Tips for improving the performance of your drainage system

Learn which pipe removes water the quickest and which pipe properties increase water entry into the pipe.

A figure showing different pipe materials.
Pipe material.

Part 1: Which drainage pipe removes water the quickest?

When you buy your drainage pipe, do you ask yourself if one pipe material removes water more quickly than another? Here are some tips that will improve the performance of your drainage system.

If you have a drain sedimentation problem, you can use either a sock-wrapped pipe or a sand-slot pipe to keep fine sand and silt out of the pipe. Water enters a sock-wrapped pipe much more quickly than a sand-slot pipe. In fact, a sock-wrapped pipe maximizes water entry because it functions as a completely open conduit without walls, like mole drains. As a result, a sock-wrapped pipe lowers the water table most quickly.

When installed at the same depth and spacing, a sock-wrapped pipe provides a modest increase in crop yield compared to a sand-slot pipe. The cost effectiveness of the pipes depends on site-specific conditions including soil, climate, drain depth, drain spacing, crop yield, crop price and pipe cost.

The quicker lowering of the water table with a sock-wrapped pipe reduces the risk of crop damage from waterlogging after heavy rainfalls. It also reduces the risk of delayed planting delay because of wet soil.

If you have a drain sedimentation problem and you do not want to invest in a sock-wrapped pipe, an eight-row sand-slot pipe is the second-fastest draining pipe. An eight-row sand-slot pipe removes water more quickly than a four-row sand-slot pipe for the same pipe material cost. Finally, a good drain installation is essential for the best performance of any drain pipe.

Part 2: Which properties increase water entry into the drainage pipe?

When you buy your drainage pipe, did you know that there are certain pipe properties that you can look for to remove water more quickly?

The most important pipe property affecting how fast water enters the pipe is the number of perforation rows, followed by slot length. Slot width has minimal effect on drain inflow. If installing a drainage system, choose an eight-row pipe than a four-row pipe to remove water more quickly for the same pipe material cost. If you do not have access to an eight-row pipe, the next-fastest draining pipe is a four-row pipe with longer, narrower slots than one with shorter, wider slots.

For more information about pipe materials, visit MSU Drainage Website.

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