December 2011 -

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Removing drain blockages

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

There are many reasons why a drain may become blocked, but it’s often the case that a homeowner has put an incorrect item into the drainage system. Drainage companies attend countless drain blockages every year where an unsuspecting homeowner has put something untoward into the drainage system. The most common way people do this is by flushing random items down the toilet. Things which can’t be flushed down the toilet include:

  • Hand and face wipes
  • Cotton wool buds
  • Sanitary towels
  • Nappies
  • Packaging from toiletry items
When people flush these items down the toilet they can block the lateral drain before it reaches the public sewer network. If this happens, the only way the offending item can be removed is by a drainage company, either using a high pressure water jet or by using drain rods. A drainage company will be able to help when a drain becomes blocked, but it is up to the homeowner to make sure they do everything possible to reduce the chances of drain blockage by making sure they only flush appropriate waste items down the toilet.

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What causes drain blockages?

Sunday, December 25th, 2011

There are many reasons why a drain may become blocked, with a homeowner themselves the likely culprit of the drain blockage. Homeowners don’t realise the consequences of flushing inappropriate items down the toilet, such as nappies or cotton wool buds, and only realise their mistake when they have to phone a local drainage company. Besides inappropriate items finding their way into the drainage system, these other things can cause blocked drainage.

  • The accumulation of garden debris – Leaf litter and small decorative stones or gravel, which is used on a path or driveway, can find its way into the drainage system through the gullies adjoining your property. This debris can block a drain completely.
  • Root growth – Roots can find their way into the drainage system through small fissures in the drainage pipes. When roots find a source of water they can quickly multiply and cause a drain blockage.
  • Pipe damage – Drainage pipes don’t last forever and there will come a time that due to age alone the pipes will deteriorate beyond repair.
  • Subsidence – Drain subsidence isn’t very common but when it does happen the drain can be damaged beyond ‘no dig’ technology boundaries and excavation may be needed.

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Thames Tunnel to relieve pressure on Victorian sewer system

Saturday, December 24th, 2011

Drain blockages in London are an all too common occurrence, as the city’s Victorian sewer system struggles with the pressure put on it by modern life. When the Victorians built the London sewer network, they were not to envisage the population boom the city has seen over recent decades. And although the system has done well coping so far, there is still far too much sewage dumped into the River Thames at times of heavy rainfall. Currently only around 2mm of rainfall can trigger a discharge into the River Thames from one of the 57 sewer overflows on the river. When the Thames Tunnel is built it will take the discharge from the 34 most polluting sewer overflows and transfer it to Beckton Sewage Treatment Works where it will be processed. Thames Water say that on average a discharge is released around 50 times every year and a total of 39 million tonnes of sewage is released into the river. If the proposed tunnel build does not go ahead the forecast for annual sewage release is expected to increase to around 70 million tonnes, which could have a huge impact on the river and its wildlife.

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Epoxi flexi line repairs

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

If you are having recurrent drainage problems, your local drainage company in London might suggest that you have a CCTV survey to see if there is any structural damage to the pipe network. CCTV surveys are an important tool and can be used to assess damage within a section of pipe. When a drainage company knows what is wrong, they can suggest a suitable repair. If during a CCTV survey a section of pipe is found to be cracked or if there is a gap between sections of pipe, the drainage company may suggest a liner repair. To install an epoxy flexi line, the drainage company simply has to blow the liner into position to the corresponding section of damaged pipe. Once the liner is in position the drainage company inflate it and the impregnated resin liner sets, bonding it to the pipe wall. This covers any fractures in the pipe and stops water getting through the pipe and causing a damaging void. When the liner is in place, the cross section of the pipe will be slightly reduced but the pipe will be repaired so the flow rate will be increased by as much as 15%.

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Some easy tips to fix blocked drains

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

The drains that leave a person’s home rarely see any maintenance until a problem occurs, However prevention is always better than cure, so it pays to keep on top of your drain maintenance instead of footing a costly repair bill. If you do have a blocked drain, there are a few things that you can do to unblock it before you have to call in the experts. Using a plunger A plunger can be bought quite cheaply from a DIY store. The vacuum effect the plunger has on the pipe is usually enough to free any blockage which is sitting just under a sink or a bathtub. Using a drain snake Like a plunger, a drain snake can also be used to clear a blockage. The snake is fed into the drainage pipe and when rotated is usually enough to clear the offending debris from the drainage pipe. Calling in the experts In some situations you might find that a drain cannot be unblocked using conventional methods alone. When this happens it is always a good idea to call in the drainage professionals, who will have all the right equipment to solve your drainage problem.

