What causes a culvert to clog or be plugged? If you live in Northern Alberta you know we deal with frozen culverts every spring. The extreme cold temperatures during the winter freeze the water to a solid form inside the culvert partially or fully blocking the flow. This creates many problems like flooding, erosion, blocked roads, etc. There are other reasons culverts get blocked though. Heavy silt, sand or mud settles slowly in them reducing the flow of water. Also, sticks, logs, branches, grass, or garbage are culprits as well.
How do you clear a clogged or plugged culvert? The first & easiest thing to do is remove external debris built up on the drain side if possible. This is sometimes dangerous as the blockage letting go could create a very strong current or shift heavy debris. Another way is to use long metal pipes & try to dig or free the blockage from the down stream side. With ice this task is typically the job for a Hydrovac.
How does a Hydrovac clear the clog or plug? When culverts are plugged with sand, silt, mud, clay or other soil types it is possible to use the wand from the entrance of the culvert. Sometimes this is not sufficient so a “snake” has to be used. It is a tip that is installed on the end of a long hose. It has one jet at the front that blasts through debris or ice & six jets that point backwards. This pushes the dislodged debris back out the hole so that the Hydrovac can suck it onto the truck for disposal if required.