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Proper Drainage Means Moving Water from the Playground

Playground Drainage

This is an example of poor playground drainage.

Playground drainage is a critical part of keeping playground equipment and surfacing in proper working order, safe and usable. When purchasing a new car, it looks and runs great for a while, but if the oil is never changed and if the windows are left open when it rains, the car may continue to look good on the outside, but the interior and what’s under the hood will be damaged causing the engine to fail and the car to wear prematurely.

This is similar to what happens to a playground when there is water in a pit with no accommodations made for getting it out. Water needs to be controlled by keeping it out of the pit altogether or planning a way to move the water out of the surfacing area when it does get in.

Standing water will cause the resilient surfacing and play equipment to age and deteriorate prematurely. The structural integrity of the concrete footings will be compromised, rust will begin to shorten the life of any metal in the surfacing, molds and mildews will grow, and the surfacing will not have the impact attenuation that it is designed to have. The life of the investment is shortened and the play area may become unusable.

There are four issues involved with playground drainage:

  1. Environmental factors
  2. Problems related to standing water in the play area
  3. Types of drainage for playgrounds
  4. Construction considerations

Environmental Factors Affecting Drainage

There are many environmental factors that affect drainage. Five of the most common encountered by playground builders are:

  1. Topography shows the graphic representation of the play area illustrating the elevations and their relationship to other features at the site, such as buildings, sidewalks, etc.

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