October 2012 -

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Drain jetting and root removal

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

Many homeowners take great care of their possessions and their property and spend lots of time making sure that they have the latest things and replacing things when their get old or break. This is just a natural human instinct and is something we all do. However when things are out of sight they often get forgotten about and aren’t dealt with until problems occur. There must be thousands of people in the UK who get important post and file it away in a drawer out of sight and ‘out of mind’. It’s only when they find they need that important post does the scale of the problem present itself and hours have to be spent sorting out the accumulation of many months of paperwork. Similarly, because the drains that leaves your home are underground they too often get forgotten about until you have a problem, although there is a good chance that the drainage is decades old. Drain maintenance Not many people realise the importance of drain maintenance. We all have our cars serviced and even our central heating boiler serviced, but rarely do we have our drainage serviced until a problem occurs – which can often be the most expensive way of realising that drain maintenance is important. Drain blockages The first sign a drainage problem will present itself will usually be as a slow draining sink or a toilet which won’t take the water away. When you notice these problems this is the time to act. If you leave these problems unattended there is a likelihood that the problem will only get worse and cause sewer flooding in your garden or even worse in your home. Drain jetting If you have a blockage a drainage company in London will usually be able to solve the problem quite quickly. They will first try to

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Wantage sewage works complete

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

Thames Water has just revealed that they have completed their works at Wantage which will stop sewage being released into a rare Oxfordshire chalk stream. The sewage works will stop raw sewage entering Letcombe Brook, famously depicted in On Leaving Wantage by Sir John Betjeman. The upgrade works have seen Thames Water install a storm-overflow capacity tank and waste water treatment quality improved. As well as the new overflow tank, three new pumps will make sure that the plant can cope with the increased amount of water during times of heavy rainfall. The £5.4m project is the latest in a string of projects Thames Water are currently undertaking to improve the water quality fed back into the region’s streams and brooks. The director of sustainability at Thames Water, Richard Aylard said:

"The works operate well at the moment, but what we're doing is increasing the capacity to make sure it can continue to do so in the future. "Treated wastewater makes up part of the flow of Letcombe Brook, so keeping the quality high, means a healthy river downstream. "You can see this knock-on effect, with all the bugs, birds and other wildlife that are thriving in this globally rare natural habitat."
The brook is the home of native species such as brook lampreys, water voles and white-clawed crayfish.

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Autumn and your drains

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

As autumn is upon us, now is a crucial time to consider the maintenance of your drainage system. The leaves on the trees are all turning beautiful orange-red-brown colours, meaning that they are getting ready to fall. Once they do begin to fall however, they will inevitably make their way into the drain gullies around your property. This can lead to blocked drains, and consequential damage to your property. In the autumn the volume of leaves and debris that falls to the ground is significant, and the increase in rain and wind means that this is washed straight towards your drainage system. Domestic drainage is not designed to cope with such volumes of waste. It is therefore important to invest time in keeping your drains in good working order, now more than ever. Simply spending time regularly cleaning the leaves and autumn debris from the drains can make a huge difference, and prevent a serious blockage developing. However, make sure that you keep your eyes open for any animals that may be lurking amongst the piles of leaf debris. Hedgehogs, frogs and lots of insects will be taking refuge, so you may want to wear gloves. By keeping your drains free from debris, you will allow them to perform their function properly, moving waste water away from your property and stopping drainage clogs in their tracks.

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Easy ways to maintain your drains

Saturday, October 13th, 2012

There are a number of simple steps you can take to keep your drains in good working order. Mostly these are simple actions but they can have a significant benefit and prevent more costly repairs in the future. Keeping your drains free from debris is an easy and very important job if you want to keep your drains in good condition. If you do this it will minimise the chance of problems occurring in the future. From leaves to litter, the wind and rain can deposit many unwanted items in your drains, and it is crucial to remove these on a regular basis to prevent a blockage occurring. Ensuring that liquid fats are not deposited down the drain is another simple step to take to keep your drains problem free. Fats produced in the kitchen are disposed of by some people down the kitchen sink. Unfortunately the fats then thicken and rapidly form blockages causing damage to the pipework. By allowing the fat to cool and harden and then putting it in the bin, your drains will be saved from potential damage. It’s also important to have your drains cleaned from time to time, which will help to keep them in a good working condition, prevent blockages and reduce the chance of damage.

