How to Clean a Blocked Stormwater Drain


Cleaning a blocked stormwater drain is crucial to maintaining a healthy and safe environment. Stormwater drains are vital in preventing flooding and ensuring proper water flow. However, blockages can occur due to debris, sediment, and other substances. Plumbers use different tools and substances, such as drain snakes and chemicals, to address this. Read this guide to learn how to safely and effectively perform stormwater drain cleaning.

What is a Stormwater Drain?

"Stormwater drain" refers to a system of pipes and channels designed to collect and release rainwater and other stormwater runoff from hard surfaces like streets, parking lots, and buildings. It is a crucial component of urban drainage systems, helping to prevent flooding and maintain water quality by directing excess water away from buildings and infrastructure.

What You Need

This section will discuss the items you will need to clean a blocked stormwater drain effectively before you start.

Drain Snake or Auger

The best way to clear a drain of obstructions is to place a long, flexible rod—also called an auger—down it.

Why It's Important: This tool is essential for reaching deep into the drain and breaking up stubborn blockages.

How to Use: Drain snakes or augers work by inserting them into clogged drains and then rotating them to loosen the debris.


A plunger is a handheld device that creates suction to dislodge blockages.

Why It's Important: A plunger clears blockages in the drain's immediate area.

How to Use: Position the plunger directly over your drain. Abruptly push it down to create the section. Lift the plunger to dislodge the blockage. Repeat as needed.

Broom and Dustpan

You can use a broom and a dustpan to remove debris from the drain cover.

Why It's Important: Removing debris from the drain cover ensures the drain can function properly.

How to Use: Use the broom to sweep away debris, then use the dustpan to collect and dispose of the debris.

Drain Cleaning Chemicals

If you want to pour something down the drain, drain-cleaning chemicals can dissolve grease and other blockages.

Why It's Important: These chemicals are essential for breaking stubborn blockages.

How to Use: Apply the chemicals according to the manufacturer's instructions and let them sit for the recommended time before flushing the drain.

Steps to Clean Blocked Stormwater Drain

Cleaning a blocked stormwater drain requires a step-by-step approach to remove the blockage effectively. In this section, we will outline the necessary steps.

1. Remove debris from the drain cover. Clear the drain cover of leaves or other debris using a broom and dustpan.

2. Insert the drain snake or auger into the drain and rotate it to break up any blockages.

3. Use the plunger to create suction and dislodge any remaining blockages.

4. Apply drain cleaning chemicals if grease or other substances cause the blockage. The combination will help dissolve the blockage.

5. Flush the drain with water to ensure the drain freely flows after you clear the blockage.


You should consider several factors when cleaning a blocked stormwater drain to ensure a safe and effective cleanup.

1. Safety Precautions. Always wear protective gear, such as gloves and safety glasses, when cleaning a blocked stormwater drain.

2. Power Outage. If you previously connected the drain to a power source, turn off the electricity to avoid electrical shocks.

3. Drain Size. To avoid damaging the pipe, ensure you have the right size of drain snake or auger for your stormwater drain.

Additional Tips

In addition to the measures already mentioned, there are a few more suggestions for keeping your stormwater drain clear and unobstructed, which you can find below.

1. Regular Maintenance. Regularly cleaning your stormwater drain can help prevent blockages from occurring.

2. Check for Damage. Inspect your stormwater drain frequently for damage. Repair or replace as needed.

3. Preventive Measures. Consider installing a drain screen or filter to catch debris before it enters the drain.

Frequently Asked Questions About Blocked Storm Drain Cleaning

What chemicals should I use to unblock stormwater drains?

Drain-cleaning chemicals dissolve grease and other blockages.

What do plumbers use to unblock drains?

Plumbers use various tools and techniques, depending on the extent of blockage they must deal with. These tools and techniques include drain snakes, plungers, and drain-cleaning chemicals.

What do plumbers recommend for clogged drains?

Plumbers recommend using various tools and techniques, including drain snakes, plungers, and drain-cleaning chemicals.

Are baking soda and vinegar drain cleaners safe to leave in the drain all night?

Yes, the vinegar and baking soda mixture left in the drain all night should not cause harm to your drainage system.

Will baking soda and vinegar damage PVC pipes?

No, baking soda and vinegar are safe to use on PVC pipes.

Get Your Stormwater Drain Flowing Freely with All Needs Plumbing

For all your plumbing needs, trust All Needs Plumbing. Rest easy knowing that our licensed professionals will clean your stormwater drain thoroughly and efficiently with our expert services. We offer a $0 callout fee, $150 off hot water systems, a 15% discount for seniors, and 24/7 same-day services. Contact us today to schedule your appointment and get your stormwater drain flowing freely.

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