Deep Sump Catch Basin

From the Massachusetts Storm Water Handbook

Image of Deep Sump Catch Basin


Deep sump catch basins, also known as oil and grease or hooded catch basins, are underground retention systems designed to remove trash, debris, and coarse sediment from stormwater runoff, and serve as temporary spill containment devices for floatables such as oils and greases.

Ability to Meet Massachusetts Stormwater Management Standards

2 - Peak FlowProvides no peak flow attenuation
3 - RechargeProvides no groundwater recharge
4 - TSS Removal25% TSS removal credit when used for pretreatment. Because of their limited effectiveness and storage capacity, deep sump catch basins receive credit for removing TSS only if they are used for pretreatment and designed as off- line systems.
5 - Higher Pollutant LoadingRecommended as pretreatment BMP. Although provides some spill control capability, a deep sump catch basin may not be used in place of an oil grit separator or sand filter for land uses that have the potential to generate runoff with high concentrations of oil and grease such as: high-intensity-use parking lots, gas stations, fleet storage areas, vehicle and/or equipment maintenance and service areas.
6 - Discharges near or to Critical AreasMay be used as pretreatment BMP. not an adequate spill control device for discharges near or to critical areas.
7 - RedevelopmentHighly suitable.


  • Located underground, so limited lot size is not a deterrent.
  • Compatible with subsurface storm drain systems.
  • Can be used for retrofitting small urban lots where larger BMPs are not feasible.
  • Provide pretreatment of runoff before it is delivered to other BMPs.
  • Easily accessed for maintenance.
  • Longevity is high with proper maintenance.


  • Limited pollutant removal.
  • Expensive to install and maintain, resulting in high cost per unit area treated.
  • No ability to control volume of stormwater.
  • Frequent maintenance is essential.
  • Requires proper disposal of trapped sediment and oil and grease.
  • Entrapment hazard for amphibians and other small animals.

Pollutant Removal Efficiencies

  • Total Suspended Solids (TSS) - 25% (for regulatory purposes).
  • Nutrients (Nitrogen, phosphorus) - Insufficient data.
  • Metals (copper, lead, zinc, cadmium) - Insufficient data.
  • Pathogens (coliform, e coli) - Insufficient data.


Inspect unitsFour times per year
Clean unitsFour times per year or whenever the depth of deposits is greater than or equal to one half the depth from the bottom of the invert of the lowest pipe in the basin.

Special Features

All deep sump catch basins must include hoods. For MassHighway projects, consult the Stormwater Handbook for Highways and Bridges for hood requirements.

LID Alternative

Reduce Impervious Surface

Disconnect rooftop and non-rooftop runoff

Suitable Applications

  • Pretreatment
  • Residential subdivisions
  • Office
  • Retail

Design Considerations

  • The contributing drainage area to any deep sump catch basin should not exceed ¼ acre of impervious cover.
  • Design and construct deep sump catch basins as off-line systems.
  • Size the drainage area so that the flow rate does not exceed the capacity of the inlet grate.
  • Divert excess flows to another BMP intended to meet the water quantity requirements (peak rate attenuation) or to a storm drain system.
An off-line design enhances pollutant removal efficiency, because it prevents the resuspension of sediments in large storms.

Make the sump depth (distance from the bottom of the outlet pipe to the bottom of the basin) at least four feet times the diameter of the outlet pipe and more if the contributing drainage area has a high sediment load. The minimum sump depth is 4 feet. Double catch basins, those with 2 inlet grates, may require deeper sumps. Install the invert of the outlet pipe at least 4 feet from the bottom of the catch basin grate.

The inlet grate serves to prevent larger debris from entering the sump. To be effective, the grate must have a separation between the grates of one square inch or less. The inlet openings must not allow flows greater than 3 cfs to enter the deep sump catch basin. If the inlet grate is designed with a curb cut, the grate must reach the back of the curb cut to prevent bypassing. The inlet grate must be constructed of a durable material and fit tightly into the frame so it won’t be dislodged by automobile traffic. The inlet grate must not be welded to the frame so that sediments may be easily removed. To facilitate maintenance, the inlet grate must be placed along the road shoulder or curb line rather than a traffic lane.

Note that within parking garages, the State Plumbing Code regulates inlet grates and other stormwater management controls. Inlet grates inside parking garages are currently required to have much smaller openings than those described herein.

To receive the 25% removal credit, hoods must be used in deep sump catch basins. Hoods also help contain oil spills. MassHighway may install catch basins without hoods provided they are designed, constructed, operated, and maintained in accordance with the Mass Highway Stormwater Handbook.

Install the weep hole above the outlet pipe. Never install the weep hole in the bottom of the catch basin barrel.

Site Constraints

A proponent may not be able to install a deep sump catch basin because of:
  • Depth to bedrock;
  • High groundwater;
  • Presence of utilities; or
  • Other site conditions that limit depth of excavation because of stability.


Regular maintenance is essential. Deep sump catch basins remain effective at removing pollutants only if they are cleaned out frequently. One study found that once 50% of the sump volume is filled, the catch basin is not able to retain additional sediments.

Inspect or clean deep sump basins at least four times per year and at the end of the foliage and snow- removal seasons. Sediments must also be removed four times per year or whenever the depth of deposits is greater than or equal to one half the depth from the bottom of the invert of the lowest pipe in the basin. If handling runoff from land uses with higher potential pollutant loads or discharging runoff near or to a critical area, more frequent cleaning may be necessary.

Clamshell buckets are typically used to remove sediment in Massachusetts. However, vacuum trucks are preferable, because they remove more trapped sediment and supernatant than clamshells. Vacuuming is also a speedier process and is less likely to snap the cast iron hood within the deep sump catch basin.

Always consider the safety of the staff cleaning deep sump catch basins. Cleaning a deep sump catch basin within a road with active traffic or even within a parking lot is dangerous, and a police detail may be necessary to safeguard workers.

Although catch basin debris often contains concentrations of oil and hazardous materials such as petroleum hydrocarbons and metals, MassDEP classifies them as solid waste. Unless there is evidence that they have been contaminated by a spill or other means, MassDEP does not routinely require catch basin cleanings to be tested before disposal. Contaminated catch basin cleanings must be evaluated in accordance with the Hazardous Waste Regulations, 310 CMR 30.000, and handled as hazardous waste.

In the absence of evidence of contamination, catch basin cleanings may be taken to a landfill or other facility permitted by MassDEP to accept solid waste, without any prior approval by MassDEP. However, some landfills require catch basin cleanings to be tested before they are accepted.

With prior MassDEP approval, catch basin cleanings may be used as grading and shaping materials at landfills undergoing closure (see Revised Guidelines for Determining Closure Activities at Inactive Unlined Landfill Sites) or as daily cover at active landfills. MassDEP also encourages the beneficial reuse of catch basin cleanings whenever possible. A Beneficial Reuse Determination is required for such use.

MassDEP regulations prohibit landfills from accepting materials that contain free-draining liquids. One way to remove liquids is to use a hydraulic lift truck during cleaning operations so that the material can be decanted at the site. After loading material from several catch basins into a truck, elevate the truck so that any free-draining liquid can flow back into the structure. If there is no free water in the truck, the material may be deemed to be sufficiently dry. Otherwise the catch basin cleanings must undergo a Paint Filter Liquids Test. Go to www. recycle/laws/cafacts.doc for information on all of the MassDEP requirements pertaining to the disposal of catch basin cleanings.