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					SLOPE DRAINS                                                                                 EC-11
                                                                Erosion Control - EC

                                                                Sediment Control - SE

                                                                Tracking Control - TC

                                                                Wind Erosion Control - WE

                                                                Non-Storm Water Management - NS

                                                                Waste and Materials Management - WM

DESCRIPTION AND PURPOSE                                                          Removal Effectiveness
A slope drain is a pipe used to intercept and direct surface runoff or           ◍ Unknown ○ Low
groundwater into a stabilized watercourse, trapping device or stabilized         ◒ Medium ● High
area. Slope drains are used with lined ditches to intercept and direct surface   Targeted Constituents
flow away from slope areas to protect cut or fill slopes.                        ○   Sediment
                                                                                 ○   Nutrients
APPROPRIATE APPLICATIONS                                                         ○   Trash
 •  Where concentrated flow of surface runoff must be conveyed down a            ○   Metals
    slope in order to prevent erosion.                                           ○   Bacteria
 •   Drainage for top of slope diversion dikes or swales.
                                                                                 ○   Oil and Grease
                                                                                 ○   Organics
 •   Emergency spillway for a sediment basin.
 •   Drainage for top of cut/fill slopes where water can accumulate.             Potential Alternatives
                                                                                 Click here to enter text
 •   At construction sites where slopes may be eroded by surface runoff.
 •   This BMP may be implemented on a project-by-project basis with other
The types of slope drain can include:
 •   Pipe drops;
 •   Flexible downdrains;
 •   Sectional downdrains; and
 •   Lined terrace drains.

CONSTRUCTION HANDBOOK                          OCTOBER 2002                                           1 OF 6
EC-11                                                                                 SLOPE DRAINS
Installation is critical for effective use of the pipe slope drain to minimize potential gully erosion.
Maximum drainage area per pipe slope drain is 10 acres. For larger areas use a paved chute, rock lined
channel, or additional pipes. (See the local municipality for drainage requirements)
  •      During large storms, pipe slope drains may become clogged or over charged, forcing water
         around the pipe and causing extreme slope erosion.
  •      If the sectional downdrain is not sized correctly, the runoff can spill over the drain sides causing
         gully erosion and potential failure of the structure.
  •      Maximum drainage area per slope drain is 10 acres. (For large areas use a paved chute, rock lined
         channel or additional pipes.)
  •      Dissipation of high flow velocities at the pipe outlet is required to avoid downstream erosion.
  •      Failure can result in flooding and severe erosion.
  •      Severe erosion may result when slope drains fail by overtopping, piping, or pipe separation.

Installation/Application Criteria
The slope drain may be a rigid pipe, such as corrugated metal, a flexible conduit, or a lined terrace
drain with the inlet placed on the top of a slope. The drain conveys concentrated runoff down to the
bottom of the slope. This BMP typically is used in combination with a diversion control, such as a
temporary dike or swale, at the top of the slope, and serves as a temporary BMP to reduce or eliminate
slope erosion until permanent BMPs are installed and the slope is stabilized.
The slope drain is applicable for any construction site where concentrated surface runoff can
accumulate and must be conveyed down the slope in order to prevent erosion. The slope drain is
effective because it prevents the stormwater from flowing directly down the slope by confining all the
runoff into an enclosed pipe or channel. Due to the time lag between grading slopes and installation of
permanent storm water collection systems and slope stabilization measures, temporary provisions to
intercept runoff are sometimes necessary. Particularly in steep terrain, slope drains can protect
unstabilized areas from erosion. Typical uses include:
  •      Emergency spillway for a sediment basin.
  •      Drainage for top of cut/fill slopes where storm water can accumulate and must be conveyed
         down the slope.
Temporary slope drains are highly effective in eliminating slope erosion. Installation and maintenance
requirements are small, especially when flexible pipe is used. General criteria:
  •      Gully erosion is the major problem with slope drains. Inlet structures must be securely
         entrenched and compacted to avoid severe gully erosion.
  •      The drain must be securely anchored to the slope and must be adequately sized to carry the
         capacity of the design storm and associated forces.
  •      The outlet must be stabilized with rip-rap, concrete or other type of energy dissipator, or directed
         into a stable sediment trap or basin.
  •      A debris rack is recommended at the inlet, and should be encouraged for larger pipes and at the
         outlet as a safety device to prevent small children from entering the pipe.
  •      Secure inlet and surround with dikes to prevent gully erosion and anchor pipe to slope.

