What to Consider when Designing Drainage Plans for Recreational Facilities


Creating the perfect public recreational area requires thoughtful planning and careful consideration. You need to work closely with the area’s owner to come up with a design that is not only beautiful, but functional and welcoming to people of all ages.

Since these are mainly outdoor areas that people use all year, you also need to ensure that they have protection from some of the more damaging elements, such as rain and snow. These puddles can create a dangerous and slippery surface and, over time, begin to erode the ground it sits on.

To prevent this, there are special considerations to keep in mind when it comes time to come up with the right drainage plan.

Consider the Possible Options

First, you want to consider the different options available when it comes to choosing the right drain system. There are many different options, but two stand out above the rest for public recreational areas.

There are trench drains, which are a standard option and consist of a large trench covered by a heavy grate. Water runoff gets collected and moved to a specified drain point. While not overly expensive, these drains require more maintenance and replacing grates every few years can become costly.

Then there is Slot Drain, which is a more modern, cost-effective, and versatile drainage option that has possible applications in any recreational area. This system is similar to a trench drain, but it is much thinner in profile and does not require a grate. It has stainless steel, or galvanized steel options, set in place by concrete. Slot Drains are also incredibly strong, durable, and easy to clean and maintain.

Consider Where it is Going

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With the different options in mind, you need to consider what would be best for your specific project, which means carefully considering the sort of recreational area you are creating. This includes the intended use and exactly what sort of foot traffic it will get.

Will there be a large field that requires a lot of water to keep it green? Or will it have permeable pavers or concrete, like a courtyard or playground?

Also, consider if the area has a water feature or is near a body of water like a lake or river. If that is the case, it is essential to choose a recreation facility drainage system that can handle large amounts of water should a storm cause water levels to rise.

Accessibility and Safety are Key

Accessibility and safety are essential part of any design, especially when it comes to public recreational areas that are for everyone. A drainage system may not sound like it can affect the accessibility of an area, but it can. So, it is important not to forget about ensuring the recreational area is easily accessible for all types of people.

Due to the grates they require, trench drains have a somewhat raised profile, which, while not unmanageable, can make moving around more difficult for those using wheelchairs, rollators, and walkers. This issue can worsen should the grate covering the trench crack and break, also making it a serious safety hazard for children. If someone were to become injured due to a broken grate, the recreational area owner could find themselves with a lawsuit on hand.

Require Minimal Maintenance

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A final consideration is the level of maintenance a recreational facility drainage system requires. While the owner of the recreation area will likely have an assigned crew for maintaining the recreation area, it should not need an excessive amount to keep it working correctly.

Trench drains take a lot of time to maintain. First, workers must remove the grate—which is very heavy—so that they can clean the trench itself. Then, the grate can get washed and put back into place.

Slot Drains Above the Rest

When it comes down to it, the Slot Drain system is a much more versatile and durable option and is perfect for any recreational area. It is an ADA-compliant system and the narrow channel opening makes it impossible for things like walker legs to get caught in the opening or things to fall into it.

Additionally, eliminating the grate, it helps to save a great deal on maintenance costs as grates require replacing every few years as they become worn and break, and other costs as well. Overall, Slot Drains offer a great price for a durable drainage system that looks beautiful without sacrificing functionality and will last for years to come.

Selecting the right recreational facility drainage system to complete your project is not difficult. But, it does require some thought and consideration. As you and the recreation area’s owner decide between the trench and Slot Drains, keep these things in mind, and weight the pros and cons of each. But, for durability and seamless integration, Slot Drain is the way to go.

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