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Drain maintenance to remove scale

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

Many businesses are now opting for a drain maintenance contract so that they can be sure that someone will be available to attend a drain blockage should one happen. Some drainage companies let you enter a contract where they will provide free unlimited callouts to drainage problems, so you get piece of mind that the problem will be fixed, even if it’s not solved at the company’s first attempt. Removing scale Lots of drainage problems in London are caused by the accumulation of scale. Scale is a mineral deposit which builds up on the insides of the pipes and as well as reducing the pipe’s diameter, causes rough edges inside the pipe where debris can become trapped. Scale can form in any drainage pipe and can be difficult to get rid of. But although some drain cleaning products claim to remove scale from the insides of the pipes, they rarely get rid of all the scale as it is very difficult to remove via non-mechanical means. Drain cleaning companies remove scale deposits from the inside of drainage pipes on a regular basis, so are well versed in the correct removal techniques. They use spinning cutters, which they insert into the drainage pipes, which cut the scale back and hence restore the pipes to their original waste carrying capacity.

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Free Thames Tunnel talk by CPT

Sunday, December 11th, 2011

Thames Tunnel project manager Malcolm Orford is giving a talk on the 13th of December about the current round of tunnel proposals put forward by Thames Water. The free talk, which will be held at The Pier House in Chiswick at 7:30pm, will give people a chance to hear the latest information about the sewer project. Currently over 39 million tonnes of sewage flow into the River Thames every year at times of heavy rainfall, as the city’s Victorian sewer system struggles to cope during times of heavy rainfall. The plan is to capture overflow sewage from the 34 most polluting sewage outlets into the Thames and transfer it via the new ‘super sewer’ to Beckton Sewage Works where the waste will be treated. The talk has been organised by Chiswick Pier Trust (CPT) who are a charity whose objective is to protect the River Thames and waterside areas. There will be time for questions factored into schedule and doors will open at 7:00pm.

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Leaves cause blocked drainage

Saturday, December 10th, 2011

There are many things that can cause a drain blockage, but at this time of year, most of the problems that drainage engineers face are caused by leaf litter. The accumulation of leaf litter can cause problems for homeowners if they do not keep on top of the leaves that fall from the trees near where they live. And because most public areas are now paved there is nowhere for this leaf litter to go except into the waste water drains. The UK has seen unseasonal warm weather over the last month or so, but now the leaves have finally dropped they have the potential to block your drain. During autumn and winter it’s always a good idea to have the number of a reliable drain cleaning company to hand. A drainage company in London will have a host of ways to remove leaf debris from your drainage pipes so you won’t have to contend with a drain blockage. However, you can do a couple of things to stop leaves entering your drain. Simply making sure you regularly collect fallen leaves can help, but if you fit drain covers over your drain gullies outside your home you should be able to stop the leaves blowing into your drain completely.

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Checking for drainage problems before you buy a new house

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

Buying a house can be fraught with anxiety. There’s so much paperwork to do and so many things to be aware of that it’s easy to miss something important. Most of us who buy a house need to have some sort of survey done, either for the mortgage company or just so we can see if there are any many major problems before we part with our money. However, the survey you have very rarely looks at the condition of your drains. Water searches will show you where the drain that leaves your home enters the public sewer system, and will also show you where the water supply enters your home. But these don’t give you any indication about the condition of these pipes. The only way you can be sure that the drain which leaves the home is in good working order is to have a CCTV survey done of the drainage system. If you have a CCTV survey, a report will be generated which will detail the condition of the pipes and suggest whether any extensive work is needed to the drainage system. CCTV surveys are not costly when you compare them against the cost of replacing a collapsed or ancient drainage system.

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Collapsed sewer pollutes lake in Bexleyheath

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

A collapsed sewer in Welling has led to the death of around 1,000 fish in a stream in Danson Park, Bexleyheath. Bexley council were called by concerned members of the public at the end of November after dead fish were noticed in the stream leading to Damson Park Lake. After an investigation Thames Water found that sewage had found its way into the stream after a sewer in Welling collapsed. Officers from the Environment Agency were called to the scene, where a film of sewage fungus covered the bed of water. Jonathan Taylor, the area base controller from the Environment Agency said:

“This is a serious incident and our officers have been on site over the weekend placing booms to stop the spread of the pollution. “The Environment Agency will continue to oversee the clean-up of the incident with Bexley Council and Thames Water. The investigation is ongoing and we have no further details at this stage.”
A spokesperson for Thames Water stated:
"We got to the lake as quickly as possible to reduce the impact, and have been working with the Environment Agency to clean up the stream and pump air back into it. "Any incident that harms wildlife is deeply regrettable."

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