There can be many causes of a blocked drain. But while drain jetting may remove a blockage it is usually impossible to find out what caused the blockage unless a CCTV survey is carried out.

A CCTV survey is the only definitive way a drain inspection company will be able to determine the cause of your drain blockage or the condition of the interior of your pipes. The camera equipment used by drainage experts will be able to examine the internal structure of the pipe in detail and relay the images to a computer where the drainage expert will be able to view them in real time.

A detailed report can be made on the condition of the drainage system with any recommendations made by the drainage company on what needs to be done to bring the pipe network up to standard.

It may be the case that your drainage system is in a good state of repair and the blockage, once removed, might have been the only problem. It could be the case however that the drain needs to be relined or a section of the drain will have to be repaired. In any of these cases your drain inspection engineer will be able to help.

In the last article we discussed the common ways drains can be blocked by putting incorrect substances into your kitchen sink. Here we will discuss what can and cannot be put into the drainage/sewer system from the bathroom.

Nappies and sanitary wear

Many people think that it is ok to put sanitary wear and nappies down the toilet. It’s not. Flushing things like this down the toilet will result in a blockage. The only things that should be put into the toilet are waste products and toilet tissue. Even putting kitchen roll or cotton wool balls into the toilet can cause a blockage so this should also be avoided.


When you have a shower or a bath it’s amazing how much hair can end up in the drainage system. For this reason you should use a plug hole filter over your plug holes in the bath and sink if possible, so hair does not find its way into the system and clog the pipes.

There are of course some occasions that your waste pipes may become blocked for another reason than those already stated. If they do, you should call a drain inspection engineer to have a look at the problem so they can solve the problem and repair or unblock the drainage system.

If you have a blocked drain, the consequences can be nothing more than devastating for the homeowner, in some cases waste water can actually flood into your home. However, most of the blockages that occur in your drainage pipes at home can be avoided by being careful about what you put into your drainage system and following a few simple hints and tips.

In this two part article, we are going to discuss what should not be put down the drain and give you some advice on what you can do to stop drain blockages.

Most drain blockages are caused by the homeowner intentionally or unintentionally putting things into the drainage system that should not be there.

Food stuffs and oil

Many people scrape scraps of food into the kitchen sink and pour waste cooking oil into the drainage system. Both these practices will cause a drain blockage.

Cooking oil and fats will solidify in the drainage system and cause the flow of waste water to be reduced. If enough of these types of substances are put into the drainage system, it can block the pipes totally. Cooking oils and fats should be put into a container and when set should be disposed of in the general waste.

Scraping waste food down the drain can also cause blocked pipes under your sink. Food scraps should always be scraped in the bin. If you use a sink filter over your plug hole, any food that unintentionally finds its way into the sink will be caught by the filter and can be disposed of in the bin.

Continued in part 2.

A road in Waverton, Chester has had to be closed because of a sewer collapse.

Residents noticed there was a problem when the tarmac on the road began to sink leaving a crater in the road. The road in question, Moor Lane, was visited by the highways department who decided to close the road and put a diversion in place. The closure has caused problems for the local post office. Sharon Senior who owns the post office stated:

“We couldn’t believe it. On the Friday when the road was closed it was just dead, and it has been dead all week. We are really struggling now because people aren’t driving past and are just going elsewhere.

“Our business usually drops during the holidays, but this year it had been quite steady, but this is crippling us.”

The local council contacted a drain inspection engineer from United Utilities who was called to the site and quickly determined that a collapsed sewer was the cause of the problem.

A United Utilities spokesperson stated:

“We have established that work will need to be undertaken at two points on the road, one outside the post office and another further down the road. The work is expected to be completed in two weeks. We do obviously sympathise with the owners of the post office. We will do our upmost to get the work done as quickly as possible. It is expected to last two weeks.”

One of the most common causes of drain blockages is root intrusion.

The roots from trees and plants in your garden often find their way into the drainage pipe that leads from your home to the public sewer in their quest for an easy source of water. And because some of the drainage pipes that lead from homes are in excess of 50 years old, their structural integrity is not as it once was. This leads to the connection points between the pipes breaking down and roots getting into the system.

Once in your drainage system, roots will quickly multiply until the root ball created completely blocks your pipe. At this point the waste water that needs to be taken away from your home will no longer be able to flow though the pipe and it will overflow. In some cases this overflow may be into your home and can cause serious damage for the homeowner.

If you have a drain blockage caused by root intrusion, a drainage contractor will use a spinning root cutter to remove the roots from the pipe. They will then use CCTV survey equipment to look at the damage caused and suggest a remedy such as a patch liner repair to solve the problem.

