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Driveway Drain Debris Clog

Alas, the nice slotted cap I put on the driveway drain can’t handle the amount of debris released by the trees next to the house and above the gutters. I’d removed the thumbscrew to simplify clearing the cap whenever I go for the mail, but that just accentuated the problem:

Driveway drain - fountain

Driveway drain – fountain

The backup must be over a foot of water at the end of the pipe; that fountain emerges from the 1/4 inch hole for the thumbscrew. Fortunately, the slope is large enough that the water (probably) isn’t backing up into the retaining wall footing drain.

When the pine trees toss their dead needles overboard, the cap plugs solid and, minus the screw, blows across the driveway:

Driveway drain - clogged

Driveway drain – clogged

It usually doesn’t roll very far, although I’ve retrieved it halfway to the street.

I still think the chipmunks will move in without a grate blocking the pipe, but I’m unsure how to proceed…

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  1. #1 by Red County Pete on 2013-09-07 - 16:31

    Hmm, is this a job for a gutter clearing robot? [grin]

    Pine needles in the gutters are one of the reasons we’ve cleared trees away from the house (the fire danger is the prime one, but de-needling gutters never was enjoyable). I’ve got a couple drain lines from the back of the big garage to the driveway (50 foot run), and I’ll let the chippies set up shop in the line. Come October, the rains send the eviction notice. These are perf-pipe lines, so junk won’t cause too much trouble, anyway.

    Costco has a “leaf-proof” gutter vendor at the store west of the Cascades, but I’ve not seen 6″ Ponderosa pine needles willing to play by oak-leaf rules.

    • #2 by Ed on 2013-09-07 - 18:00

      a gutter clearing robot

      The good folks at iRobot actually sell a gutter-cleaning robot called the Looj, which has the fatal flaw of not being able to go around corners. Our house has a full hip roof with a continuous gutter sporting six outside and two inside corners. I like the idea, but … the only section that really needs the robot is two stories over the flower garden & retaining wall. [sigh]

      Being mildly acrophobic, the gutters get cleared twice a year, tops, whether they need it or not. They always do, alas, but it gives me a chance to survey the roof, so it’s not entirely a Bad Thing to get up there once in a while.

      • #3 by Red County Pete on 2013-09-07 - 19:41

        Got the same t-shirt, but the house pitch is pretty low, and the barn and garage roofs are both too spooky to climb outside (metal roofs, 5 in 12 pitch). Haven’t had to get up on the house roof in a few years, but it’s easy enough to inspect from the deck. (I have a gutter on the barn by the man door, but the trees are a long ways away. No such luck with the garage.)

        I still need to get chunks of insulation in the trusses in the barn. I tried stacking some staging once, and after trying with 2 lifts (needed 3 plus a step ladder), farmed out that job. I’m thinking of some kind of library tong to do the job from a lower height. Either that, or recreate “Waldos”…

  2. #4 by david on 2013-09-08 - 03:22

    I suggest a couple of electrodes and a high current HV source … but i might be a horrible person.

    • #5 by Ed on 2013-09-08 - 08:19

      Early on, I aimed the 8 hp leaf blower into the pipe… it blew the inspection cap off the far end of the tube, so it might launch the chippies to the moon. Alas, there’s no access to the far end of the wall footing drain tube, which is where I’m sure they’d set up housekeeping.

  3. #6 by Brent on 2013-09-08 - 10:05

    Some kind of a flap setup?

    • #7 by Ed on 2013-09-08 - 14:20

      Sort of like an inverse cat flap: it keeps the chipmunks out.

      I can’t think of anything that would open for water that wouldn’t also get jammed open with debris.

      Obviously, I’m overthinking this whole situation…

      • #8 by Red County Pete on 2013-09-08 - 18:01

        I still suspect the rains will correct the chippie issue, but that’s me. Dunno if your topography allows this, but consider daylighting the drain pipe above the jumping distance of the critters. I found the locals can clear 18″ or so, so you’d probably need 24″. I’d lay a flagstone or concrete paver for the water to splash against and call it good. Label it as a scale model of the Alaskan Pipeline and call it yard-art. [grin] (Have I mentioned, it’s been a weird day?)

        • #9 by Ed on 2013-09-08 - 18:06

          the locals can clear 18″ or so

          These critters show no signs of respect for cherry tomatoes high off the ground and climb up two feet straight up the side of a bare plastic pipe, so I’m thinking they’d walk along the top of the pipe and do a reverse flip to get inside, all sporting a mouthful of grass for a nest.

          They’re cute, but very determined…

        • #10 by Red County Pete on 2013-09-08 - 23:58

          I found the hard way they don’t swim worth a darn (the 18″ was a kiddie pool, and the jumper couldn’t get out of the 12″ of water). I don’t suppose you want a moat…

          • #11 by Ed on 2013-09-09 - 07:57

            One sprinted over the side of the patio, landed in a 5 gallon bucket of rainwater, and discovered that it couldn’t climb up the inside…

            Just what I need: a pool with a fountain in the middle!

  4. #12 by Jim R on 2013-09-09 - 21:53

    How about extending with perforated or slotted pipe the pipe a few feet along the edge of the driveway. Face the openings up and reinstall the grate at the end. The debris could run along the solid bottom of the pipe until it slams into the cap, then you get multiple fountains…

    • #13 by Ed on 2013-09-10 - 08:08

      perforated or slotted pipe

      Now that seems workable!

      Upstream of that elbow lies ten feet of pipe to the Y connection where the downspout drain joins the wall footing drain. Perhaps install a section of perforated pipe in that length, cast a concrete slab abutting the driveway to prevent erosion, and it would Just Work. I’m pretty sure I can do all that without a trace of 3D printing or CNC. [grin]

      Great idea… thanks!

      • #14 by Jim R on 2013-09-11 - 21:59

        It really sounds too simple. I think with enough effort, we could come up with something like this:
        http://fieldexpedientrepair.com/2013/09/11/plumbing-condos/

        • #15 by Ed on 2013-09-12 - 07:54

          One of those must be the vent stack, but … which one? Or could it be the off-page connector vanishing to the front right from that elbow joint?

          My vote: plumbed themselves into a corner.

          Did that myself, once, installing a pair of heating oil tanks: there was no combination of commercial fittings that would join the two, so I sawed-and-welded a thing with the proper threads at the appropriate angles. For all I know, it’s still there today…