainage system is not limited to vacuuming out debris, but also requires the exfiltration components (slotted pipe; exfiltration rock and filtration fabric) to be periodically cleaned/replaced when they become clogged with debris and ineffective to drain the stormwater out of the structure.

As shown in the photographs, the standing stormwater accumulates and ponds in the catch basins for weeks making an ideal mosquito breeding area. The City needs to clean these clogged storm drain systems out and consider installing inverted baffles inside the catch basin structures in areas where debris has been a continuous maintenance problem. The inverted baffles will reduce the amount of floatable debris responsible for clogging the slotted pipe; exfiltration rock and filter fabric to extend the service life of same.

Clogged catch basins with standing water allow mosquitoes to breed.

Residents also need to do their part by refraining from placing debris on or inside these drainage structures as this is not only a City Code violation, but will eventually cause the stormwater exfiltration storm drain to become ineffective resulting in street flooding. The City has initiated an “Adopt-A-Drain” program for Imperial Point neighborhood for residents by creating an account at or by contacting Terry Deloney at

Debris on the storm drain catch basin
Residents should avoid piling debris on top of storm drain catch basins.

Residents should contact the City’s Customer Service at 954-828-8000 to report any stormwater catch basins unable to remove street flooding a few days after a rain event so Maintenance Crews can be scheduled to inspect and clean out debris as necessary.     

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