Public Lab Research note

Cleaning Storm Drains

by LivingstonChangeMakerClub | April 12, 2021 17:02 12 Apr 17:02 | #26206 | #26206


In New Orleans we have floods, one of the biggest concerns about floods can be littering, why? Well, because it literally causes stock up drains which gives water no place to go. Another cause of drain stocked up because of leaves and trash. This can be a problem because this can damage houses, cars, it can carry things from place to place so the biggest picture is, how can this be fixed.

Our main concern:

Our main concern is cleaning the storm drain pipes.

Obstacles and supporting information:

We need to know whether or not the drains are blocking water from going into them because if it is, the drains need to be re-made bigger so that the city can have less floods.

Who is engaged in this concern?

People of the city because, people pay lots of money for vehicles and with the amount of litter feeling the streets, which can block drains, water will fill the streets causing floods which can damage cars, streets, houses and so much more. Wildlife center workers can also have an issue with this because if the plastic continues to flood the streets it can be consumed by animals which can kill them which is also very bad.

What are the initial questions?

How can we build a robot to clean the storm drains?

How do the storm drains/pipes work?

How much trash gets into the drains?

What types of trash are in the drains?

How to make a robot?

How to program a robot?

Who is in charge of the storm drains?



I love the idea of automating this! Cleaning my storm drain is a big hassle, so I would love to be able to have a tool to do it more quickly.

Sharing a video here on how to clean out storm drains (the old-fashioned human-powered way):

And here's a map that the city of New Orleans produces to track official city storm drain cleaning:

Is this a question? Click here to post it to the Questions page.

Thank you for the support! I think the video one was very helpful as for the outside of the drain and big thanks for the second link, it'll most definitely help as for what drains need to be cleaned and how long they haven't been cleaned.

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Re: robot making, I really like this book (PDF at think link: for an introduction to coding on an Arduino based platform. The book is a bit old but the code and lessons are still great!

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Thank you so much!

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