Trench Drains Defined

Trench drain system in a city scape

Trench drain systems - The unsung heroes of water control

Alternately called troughs, channels or gutters, trench drain systems play a large role in controlling and directing water runoff. They evacuate surface water, contain chemical spills, and even protect utility lines. A trench drain is generally made by pouring concrete around a form or modular channel and used in tandem with a variety of grating that sit flush with the adjoining surface. Some trench drains are polymer based while others use metal or foam liners to aid in channel crafting, chemical resistance, and slope formation.

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Trench drain is commonly seen in our daily lives and frequently overlooked. Look around the sidewalk at your local outdoor plaza or down the aisles of your neighborhood garden center. You’ll see it in a parking lot or at the base of a driveway. These are typical examples of trench drain being used for stormwater evacuation. The fluid being evacuated is most often rain water that can be directed into a storm sewer depending on local regulations.

The size of a drainage system can be determined by the amount of water runoff that needs to be managed within the area. If you have a lot of water a deeper more customized channel similar to the MultiDrain example below may be needed. However, if you are wanting something with less of a footprint and the application requires a smaller system a channel drain by NDS® may be a viable option. 


Econodrain System by MultiDrain, in concrete pour


A channel drain by NDS, shown set in concrete

Trench drain used inside a building is usually associated with a sewer system. Quite often, drain systems in an automotive center, fire station, chemical or food processing plant are used for collecting spills or wash water used for cleaning the work area.

Fluids from these sites can contain contaminants (oil, grit, organics, chemicals, etc.) that need to be isolated from water. As a result, the contents from these “indoor” trench systems are often passed through an oil-water separator or neutralization chamber prior to being routed to the sanitary sewer line.


With so many different applications for trench drain, it is no wonder that there are many different manufacturers and materials for trench drain systems. This mass amount of product variety can make selection a daunting task for the contractor or home owner when researching which drainage system to purchase.

Our expert staff at Trench Drain Systems is available to help provide drainage solutions to your water runoff problems, as well as an onsite engineering support team. All of whom can provide layouts and specification sheets as needed.

Trench Drain Systems is one of the largest distributors in the United States who are committed to providing you with quick solutions to all your surface water runoff problems. Our professional staff can assess your project requirements and quickly offer you competitive pricing and information regarding the products you need. Contact us for a free quote or for further information on drainage solutions visit or

Phone: 610-882-3630

Email: [email protected]

 Click here for a fast and free quote!

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