February 2012 -

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Sewer repairs due to start in Bristol city centre

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Sewer repairs will start in Bristol this week as Wessex Water aims to modernise around 550 metres of Victorian pipework. The water company are investing around £160,000 into sewer repairs along Gloucester Road and later along Ashley Down Road in Bristol. In all approximately 550 meters of sewer pipe will be inspected and necessary repairs made. Most of the work on the sewers will use trenchless technology, so disruption should be at a minimum, although three way lights will be installed on Gloucester Road at the junction of Ashley Down Road to manage traffic flow. All the works are expected to be completed by the end of March. The project manager for the sewer repair scheme, Nick Cripps, said:

“CCTV investigations of the sewers found them to be in a structurally poor condition, so it is essential that we carry out these repairs. “We will be using a range of trenchless techniques, replacing the previous method of traditional open cut which would add another month onto the timescale of the work. The trenchless methods will significantly reduce disruption to traffic and local residents.”

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What is the difference between a drain, a lateral drain and a sewer?

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

The drainage that leaves your property can have different names depending where in the drainage system the pipes sit. Some people occasionally get these terms confused and use them interchangeably. Drain ownership responsibility changed on the first of October last year. Here are a few of the common terns used with explanations: A drain explained A waste pipe that serves one property only is usually classed as a drain What is a lateral drain? A lateral drain is the term used to describe part of your drainage which sits outside your property boundary. So what’s a sewer? Sewers are waste water pipes which serve more than one property. These can either be public owned or privately owned. All private drains are the responsibility of the homeowner, as is all drainage within the property itself. If any of these drains become blocked it is thus up to the homeowner to choose a suitable drainage company who will be able to deal with the problem. Most drainage problems are fixed quite easily by either jetting the pipe to remove the blockage.

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Drain ownership explained

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

Since the beginning of October 2011 government enforced changes to the ownership of drains has left many homeowners confused as to who is responsible should they have a drainage problem. It used to be the case that the homeowners themselves were responsible for all the waste water drainage which left their property until it reached the public sewer system. This could even involve a stretch of pipework which was not within your property boundary. The changes meant that all the lateral drains and private sewers would now form part of the public sewer network. Put simply, if any drain on your land is used by more than one property it will now be the local waste water company’s responsibility. It also means that when the drain leaves your boundary it is no longer your responsibility. The changes mean that waste water companies now have thousands of miles of extra drainage to look after which has put them under increasing strain. It’s worth noting that any drainage which is solely used by yourself is still your responsibility and costs for repairs to these pipes must be met by the homeowner.

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Fat-busting bacteria clean up York’s sewers

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

An innovative sewer treatment which uses ‘fat-busting’ bugs began in the sewers of York last week. The process which will take place at various city hot-spots and will see the bugs attack the build-up of fat, oils and grease and hence restore the drainage to its previous working state. The bacillus bacteria used is more commonly found in the human gut but is instead being used in high volumes down the sewers to break down the fatty deposits. The bacteria culture was first used in trials over the Christmas period to cope with the excess fat which gets deposited down the drains at this time of year. But its latest use is the first time Yorkshire Water has launched a sustained attack on the fat in one specific location. Patrick Killgallon, the pollution manager at Yorkshire Water, revealed that over 1,500 blockages were dealt with by drainage experts over the last eight months and the company was keen to adopt a new approach to drain unblocking. He stated:

“The deployment of fat-busting bugs in our sewer network is an example of this, with these ‘good’ bacteria literally feasting on solidified fat in our sewer. And because these bacteria constantly multiply in the right environment, we can leave them to get on with their job in our sewers, seven days a week, 24 hours a day, without the need for regular dosing.”

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Drainage problems solved using drain jetting

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

Most drainage pipes work for years with little problem. Most of us just pour bleach down the drain on a regular basis and that is where our relationship with the drain ceases. However when a drainage problem raises its ugly head it can cause significant problems and thousands of pounds of damage. Although many people are now educated on what can and what can’t be flushed down the drainage system, drain engineers in London still see a wide range of drainage problems which have been caused by people flushing incorrect items down the drain. Non-disposable items include: • Nappies • Wet wipes • Cotton wool buds • Facial wipes • Sanitary wear • Fats and grease All the above items should be disposed of in the general waste and not flushed down the toilet. When blockages do occur most can be removed by the simple process of drain jetting. A jet of water under high pressure is inserted into the drain and the force of the water is usually enough to break through the clog and restore the pipe to its previous waste carrying capacity. If any physical debris has been blocking the drain this can then usually be removed via the nearest manhole cover.

