Why Catch Basins and Manholes Fail in Parking Lots | BlueSky Paving

Why Catch Basins and Manholes Fail in Parking Lots

Written By: BlueSky Paving


Catch basins, AKA Storm Drains, deteriorate and fail due to a myriad of reasons. Sometimes they are installed incorrectly, but most often their failure is a slow, easy to control degradation. As with everything else in your parking lot, the elements, especially water and ice, are the main contributing factors.

The Catch Basin is designed to catch and usher away water from your parking lot. Interestingly while it is designed to deal with water, that does not necessarily mean it will not be damaged by water over time.

There are several ways in which water can cause problems

  • While this may seem counterintuitive from the outside, when the joints between your asphalt and catch basin are not sealed, regular water is able to infiltrate along outside. This is often not noticed for long periods of time, allowing slow but progressive deterioration.
  • For onsite built instead of precast concrete structures, water often seeps in between the blocks and bricks used in the construction process, the mortar joints degrade and eventually collapse, this is especially true in areas of the country with heavy freeze thaw cycles.
  • If your structures are pre-cast or concrete, you are not out of the woods. More times than not, bricks and mortar are used to adjust the top or “Casting” of the structure to match the parking surface. These adjustment bricks normally fail first, just like a block-built unit.
  • When the bricks, blocks or mortar fail, the frame and grate begin to sink to sink and eventually collapse under the stress weight from traffic.

Failed or collapsed catch basins are an extreme liability.  Not only to vehicular traffic but to pedestrians as well.  Immediate repair is required.

There is a way to avoid these issues

BlueSky highly recommends a yearly inspection of all structures.  Most failures (and expense) can be mitigated by a simple inspection and maintenance program.

Due to confined space issues and safety issues with this work, a qualified contractor should perform this work for you!

  • Check for damaged pavement around the outside of the structure
    • Look for cracks, signs of sinking, or missing asphalt
    • Any sinking should be investigated further to the source to assure proper repair
    • Seal and cracks and refresh joint sealing
  • Look for damage to the casting (iron grates or covers) replace as necessary.
  • Inspect the inside of the structure
    • Special attention should be given to any adjustment brinks. Any cracks or evident failures should be repaired quickly.
    • Repair any joints with pipe or penetrations
  • Clean out all debris and dirt.