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Sewage leak in Waltham Abbey kills fish

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

A sewage leak which killed dozens of fish in a brook in the market town of Waltham Abbey has been blamed on a ‘hideous fatberg’ by Thames Water after they completed their investigations. It seems that raw sewage seeped from pipes in Broomstick Hall Road into Cobbins Brook on the 11th of September. This was directly attributed to a blockage in a nearby waste water pipe caused by a build up of fat. The Environment Agency officers on the scene confirmed that the leak had happened and that it had been stemmed by Thames Water workers before they arrived. A spokesperson for Thames Water confirmed in the Epping Forest Guardian:

“A blockage of fats and oils caused sewage to back up and enter the nearby stream. “We have been working closely with the Environment Agency to clear this up and save as much of the wildlife as possible but this is an unfortunate consequence of sewer abuse.”
The fish died as a result of being poisoned by the contaminated water. The spokesperson continued:
"They may pour [fat] down the sink easily enough, but when it hits our cold sewers it forms hideous fatbergs, and causes blockages like this. "When it comes to anything other than water, human waste, or toilet paper - remember to bin it, don't block it."

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Thames Tideway Tunnel scheme seeks independent financial advisor

Friday, October 5th, 2012

After more than a year trying to sort out the Thames Tideway Tunnel project financing, Thames Water are to turn to an independent advisor as they work out how to source the required funds. Thames Water has been in constant touch with the government and Ofwat about the tunnel scheme, but it seems that hiring an independent advisor is the only way to get the scheme off the ground. Big names in the banking world are readying themselves for the tender process including HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, UBS and Merrill Lynch. The Thames Tideway Tunnel project is essential to stop the Victorian sewers discharging raw sewage into the River Thames at times of heavy rainfall. At present only 2mm of rain has to fall before the Victorian sewer system cannot cope and emergency overflows direct the rainwater and raw sewage into the river. When the tunnel is complete it will carry the rain water and sewage to a new improved treatment works to the east of the city. As part of the tenure the investment bank will have to work in a financing structure which will achieve a credit rating of Baa1. Thames Tideways managing director Michael Gerrard is hoping to tender the financing and construction project early next year.

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Kevin McCloud uses ‘fatbergs’ to power his transit van

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

Sewer cleaners in London are aware of the ‘fatbergs’ which lie in the sewers beneath the city, but they came as a bit of a shock to Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud when he filmed his new Television series for Channel 4 - ‘Kevin McCloud’s Man made Home’. The presenter was seen just last week on the Channel 4 show wading through the depths of the capital’s sewer systems as he looked for an environmentally friendly way to power his bespoke home in the woods. And the idea which he hit upon was to use the alternative energy source provided by the free ‘fatbergs’. Fatbergs are a congealed mass of cooking fat, which occur when oil, lard and other fats are poured down the drains in the capital by unsuspecting homeowners. They form into thick gluey masses of fatty gunge and pose a serious problem for London drain cleaners. In the programme Kevin harvested two buckets of the foul smelling fat, which he commented was the “most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen”. He hoped the fat would provide a fuel source for his transit van and power oil lamps. One bucket of the fat was enough to power his van for twenty minutes and illuminate a lamp for one hour. Kevin said on the programme:

“It might be difficult to get hold of, but if we don’t stop wastefully chucking all our cooking fat and oil down the drain, cars and homes powered by sewer fatbergs might well become a thing of the near future.”

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New sand filtering tanks installed at Sandhurst Wastewater Treatment Works

Monday, October 1st, 2012

Southern Water has employed the use of sand to make their waste water treatment procedures more environmentally friendly. In a project at the Sandhurst Wastewater Treatment Works in Kent, Southern Water have installed huge sand filtering tanks which waste water is fed through to give it an extra polish before it is released to the environment. The site upgrade is costing Southern Water £1m and is being carried out by their contractor 4Delivery. The project manager on the scheme is Julie Anne Stokes, she said:

“The upgrade has reached a key stage now that the sand has been poured into the tanks. “By using specialist methods we can ensure the wastewater recycled back to the environment from this site continues to meet stringent Environment Agency standards.”
The works have now reached a key stage in the proceedings as the thirty tonnes of sand which is being used has now been poured into the filtering tanks. The project is well on target to be completed by the original deadline of early next year.

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