If you live in London one of the regular drainage problems you’ll encounter concerns scale.

Scale is usually found in hard water areas and is a deposit which lines the inside of the drainage pipes reducing the pipes’ diameter. Scale can also create rough surfaces within a drainage pipe where solid matter can get stuck when travelling through the drain, eventually blocking the drain completely.

What is scale?

Scale is a mineral deposit and consists both of magnesium and calcium which passes into the drinking water system when rainwater filters though ground rich in these minerals. Water treatment works filter out these minerals to a degree but the water is still generally ‘harder’ than in an area where these minerals are present only in small quantities.

The mineral deposits which line the inside of your drainage pipes will build up if they are left for a long period of time, which is why the inside of the pipes should be checked on a regular basis.

Problems due to drain narrowing

If scale is allowed to build up for a number of years the drainage pipes’ diameter will reduce to a level where waste matter may be trapped and may not be able to pass through. If this happens a drainage contractor will need to be called.

Problems due to rough surfaces

The biggest problem with scale is due to the rough surfaces it creates within the pipe. It’s these rough surfaces which attract all manner of detritus which collects and accumulates. Eventually a rough inner pipe surface can cause a complete drain blockage rendering the drainage system unusable.

CCTV surveys

If your drainage pipes have not been checked recently it’s a good idea to let drainage engineers in London conduct a CCTV survey of the drain. Using this system the drainage engineers insert a small camera into the drain which relays live images of the inside of the drain back to a computer monitor. The information gained by the visual inspection will allow the London drainage engineers to assess the drain condition and form a plan to correct any problems.

De-scaling of drainage pipes

The common course of action for scaled pipes is to use an electro-mechanical de-scaling machine to cut the scale away.

A de-scaling machine uses a rotating drum with a thick inner core cable which has a spinning cutting head attached. The cutting head chosen is always the exact diameter as the internal diameter of the pipe. The cable and hence cutting head is inserted into the pipe and rotated at great speed which cuts the scale away. The result of de-scaling is a pipe which has had the deposits removed leaving it smooth and scale-free.

The scale debris is then flushed through the drainage system using a water jet and collected at the nearest manhole cover.

Most pipes which have been de-scaled will need to be checked on a regular basis to ensure the scale does not cause future problems.

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