Generally, it is up to the local city or municipality to clean storm drains, but individuals can use their hands or a rake to remove leaves, sticks, dirt and debris that collect on the grate leading into the storm drain system. Individuals should only attempt to clean out this catch basin and not the storm drain itself.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, storm drain systems need to be cleaned regularly to reduce the amount of trash, debris and other pollutants in both the storm drain system and the receiving waters. In most cases, the municipality hires a plumbing service to clean the drain, which is done by flushing water through the system to remove trapped sediment and debris.
If the storm drain system is not regularly cleaned, it may cause the drains and inlets to become clogged. This can cause the system to overflow, which leads to increased erosion in the area. Regular flushing of the storm drain system helps to increase the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water and reduces the levels of bacteria.
Although flushing is the recommended method for cleaning storm drains, there are still limitations to this method, as it is more effective in pipes less than 36 inches in diameter and when the length of the line being cleaned is less than 700 feet.