A road in Evesham has remained closed all week after the sewer underneath the road collapsed in three places.

Emergency work was started last week on the sewer in School Road after sewage made its way onto the public highway. Because of which, Severn Trent water drain inspection engineers hastily arranged a meeting with the local council to close the road when it because apparent it was not going to be a quick fix.

A letter was sent to local residents explaining the problem. In the letter the senior operations manager from Severn Trent stated:

“These things are not acceptable, are unpleasant for customers who live nearby and we need to deal with them on an emergency basis.

“We understand that School Road is an important route between parts of Salford Priors village/Irons Cross and Bidford/A46.

“That’s why we are doing the work with a road closure so we can carry it out and complete it as quickly as possible.

“We realise that emergency work such as this can be disruptive but we will do all we can to keep the impact of our works to a minimum while we restore Salford Priors sewage pipe network to full operation”.

The road is expected to reopen this Friday.

Most of us have had to deal with a blocked sink or toilet at some time in our lives. Most of the time the blockage can be removed easily and the waste water can flow freely again. However, on the occasion that the drain cannot be unblocked, what can you do?

If you have attempted to unblock your sink or your toilet and you are still experiencing problems, you may have a larger problem than first anticipated. The best thing to do here is call a drain inspection engineer to assess the problem.

A drainage contractor will have all the necessary tools to unblock the drain and hence you will not have to put your health at risk by coming into contact with ‘dirty’ water.

Drains and sinks can become blocked for a number of reasons, but it’s usually something that’s not biodegradable that has found its way into the drainage system that is the cause of the problem.

Common items likely to block a drain include:

  • Food waste
  • Cooking oils and fats
  • Sanitary wear
  • Nappies

A drainage contractor may use a high pressure jet of water down the drain to remove the blockage, or may suggest a CCTV survey to find the root cause of the problem. No matter the drainage problem they will be able to help.

Motorists are being warned to find an alternative route or expect severe delays on the A34 Queensville in Stafford after a sewer collapsed.

The sewer, which runs under the road surface, had been expected to be repaired quickly, but the discovery of a gas main in the same trench has meant work needed to be halted until the area was confirmed safe by National Grid Gas.

Drain inspection engineers are continuing to assess the best method to repair the drain safely, whilst temporary traffic lights are put in place. A spokesperson for Severn Trent Water stated:

“We’ve not been able to progress further with the sewer pipe repair as we’re still assessing how best to tackle what’s needed.

“The excavated trench contains gas and water pipes as well the damaged sewer pipe, and we need to make sure we take a safe and practicable approach to the repairs.

“In the meantime, the excavation has been safely enclosed by barriers and traffic is able to flow freely past the spot.”

Sewers can often be repaired quite quickly when the problem is found. The drainage contractor will assess the damage and suggest a suitable repair.

Part of the South Circular in London is to remain closed for a further week at least, after emergency repairs are made to part of the sewer system.

The sewerage system that is beneath London Road in Forest Hill collapsed last Friday and needs to be rebuilt. Diversions are in place around the work which is near Sainsbury’s supermarket and it is estimated the works will not be complete for another week at least.

Thames Water is carrying out the repairs to the drainage system and are rebuilding part of the sewer. A spokesperson for Thames Water stated:

“The rebuild of this section of sewer is expected to take about two weeks.

“We are really sorry for the inconvenience this is causing road-users.”

Although on a smaller scale than the sewer system on London Road, a collapsed drain that leads from your home to the public sewer system can have devastating consequences for the homeowner. The waste water will not be able to flow into the sewer and in the worst cases can back up into your home.

If you do have a damaged waste pipe, it’s important to instigate a repair quickly. A drainage contractor will asses the damage and be able to offer the most appropriate solution.

Blocked drains need prompt attention to stop the problem worsening. A blocked drain can stop the waste water from your home reaching the public sewer, meaning that the waste may flood into your garden or in the worst cases, into your home.

A professional drain cleaning engineer can assess your drain blockage and offer a suitable solution to the problem. They will likely first suggest drain jetting, which uses a high power jet of water down the drain to disperse the clog. When the blockage is removed, the drain engineer will need to find the cause of the blockage and suggest a suitable remedy.

Most drain blockages are caused by putting non-biodegradable products into the drainage system such as nappies, sanitary wear, contraceptives, oils and fats and garden debris. If your blockage was caused by one of these items, it is likely no further action will be needed. However, if the problem was caused by a collapsed drain or a crack in the pipe where waste can collect, further work may be needed.

It’s not always the case that the drainage company will have to dig an area to replace the drainage pipe. In some cases, the drain can be lined using a drain liner, which is inserted into the damaged section of pipe and so making the repair.