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Drainage professional finds Rolex while cleaning a drain

Friday, February 24th, 2012

Drain cleaners in Essex were amazed to find a stash of watches in a number drains they were cleaning. The watches, including a Rolex, were found during routine drain maintenance in Southend-on-Sea. The Rolex was verified as being a genuine Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph and was valued at around £21,000. Three more watches were found while cleaning other drains in the area, all of which were handed into the Essex police. The police now believe that the watches may be linked to a robbery or burglary in the area. PC Patrick Soontorn stated:

"To find one watch in a drain is one thing. To find three more within feet of one another is another, so that's part of our investigation. "It possibly could be a burglary or a robbery. Someone may have stashed it there and may have forgotten where they've thrown it."
The lucky drain cleaner has been told that if no one claims the watches over the course of the next month, he will be able to keep his find.

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Thames Tunnel must go ahead says Lord Chris Smith

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Lord Chris Smith, the chairman of the Environment Agency, has said that the Thames super-sewer must go ahead to cope with London’s rising population and to preserve the River Thames. A new super-sewer is needed to stop sewer overflows from discharging sewage into the river at times of heavy rainfall. The 32km tunnel would take the pressure off the overloaded drainage pipes and would stop the majority of the overflowing sewage entering the Thames. Lord Smith spoke at a ceremony to mark the anniversary of the London Wildlife Trust, he said:

"London needs a 21st-century sewerage system to bring it up to the standards of other UK and EU cities. The Thames Tideway offers the best value for money and the environment, and will help prevent sewage overflowing into the river after heavy rainfall."
The sewer has seen much opposition since plans were made public, but new proposals which are under consultation should do something to appease most of the opposition. Lord Smith continued:
"The current situation is unacceptable, with 39m cubic metres of raw sewage mixed with surface water run-off discharged in an average year. In wetter years the figure can increase threefold. These discharges occur, on average, once a week – up to 60 times a year – and after as little as 2mm of rain."

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A15 closed to enable sewer clean

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

A major section of the A15 in Peterborough was closed at the end of January so that teams of drainage experts could clear tonnes of fat from the sewers beneath. The Werrington Parkway was closed over the weekend of the 28th of January so drainage engineers could use industrial high pressure jetting equipment to shift the fatty clogs. The work is part of Anglian water’s 12-week programme to clear the sewers between the city centre and Walton. Over the first few weeks of the scheme over 200 tonnes of fat were removed along with baby wipes and other-non-disposable items. A spokesperson for Anglian Water said:

"The sheer amount of material which has accumulated in this sewer over the last few years is incredible. "It really brings home the scale of the problem we are faced with in keeping the sewers clear."
Anglian Water has a sewer cleaning maintenance programme which it undertakes every year to make sure the city’s sewer remain free of fat. In recent months homeowners around the St Paul’s Road and Chaucer Road areas have experienced difficulties when flushing their toilets, hence the A15 road closure.

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Severn Trent repair collapsed sewer

Friday, February 17th, 2012

Severn Trent Water has said that it has now repaired a collapsed sewer which had previously led to raw sewage spilling onto local streets. The waste water company attended the sewer collapse in Welshpool after residents had problems flushing their toilets. The main affected roads were Leighton View and Howell Drive. It took two days for the water company and their contractor to find the problem and clean the homes; it has issued an apology to those affected. Local councillor Phil Pritchard spoke to BBC Wales about the incident. He commented that some of the affected homes belonged to elderly residents and that children had to walk through raw sewage to get to their local infant school. Severn Trent issued a statement in which they said that they had been working with drainage contractor Enterprise to repair the collapse. They said:

"The area was cleansed and jetting took place to clear the sewer and locate the collapse, "Sewer flooding is extremely unpleasant and we would like to apologise to anyone who was affected by this incident,"
The sewer was jetted but needed excavation to repair the damaged section of pipe.

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Sewer outlet blocked by sand causes concern

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

A sewer outlet 1.5 miles out into Morecambe Bay has been blocked by sand, forcing waste water company Untied Utilities to undergo a dramatic sewer unblocking operation. The sewer outlet was blocked by sand at the end of last year, and since then Untied Utilities have had to release untreated sewage from an alternative pipe on a number of occasions. However, they have now set up a temporary rig a mile out to sea, so engineers can jet away the sand from the blocked sewer outlet. Overseeing the project is Lee Bryce from Untied Utilities. He stated:

“Specialist diving teams have been standing by for weeks waiting for a good enough break in the weather to mobilise equipment out to sea. “What we’re hoping for now is a sustained period of calmer seas so that we can get the work done as quickly as possible. “We need about two clear weeks, but it will take longer if the weather is against us. “Work would have to be put on hold for safety reasons if the stormy weather returns.”
Underwater drain jetting techniques are being used to remove the sand from the drainage pipe, with divers in attendance to review the progress of the works.

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