Reconsidering the Use of Hydrobrake Devices in Drainage Systems: Potential Risks and Maintenance Concerns


Hydrobrake devices are commonly utilized in drainage systems to manage stormwater flow. However, recent scrutiny raises questions about their reliability and maintenance requirements, particularly in proposed developments like ours at Quarterlands Road.

Potential Risks:

One major concern is the susceptibility of Hydrobrake devices to blockages. Blockages can lead to chambers on-site filling up with stormwater, potentially causing flooding both on-site and off-site. With the lowest level gullies discharging water first, there’s a risk of exacerbating existing flood areas, including Quarterlands Road.

Maintenance Requirements:

To mitigate risks, it’s essential to use the largest possible orifice size in the Hydrobrake while meeting discharge rate requirements. Additionally, regular maintenance is crucial. Chambers, including the Hydrobrake chamber, will silt up over time, reducing storage capacity and blocking the device. Monthly inspections for the first six months post-commissioning are necessary to monitor silt buildup, reducing to every six months thereafter. There is no mention of maintenance in the developer’s proposal nor in the planners assessment. As with all of this proposed development this raises further concerns. Mechanical removal of silt will be required when it reaches the Hydrobrake inlet level. Regular visual inspections are also needed to ensure debris-free operation and monitor the bypass door’s functionality. Who will do this, who will pay for it, who will oversee.

Exploring Alternatives:

Considering the maintenance challenges and potential risks associated with Hydrobrake devices, alternative solutions merit consideration. One such alternative is replacing Hydrobrakes with Orifice Plates welded to discharging pipes, providing a potentially more reliable and easier-to-maintain option.


As we evaluate drainage solutions for the proposed development at Quarterlands Road, it’s essential to weigh the potential risks and maintenance requirements associated with Hydrobrake devices. Exploring alternatives and ensuring robust maintenance plans will be crucial in mitigating the risk of flooding and ensuring the long-term effectiveness of our drainage system.