Catch Basins and Your Asphalt Parking Lot: What You Need to Know

The long-term durability of asphalt makes it an ideal surfacing material for parking lots, and asphalt parking lots usually require very little maintenance. However, if your parking lot’s catch basins are in poor condition, the resulting damage and drainage problems can turn your smooth asphalt surface into a cracked, crumbling nightmare.
Replace a badly damaged catch basin as quickly as possible with professional contractors. Failing to act swiftly can lead to extensive damages that could cost thousands of dollars to repair.

What Are Catch Basins And Why Are They Important?

Catch basins are very similar to the storm drains at the side of public roads, and the two terms are often used interchangeably. However, while storm drains contain simple subterranean drains that funnel water towards public sewer systems, catch basins also contain special collection boxes, which prevent solid debris from entering and clogging the drain.

Catch basins in asphalt parking lots are usually near the parking lot’s center line and are slightly recessed so water will flow towards them more readily. These simple structures are an essential part of any parking lot’s drainage infrastructure and will protect your lot against asphalt’s greatest enemy — standing water.

Small cracks and other minor imperfections in the asphalt surface can allow standing water to seep down into the parking lot’s base and subbase, which are made from compacted aggregates. These aggregate bases have excellent load-bearing strength, but they are also very vulnerable to erosion from water.

As more water seeps through the asphalt surface, this erosion can worsen to the point where sections of the base and subbase may collapse, causing severe damage to the asphalt above. This problem can be even more serious in winter. As water caught in the base freezes, it expands, placing serious stress on the surrounding aggregates and asphalt.

Should You Replace Your Catch Basins?

If you frequently find puddles of standing water on your parking lot surface after heavy rains, clogged catch basins may be the culprit. If you don’t regularly empty your catch basins’ collection boxes, the accumulated debris they collect may start to overflow, causing blockages in the drains beneath your parking lot.

However, if emptying your catch basins does not solve your standing water problems, the fault may lie with the catch basins themselves. If standing water collects around a clogged catch basin for extended periods, the base and subbase beneath the basin will erode and collapse, causing the basin to sink into the ground.

Once a catch basin starts to collapse in this way, it will almost certainly need replacing. Collapsed catch basins are a dangerous trip hazard for pedestrians and can seriously damage any vehicles that drive over them, leaving you open to expensive lawsuits. Sinking basins also place significant stress on the surrounding asphalt or concrete, which can cause extensive cracking problems.

How Do You Replace a Collapsed Catch Basin?

To replace a collapsed catch basin, remove the asphalt or concrete surrounding it and fully excavate and replace the remaining base and subbase beneath. You can then install a new catch basin. You must also resurface any cracked asphalt or concrete surrounding the catch basin (for minor cracks) or replace those materials (for serious cracks).

This isn’t exactly a DIY weekend job, so always call a professional paving service that specializes in parking lot repair for catch basin replacement. If your catch basin originally failed because of poor placement or design, a professional service will also be able to offer advice on where to install replacement basins, helping you avoid future problems.

If your collapsed catch basin did not have a concrete support collar, you may want to install one with the replacement basin. Installing a concrete collar will make your new basin more expensive but will significantly improve the basin’s structural strength, reducing the risk of future collapses.

If you have any more queries about catch basins for asphalt parking lots, contact the paving experts at JR Paving & Construction Co., Inc., for impartial and professional advice.