A culvert is a tunnel that runs beside (or under) a road or driveway. Culverts allow the continued flow of storm runoff water to a place where it can collect and drain into a larger drain system or into the ground.

Over time, culverts tend to fill up and become blocked with both natural debris, such as grass, weeds and leaves, and trash. Silt accumulates and can also cause severe drainage issues. Damage to roads and driveways quickly occur when culvert’s drainage flow is reduced by 20%.

Routine inspections and culvert maintenance are important to avoiding flooding. Removing silt, organic debris, trash, vegetation and wood should be included in culvert maintenance. Culvert inlets and outlets should be inspected for signs of deterioration, damage or soil erosion around the culvert diameter. Damage in this area can indicate more serious problems and require civil engineering professionals to shore-up or reset the culvert.

A common method to unclog a culvert is to use a pressure washer or hydro jetting to blast the flow-disrupting materials out with water. A vacuum truck with a water system can remove the water and dislodged debris after unclogging, then take the slurry and debris for recycling elsewhere.