Drainage Solutions: Catch Basins VS Inlets

Drainage expert, Willy Gugel, demonstrates the difference between catch basins and drainage inlets. To an untrained eye, catch basins and inlets look very similar. Both drainage solutions have a 12-inch by 12-inch surface grate and subsurface piping. However, the difference between a drainage catch basin and an inlet lies just beneath the soil. Keep reading as we go over the difference between drainage catch basins and inlets!

Catch Basins – Drainage Solutions

Catch basins are designed to maintain proper drainage and “catch” dirt, debris, rocks, etc. before funneling water into the drainage pipe. By removing debris, catch basins can help prevent clogs within the drainage piping.

One fundamental drawback to catch basins versus drainage inlets is that catch basins require regular maintenance. During periods of heavy rainfall, it may be necessary to clear debris from a catch basin on a weekly or daily basis. Another major drawback of catch basins, especially in Texas, is the potential for standing water.

As Willy demonstrates, drainage solutions with catch basins are not designed to move water quickly. This can lead to a multitude of problems including mosquito infestation, erosion, and flooding. If the catch basin is completely clogged, you’ll have a big problem on your hands in no time!


Catch Basins are Big & Bulky

To install a catch basin, you’ll need to dig a very deep hole and spend extra time and money on proper soil grading. Otherwise, the water will never reach the basin. We see this all the time. Homeowners pay a fortune to install catch basins only to discover they’ve wasted money on a drainage solution that fails to drain at all!

Drainage Inlets – Dallas Drainage Solutions


At Lee Engineering, we recommend installing inlets versus catch basins for residential landscape drainage. Here’s why…

For starters, drainage inlets require little to no maintenance. Also, drainage inlets are very shallow (about 3-inches deep) and can be set lower into the ground. This immediately saves the homeowner the added expense of extensive soil grading. If you have a property that has low elevation, inlets are a great choice for re-routing unwanted water accumulation. Another advantage of choosing inlets versus catch basins is that inlets do not allow water to remain stagnant within the basin, so you won’t have to worry about inadvertently creating a mosquito haven.

FAQ Regarding Catch Basins vs. Inlets

When is it appropriate to use drainage inlets?

Lee Engineering only installs drainage inlets (or shallow catch basins). In the DFW area, it’s too risky to allow standing water to accumulate on your property. Inlets simply don’t hold any water or debris and are used when limited elevation is the issue/challenge.

When/why would you recommend installing a drainage catch basin?

Never. A standard catch basin is either 9”, 12” or 18” and is usually a box in which the bottom 2 to 3-inches hold debris or water. These are mosquitos bedrooms!

Will the pipes on the inlet clog since the water isn’t filtered?

Rarely. If drainage inlets are installed correctly, with SDR pipe versus ADS corrugated pipes, they tend to resist clogging. ADS corrugated pipes are very flexible and damage easily. We don’t recommend using flexible corrugated pipe for residential drainage solutions for this reason. However, it’s important to note that all drainage solutions will require periodical maintenance from time to time.

Still have questions regarding landscape drainage solutions?

Lee Engineering has a long-standing reputation for quality irrigationdrainage, and custom foundation watering systems. Since 1971, we’ve been dedicated to making North Texas a better place to live and work.

Lee Engineering Drainage Solutions:

For more information, call 817-277-6022 or fill out the form below to schedule.

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