2 OF 6                                             OCTOBER 2002                          CONSTRUCTION HANDBOOK
SLOPE DRAINS                                                                                 EC-11
 •   Size to convey at least the peak of a 10-year, 24-hour storm (See local flood control agency for
 •   Stabilize outlet.
 •   When using slope drains, limit drainage area to 10 acres per pipe. For larger areas, use a rock-
     lined channel or a series of pipes.
 •   Maximum slope generally limited to 2:1 (H:V) as energy dissipation below steeper slopes is
 •   Direct surface runoff to slope drains with interceptor dikes. See BMP EC-9, Earth Dikes/Drainage
     Swales and Lined Ditches.
 •   Slope drains can be placed on or buried underneath the slope surface.
 •   Recommended materials are PVC, ABS, or comparable pipe.
 •   When installing slope drains:
     -    Install slope drains perpendicular to slope contours.
     -    Compact soil around and under entrance, outlet, and along length of pipe.
     -    Securely anchor and stabilize pipe and appurtenances into soil.
     -    Check to ensure that pipe connections are watertight.
     -    Protect area around inlet with filter cloth. Protect outlet with riprap or other energy
          dissipation device. For high-energy discharges, reinforce riprap with concrete or use
          reinforced concrete device.
     -    Protect inlet and outlet of slope drains: use standard flared end section at entrance for pipe
          slope drains 12 in. and larger.
Unless specified by the local municipality, the capacity for temporary drains should be sufficient to
handle the peak runoff from a 10 year, 4 hour rainfall event. The pipe size may be computed using the
Rational Method or a method established by the local municipality. Higher flows must be safely stored
or routed to prevent any offsite concentration of flow and any erosion of the slope.
As a guide, temporary pipe slope drains should not be sized smaller than shown in the following table:

                                 (INCHES)                     (ACRES)
                                      12                          1.0
                                      18                          3.0
                                      21                          5.0
                                      24                          7.0
                                      30                          10.0

Permanent improvements must be designed and installed if the drainage area is greater than 10 acres.

CONSTRUCTION HANDBOOK                           OCTOBER 2002                                         3 OF 6
EC-11                                                                                  SLOPE DRAINS
The following additional design criteria should be considered:
  •      Construct the pipe slope drain entrance of a standard flared end section with a minimum 6-inch
         metal toe plate to prevent runoff from undercutting the pipe inlet. The slope of the entrance is
         usually at least 3 %.
  •      Thoroughly compact the soil around and under the pipe and entrance section.
  •      Securely fasten the slope drain sections together, have gasketed watertight fittings, and securely
         anchored into the soil.
  •      Secure the flare inlet section to the slope drain and have watertight connecting bands.
  •      Use interceptor dikes to direct runoff into a slope drain. The height of the dike should be at least 1
         ft higher at all points than the top of the inlet pipe.
  •      If the pipe slope drain is conveying sediment-laden water, direct all flows into a Sediment Trap
         (SE-3) or Sediment/ Desilting Basin (SE-2).
  •      Unless the pipe directly enters a sediment trap/basin, stabilize the area below the outlet with a
         riprap apron.
The local municipality often establishes materials selection and criteria for the pipe slope drain. Soil
type, rainfall patterns, construction schedule, and available supply are some of the factors to be
considered. The following types of slope drains are commonly used:
  •      Rigid Pipe: This type of slope drain is also known as a pipe drop. The pipe usually consists of
         corrugated metal pipe or rigid plastic pipe. The pipe is placed on undisturbed or compacted soil
         and secured into the slope. A minimum of 1 ft cover is required on the pipe, and concrete thrust
         blocks must be used when required by the municipality or warranted by the calculated thrust
         forces. Collars should be properly installed and secured with metal strappings or watertight
  •      Flexible Pipe: The flexible pipe slope drain consists of a flexible conduit of heavy-duty material.
         The conduit material is securely anchored into the slope and connections are watertight. The
         conduit should be securely fastened to the metal inlet and outlet conduit sections with metal
         strappings or watertight collars.
  •      Section Downdrains: The section downdrain consists of pre-fabricated, section conduit of half-
         round or third-round material. The sectional downdrain performs similar to a flume or chute.
         The pipe must be placed on undisturbed or compacted soil and secured into the slope.
  •      Concrete-lined Terrace Drain: This is a concrete channel for draining water from a terrace on a
         slope to the next level. These drains are permanent structures, which should be designed
         according to local drainage design criteria.

 •  Caltrans Cost Schedule gives regional cost ranges.

  •  Inspect before and after each rainstorm, and twice monthly until the tributary drainage area has
     been stabilized. Follow routine inspection procedures for inlets thereafter.

4 OF 6                                             OCTOBER 2002                          CONSTRUCTION HANDBOOK
SLOPE DRAINS                                                                               EC-11
 •   Inspect outlet for erosion and downstream scour. If eroded, repair damage and install additional
     energy dissipation measures. If downstream scour is occurring, it may be necessary to reduce
     flows being discharged into the channel unless other preventative measures are implemented.
 •   Inspect slope drainage for accumulations of debris and sediment.
 •   Remove built-up sediment from entrances and outlets as required. Flush drains if necessary;
     capture and settle out sediment from discharge.
 •   Make sure water is not ponding onto inappropriate areas (e.g. active traffic lanes, material storage
     areas, etc.).
 •   Inlet must be free of undercutting and no water should circumvent the entry.
 •   Pipe anchors must be checked to ensure that the pipe remains anchored to the slope.

Best Management Practices and Erosion Control Manual for Construction Sites, Flood Control District
of Maricopa County, Arizona, September 1992.
“Draft – Sedimentation and Erosion Control, An Inventory of Current Practices”, U.S.E.P.A., April
Stormwater Management Water for the Puget Sound Basin, Washington State Department of Ecology,
The Technical Manual – February 1992, Publication # 91-75.
Water Quality Management Plan for the Lake Tahoe Region, Volume II, Handbook of Management
Practices, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency – November 1988.

CONSTRUCTION HANDBOOK                         OCTOBER 2002                                        5 OF 6
EC-11                   SLOPE DRAINS


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