Melbourne VIC Wide Home & Commercial Drainage Plumber, Pipe Relining & Blocked Drains Specialists

How To Clear A Blocked Stormwater Drain

Stormwater drains play an essential role in managing excess water during heavy rainfall, preventing flooding, and safeguarding our properties. However, when these drains get blocked, it can lead to a myriad of problems, from localised flooding to potential property damage. Below, we’ll guide you on how to recognise and clear blocked stormwater drains, ensuring proper drainage and peace of mind.

Signs of a Blocked Stormwater Drain

A blocked stormwater drain can lead to numerous problems, ranging from minor inconveniences to significant property damage. Recognising the signs of a blockage early on can help you take prompt action to clear the drain and prevent further issues.

Pooling Water

One of the most obvious signs of a blocked stormwater drain is pooling water around the drain grates or in low-lying areas of your property. This stagnant water may appear after rainfall and can indicate that the drain is unable to channel water away from your property effectively.

Slow Drainage

If you notice that the water is draining slowly from sinks, toilets, or other plumbing fixtures within your home or business, it could be a sign of a blocked stormwater drain. A blockage in the main drainage system can cause water to back up and affect the performance of indoor plumbing.

Unpleasant Odours

Blocked stormwater drains can become a breeding ground for bacteria and organic matter, leading to foul odours emanating from the drain grates or nearby areas. If you detect a musty or sewage-like smell around your property, it could indicate a blockage in the stormwater drainage system.

Gurgling Sounds

When water struggles to flow through a blocked drain, it can produce gurgling or bubbling sounds as air becomes trapped in the pipes. If you hear unusual noises coming from your drains or plumbing fixtures, it may be a sign that a blockage is impeding the flow of water.

Visible Debris or Overflow

During periods of heavy rainfall, blocked stormwater drains may cause debris such as leaves, branches, and trash to accumulate around the drain grates. Additionally, you may observe water overflowing from the drain openings, indicating that the drain is unable to handle the volume of water.

Structural Damage

Over time, unchecked blockages in stormwater drains can lead to structural damage to your property. Signs of damage may include cracks in pavement, erosion of soil or landscaping, and water seepage into basements or crawl spaces. Addressing a blocked drain promptly can help mitigate the risk of costly repairs.

Causes of Blocked Stormwater Drain

Blocked stormwater drains can wreak havoc on properties, leading to flooding, water damage, and environmental hazards. Understanding the underlying causes of these blockages is key to implementing effective preventative measures and maintaining optimal drainage systems. 

Accumulation of Debris

One of the most common causes of blocked stormwater drains is the accumulation of debris, such as leaves, branches, trash, and sediment. These materials can accumulate over time, especially during periods of heavy rainfall or windy conditions, obstructing the flow of water through the drain pipes.

Soil Erosion 

Soil erosion is often intensified by improper landscaping practices or construction activities. It can result in the accumulation of sediment within stormwater drains. This sediment can gradually build up over time, narrowing the diameter of the drain pipes and impeding water flow.

Tree Root Intrusion

Tree roots seeking moisture and nutrients can infiltrate stormwater drain pipes through cracks or joints in the piping system. Once inside the pipes, tree roots can cause blockages by trapping debris or expanding as they grow. 

Grease and Oil Build-Up

In urban environments, grease, oil, and other substances discharged from kitchens, industrial facilities, or vehicle maintenance areas can accumulate in stormwater drains. Over time, these substances can solidify and stick to the interior walls of the drain pipes, restricting the flow of water and contributing to blockages.

Structural Defects

Structural defects in stormwater drainage systems, such as misaligned or collapsed pipes, offsets, or deteriorated pipe materials, can impede the proper flow of water and intensify blockages. These defects may result from poor installation, age-related wear and tear, or damage by other external factors.

Improper Disposal of Waste

Improper disposal of waste materials, including plastic bags, bottles, construction debris, and landscaping waste, can contribute to blockages in damaged stormwater drains. When these materials enter the drainage system, they can accumulate and form obstructions that hinder water flow and increase the risk of flooding.

Lack of Maintenance

Neglecting routine maintenance and inspection of stormwater drains can also contribute to blockages over time. Without regular cleaning, debris, sediment, and other contaminants can accumulate unchecked, compromising the functionality and efficiency of the drainage system.

Steps to Unblock a Stormwater Drain

Clearing a blocked stormwater drain requires a combination of specialised skills, knowledge, and equipment that professional plumbers at LCL Plumbing and Drainage possess. While understanding the steps involved in unblocking a stormwater drain can be insightful, it’s essential to recognise the expertise and experience required to tackle such a task effectively. 

Initial Assessment

The first step in unblocking a stormwater drain is conducting a thorough assessment of the drainage system in order to identify the location and severity of the blockage. Professional plumbers use advanced techniques such as CCTV drain inspections to pinpoint the exact cause of the blockage and assess the condition of the drain pipes.

Safety Precaution

Prioritising safety is paramount when dealing with blocked stormwater drains, as exposure to contaminated water and hazardous materials poses significant risks. Professional stormwater plumbers are trained to adhere to strict safety protocols, including wearing protective gear and implementing proper containment measures to minimise exposure to harmful substances.

Specialised Equipment

Professional plumbers have access to various equipment and tools designed specifically for clearing blockages in stormwater drains. From high-pressure water jetters and drain snakes to hydro-excavators and vacuum trucks, these tools enable plumbers to effectively dislodge and remove obstructions without causing damage to the drainage system.

Tailored Solutions

Unlike DIY methods that offer generic solutions to drain blockages, professional plumbers employ customised strategies based on the specific characteristics of the blockage and the condition of the drainage system. Whether it’s hydro-jetting to remove stubborn debris or trenchless pipe relining to repair damaged pipes, professional plumbers deliver tailored solutions that address the root cause of the blockage.

When to Call a Professional Plumber?

When in doubt, don’t hesitate to contact LCL Plumbing and Drainage to diagnose and resolve plumbing issues promptly and effectively. While many plumbing issues can be addressed with DIY solutions or temporary fixes, there are times when it’s best to leave the job to the professionals. Recognizing when to call a professional plumber can save you time, money, and frustration in the long run, preventing potential damage to your property and ensuring the problem is resolved effectively.


LCL Plumbing & Drainage


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