Facebook Pixel

The Fascinating Science of Drainage Systems

Have you ever been curious about drainage systems and how they work? After all, drainage is an integral part of our everyday lives.

Every homeowner likely owns water fixtures and facilities that dispense and drain water. However, where does the liquid flow after flushing your toilet or draining your bathtub? 

Think about it.

If water only seeps through the soil within your premises, HOA will likely tag your property as a health hazard. But that’s not the case now, is it?

Knowing the science behind underground drainage systems is essential to homeowners and property managers. Aside from understanding the drainage process better, it enables them to make informed decisions regarding future repairs or replacements.

Remember: your drain pipe system connects to an entire network of pipelines. In other words, a minor hitch from your end can cascade into a bigger problem for the community.

Understanding your drainage system can prevent this from happening. Keep reading if you’re interested in learning more.

What are Drainage Systems_What are Drainage Systems?

The drainage system is a network of pipes that conveys rainwater, sewage and other liquid waste to a disposal point. The destination could either be direct to the sewer system or septic tank. Drainage systems are meant to collect and remove wastewater from the property’s premises.

Drainage systems begin at the household, which means homeowners are responsible for maintenance and management. This complex pipeline system then connects with neighbors, neighboring towns and cities’ drainage plumbing, preventing floods.

As mentioned above, drainage systems are temporary and require regular maintenance. Have your drain lines checked before a problem arises!

Drain Magic repairs and replaces outdoor drain lines without any property damage. This is made possible through remote robotics and modern materials that other sewer repair companies lack. From replacing busted pipes to installations, expect no outdoor damage to your lawn, walkways or rose bushes.

Contact us today to book a drainage system inspection, repair or replacement.

How Does a Residential Drainage System Work?

All wastewater drained from fixtures and rainwater collected by gutters flows into adjacent rivers. Sounds pretty simple at first glance, right?

From a surface perspective, the process looks straightforward. However, it gets complicated once we examine the pipe networks closely. That’s why drainage systems must be designed, constructed and installed correctly to ensure effectiveness.

Here, we’ll look at how the drainage system works from two perspectives: sewer drainage and stormwater drainage.

Sewer Drainage System

When people use water fixtures, the water flows down the household’s main drain until it reaches the sewers. Sewage and other wastewaters rush into sewage treatment plants that undergo several treatments before getting released to the nearby river.

Here are the components that make this process possible:


You can find P-traps beneath your sink, bathtubs and other water fixtures. As the name suggests, a P-trap forms a curved section of the pipe, creating the letter P. This component holds standing water, preventing smelly sewer gases from rising and polluting your home.

Toilet Traps

Toilet traps serve the same function as P-traps but are often located at the toilet’s base.

Soil Stack and Soil Stack Vent

Soil stacks are vertical pipes located outside of a house, transporting sewage and wastewater downward to the sewers. You will find the soil stack vent at the opposite end of a soil stack. This is where toxic fumes and pressures are released so sewage can move freely.

Main Drain LineMain Drain Line

Your household’s main drain line connects your home’s drainage system to the municipal sewer system. Usually, they run beneath your home’s foundation slab.

However, some locations need more municipal services and sewage plants. In this case, the main drain leads to a septic tank instead. Here, the liquids and solids get separated, and the fluid flows to a leach field which the ground naturally filters.

Stormwater Drainage System

Not all water from your household comes from the drains. When it rains, it is also your responsibility to keep rainwater managed. This is where these two components come in:

Gutter Systems

Rainwater that falls on a house’s roof is collected by a shallow trough called gutters. You often find them outlining your roof to collect the rainfall and divert them in the proper drain.


The water from the gutter flows downwards through the downspouts. Most homeowners extend a five-foot pipe from the downpipes to move moisture away from the household. Eventually, the rainwater seeps and leaches naturally into the soil and back to the rivers.

Other homeowners add a water-collecting basin to use the collected rainwater for non-drinking purposes like watering plants.

4 Types of Residential Drainage Systems

Here are the four types of drainage systems you may often find in residential areas:

Surface Drainage System

Surface drainage systems are the most common drainage system used in homes. This drainage system uses gutters, downpipes and trenches to collect and channel surface water away from the property. The system allows water to flow safely, avoiding flooding and pooling, leading to soil erosion.

Subsurface Drainage System

Subsurface drainage systems are also called French drains, which are placed beneath the topsoil. This drain removes extra water at the root level, preventing waterlogged soils that damage trees and plants.

Slope Drainage System

As the name suggests, this drainage system works best in slopey areas. Slope drainage systems facilitate the downward movement of water, guiding the flow away from a structure.

Downspout and Gutters

Downspout and Gutters

This combo makes up the stormwater drainage system. Downspouts and gutters are used to guide water from the roof to the ground and away from the household.

Learning about drainage systems may be the last thing on your mind. But understanding the science behind how they work can help you save a fortune and prevent property damage.

Drain Magic can help keep your drain line in its best shape— without any damage to your property like conventional repairs. Call us at 717-936-9444 or book an appointment here.