|Some of us are blessed with a catch
in the street in front of our homes. Especially if the street
slopes, the catch basin opening acts like a sieve. Trash washed
down the street by heavy rains will flow into the catch basin through the curbcut and get
trapped atop the catch basin
opening. Okay, so street debris (as much as we did not put it
there) is just a normal part of home
However, after decades of debris washing into the opening, the catch
will eventually fill up. How do you know when it's a
When the water rushing down the street during a rainstorm flows on top
of the grate and past the curb cut opening to the catch basin as if it
weren't there. That's when it's time to
call Boston Water & Sewer to request a cleanout.
In a couple days a catch basin truck will arrive. They will need
full access to the street on both sides of the opening. The
cleanout truck will need to park to the outside of the opening but
located where the boom (also known as the scooper) has access to enter
the hole for the cleanout.
Boston Water & Sewer trucks are not gigantic but they are big
enough to block the street to larger trucks such as oil delivery,
especially if parked cars block the other side of the street.
In approximately 30 minutes, you will wonder how you could have waited
so long to make the phone call. Cleanout complete!
Note: Cleanout occurred in front of 15 Monadnock St, Dorchester.
The Operations Department of Boston Water
and Sewer sent out Chris Gleason, a seasoned professional, who knows
how to operate the controls of the catch basin truck like he was
playing a piano. The first step is usually to obtain clear access
to the catch basin opening, then to remove the grate, exposing the
debris inside. |
And unlike the normal lay person who takes things apart then can't
figure out how to reassemble, Chris first sprayed a corner of the grate
blue so that he could reorient the grate properly at the close of the
Working the boom is dangerous especially for bystanders and even for
Chris. If he weren't properly trained, the boom could easily land
where it shouldn't. The boom is very heavy in its trajectory
state and acts like a plunger, digging deep into the "catch basin
muck" when the controls allow it to drop. Once inside, the
operator can open the scooping arms out, then down and close to pull
out a full take of the "delicious" catch basin gold.|
At the beginning of the cleanout, the scooper sat "high" because the
opening was so full. As the cleanout progressed, most of the larger
debris (which tends to float to the top) had been removed and what
remained was more silt-like.
The boom truck is the size of a normal dump truck but during the
cleanout operation must sit to the outside of the catch basin.
Along with cars parked along the opposite side of the street, that
makes for a narrow passing width. No cars had problems but a
Poland Springs truck had to back all the way down the street. |
It's not until the amount of accumulated muck inside the catch basin is high
enough that the water no longer filters down into the storm drain fast
enough during a heavy rain. So you can wait a long time before
you call for help. However, the catch basin is there for a purpose, so if
you see it not functioning properly, you should call Boston Water & Sewer right away.
Photos show the scooper up high at the beginning of the cleanout, lower
in the opening as the cleanout progressed. "So how do you know when
you are done?" Chris listens for the sound of the boom "hitting
bottom." That's when he knows that he's almost done.
the curb cut on the inside of the catch basin opening. This is
how most of the street debris enters the catch basin.
Tme to call it a day. Chris uses the boom to hook the grate and lower
it back onto the catch basin opening, properly oriented. Good job,
time - heavy rain falls on the evening of the cleanout. You can see
the reflection in the water on the inside. That contrasts with the
"dry" look of the freshly cleaned out catch basin above.|