What Are the Two Types of Drainage Systems?

When it comes to managing excess water and preventing flooding drainage systems play a crucial role. There are two main types of drainage systems that are commonly used in both residential and commercial settings – surface drainage and subsurface drainage.

Surface Drainage System

A surface drainage system is designed to remove excess water from the ground surface. This type of system typically includes the following components –
  • Grates or catch basins – These are used to collect water from the surface and direct it towards the drainage pipes.
  • Drainage pipes – These pipes are installed underground and carry the collected water away from the property.
  • Outfalls – The drainage pipes lead to outfalls which are openings that allow the water to drain away from the property and into a larger body of water like a river or lake.
Surface drainage systems are essential for preventing water buildup on pavement driveways and roads. Without proper drainage standing water can lead to safety hazards infrastructure damage and erosion.

Subsurface Drainage System

A subsurface drainage system is installed underground to remove excess water from the soil. This type of system typically consists of the following components –
  • Perforated drainage pipes – These pipes are buried underground and are designed to collect excess water from the soil.
  • Drainage trenches – Trenches are dug along the perimeter of the property to accommodate the drainage pipes.
  • Drainage outlets – The perforated pipes lead to drainage outlets that allow the water to flow out of the system.
Subsurface drainage systems are particularly useful in areas with high water tables or clay soils that can become waterlogged. By removing excess water from the soil these systems help to prevent soil erosion foundation damage and wet basements. What Are the Two Types of Drainage Systems?

Key Differences Between Surface and Subsurface Drainage Systems

While both types of drainage systems serve the same purpose of removing excess water there are some key differences between surface and subsurface drainage –
  • Surface drainage systems are visible and typically installed above ground making them easier to maintain and inspect. In contrast subsurface drainage systems are hidden underground making them more challenging to access for repairs.
  • Surface drainage systems are effective at removing water from paved surfaces while subsurface drainage systems are better suited for removing water from the soil.
  • Surface drainage systems are more susceptible to clogging from debris and sediment whereas subsurface drainage systems are less likely to experience blockages.
  • Surface drainage systems are often used in conjunction with landscaping features like swales and berms to manage water flow while subsurface drainage systems rely solely on underground pipes to drain water.
What Are the Two Types of Drainage Systems? Both surface and subsurface drainage systems play a vital role in managing excess water and preventing flooding. By understanding the differences between these two types of drainage systems property owners can make informed decisions about which system is best suited for their specific needs. Whether it’s redirecting water from pavement or removing waterlogged soil having an effective drainage system in place is essential for maintaining the integrity of properties and preventing water damage.