Unlike other parts of the world, most of us in WA basically live on sand hills, so dealing with stormwater in strata properties is relatively straight forward. We simply direct the water into carpark soakwells so that it can eventually drain away, thus meeting our obligation to manage and retain stormwater within the boundaries of our property. Out of sight and for most of us, out of mind.
The challenge for carparks is that debris, dirt, rubbish, leaves and sand can make its way into the soakwell such that eventually the soakwell can no longer receive and hold a significant volume of stormwater while it drains into the subsoil. The net effect can be that the storm water is no longer contained within the soakwell. Downside flooding and significant damage can occur to both the strata property but also neighbouring properties.
Important to note that many stormwater carpark drains may be interconnected.
So a key part of every maintenance plan for WA Strata properties is to have the carpark stormwater drains checked and cleaned at regular intervals.
One of the most popular and efficient ways of cleaning a carpark drain is through the use of hydro jet vacuums mounted on trucks which use high pressure water jets to dislodge the dirt and then vacuum up the sludge for disposal off site. You have probably seen the council trucks cleaning the street drains. Well basically the same processes need to be applied to strata carpark drains.
Not only can the soakwells be cleaned but also the stormwater pipes can be cleaned as well.
The net results (before and after on the same drain). Nice clean soakwells, with double the capacity ready for the next storm.
The metal grates that sit on top of the soak wells are just as important. Why – the grates stop people and cars from falling into the soakwell!
But here is the news, they do not last forever. They are made out of steel, they rust and corrode and eventually they fail. Not only will the grate fail but so will the steel frames that they sit in. So the whole top of the soakwell may need to be replaced from time to time. The grates on the soakwell covers need to be kept in a good working condition, they need to be easily opened and closed without causing damage. Eventually they may need to be replaced. Replacing the lids generally involves lifting the surrounding bitumen or concrete, and replacing the entire top of the soakwell lid which houses the steel grate and then replacing the lid, grate and bitumen or concrete.
The costs of cleaning out a carpark soakwell can vary given a number of different factors, hence quotes will eventually need to be obtained. However, from a high level budging perspective, budget about $750 per drain on a 10 drain site or circa $7,500. How often you need to clean the soakwells will depend on the site. Soakwells subject to high levels of sand and debris may need to be cleaned every 5 – 7 years. Others may extent out to 10 – 15 years.
Car park soakwells. Out of sight and often out of mind but very important to protect strata property, strata owners, visitors and exotic cars that may park in the strata carpark.
Houspect 5 Year Strata Maintenance Plans take into consideration strata carpark drain maintenance.
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