Keep your path drainage system flowing!

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Poor drainage is the cause of many path problems. Failure of a well designed and built drainage system due to lack of maintenance may well result in damage to path surface requiring expensive repairs. Unsurprisingly, drainage systems do require regular maintenance in order to keep them functioning properly.

ditchIt's good path management practice to produce and adopt a maintenance schedule for the drainage system as well as the path surface and other related infrastructure such as gates, seating, etc. This schedule should consist of inspection checks and a list of planned regular maintenance tasks. Most importantly, it should say when and how frequently both inspection checks and maintenance tasks are carried out.

Problems from drainage system failure can be more noticeable and damaging during wet weather, so inspection checks and maintenance tasks should be planned with this in mind.

Inspection checks and maintenance tasks for drainage systems can include the following:

  • Check and clear silt, leaf litter and other debris in ditches, at entrances and outfall ends of drainage features and on stone surface of french drains and filter drains. Dispose of arisings carefully. Ensure it doesn't end up back in a ditch or drainage feature!
  • Check for standing water on stone surface of french drains and filter drains indicating a blockage. If installed, empty the silt trap and unblock the pipe. If there is no silt trap and the pipe can not be unblocked, replace drain stone and blocked pipe, and install a silt trap in the blocked area to prevent it happening again.
  • Check for scouring or erosion at outfall ends of drainage features. Remove any obstructions that may be restricting water flowing out.
  • Check for scouring of ditch bottom and undercutting of side walls. Remove any obstructions that may be restricting water flow along the ditch. Regrade bottom of ditch where water is standing and not flowing. Widen and re-batter side walls where undercutting has occurred or is likely, until stable.

For more in-depth information about maintenance, the 'Lowland Paths Guide' covers all aspects of maintenance planning, schedules, inspection checks and maintenance tasks. To find out more read here.

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