Evolution of a Trench Drain

A trench drain is a long, low sloped drain much like a narrow trough submerged into the floor. Instead of having to drain liquids from just one round drain in an area of the floor, a trench drain allows for continuous drainage along a straight line.

While not required for breweries and a little more expensive than traditional floor drains, trench drains make cleaning up spills and sanitizing the brewery floor much easier. Since most brewery build-outs end up requiring the floor be opened up to place new drain lines, more breweries opt for trench drains to be installed as well.

In our case, we had a pre-existing concrete slab floor in the area of the future brewery that didn't have any floor drains. A mason used a big concrete sawcutter and jackhammer to remove a large section of concrete and dug a trench. You can see more from that day in this post.

trench holes
trench drains

The plumber began laying a network of pipes to serve as the drain lines here and throughout the rest of the space. The drain lines all get traced back to the main sewer line near the restrooms.

brewery plumbing

The trench drains themselves arrived in several three foot sections. Each section is numbered and has slightly different interior dimensions. When placed together consecutively, there is a continuous low slope running through the interior of the sections, but the exterior dimensions are all the same among the sections. This is designed so that installation is more straightforward without having to elevate each section differently within the ground.

trench drains

The plumber carefully placed each drain section within the hole in the ground so that the tops were perfectly level. Then, a city inspector took a look at all the plumbing and approved the work.

trench drain
trench drains

After the inspection, dirt was carefully shoveled back into the holes around the drain lines. Kudos to our plumber who painstakingly picked out large rocks around the pipes that risk damaging the pipes.

trench drains

The masonry team came back to pour concrete over the drain lines and around the drains themselves. The concrete around the trench drains was pitched slightly to allow for better runoff into the drains. It was a ton of work, but these guys got it done in just one day.

trench drains

Here's the final product complete with rigid plastic grates that cover and protect the drains. Next step: Stonhard floor coating will be applied this month to provide a waterproof and chemical-resistant floor for our brewery and cooler.

Masonry services were provided by SJB Masonry and plumbing provided by Budget Plumbing Corp.

trench drains

11 thoughts on “Evolution of a Trench Drain”

  1. Thanks for the interesting read about how these trench drains were installed. You mentioned that a city inspector had to look at the plumbing to approve the work. I’m kind of interested to learn more about some of the different things they look for or test to make sure that everything is functioning properly.

  2. Smooth sailing and “Bloody Decks”. Bloody Decks is a Maritime expression from the Sealing boats, that still
    Go out on the ice to hunt seals and ring the meat, and pelts to the small boats. Consequently the decks of these small boats became covered in seal blood at the end of a successful putting on the ice floes. If it was particularly good hit the pelts were lashed to the deck and blood wouldn’t run from those pelts to cover and stain the wooden deck. There by a common and unusual wish of good luck in any location or surrounding today, remains “Bloody Decks”. Good luck guys. Anna-Marie and I wish you best wishes and all the passion of Joe, in your brewery, a namesake of the brewery. He would be very proud of both of you Sean and James. Well done, Dave, Georgetown, On

  3. Thank you for the post on the evolution on a trench drain. I had no idea there was so much that went into installing those trench drains. You gotta admire the plumber that also takes the time to remove the rocks that could damage the pipes.

  4. It’s interesting that trench drains like this can be so beneficial. It makes sense that they would be good for places that might involve spills! That way it’s easier to get liquids removed from the area.

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