Sinkholes seem to be on the increase in the UK and some of them are the result of human activity as well as persistently wet weather. Periods of prolonged heavy rain or flooding are most likely to expose these holes, when water gradually dissolves around soluble bedrock, but also the sudden drainage of groundwater can make them happen. Alongside these natural causes, deterioration of manmade, underground sewage pipes can also cause sinkholes.

Clearly the appearance of a sinkhole is an obvious visual clue to there being something wrong, but a drain survey can have a part to play in ensuring that drainage networks don’t reach the stage of deterioration where sinkholes can occur.

Smaller, but Inconvenient All the Same

Although sinkholes in the UK are generally not more than a few dozen feet deep, they are, nonetheless, an inconvenience, and can be an indicator that drainage or sewage systems are in decline.

Sinkholes can open up nearby large building developments because of water being prevented soaking into rock and instead running off into surrounding land – another example where poor drainage is a big contributory factor.

Rapid Response

A drain survey is an essential tool in tackling drainage issues because it can help ascertain issues before they cause serious disruption. Drain surveys also help with a rapid response in the detection and diagnosis of drain problems, which is a real benefit if things have got to the sinkhole stage.

Sonar drain tracing and CCTV cameras are essential components of the state-of-the-art drain survey. They minimise the environmental impact while providing a detailed view of what’s going on underground.

When we undertake a drain survey on behalf of our clients, we thoroughly assess the local drainage network using this technology. Where we’ve come across drainage problems, or deterioration in the network, we provide a clear set of recommended actions, based on a full report, which includes a DVD of the CCTV footage taken.


A drain survey isn’t simply a nice to have added extra: it’s essential in dealing with drainage issues, whether preventing them or fixing them.

If you’re told you need a drainage investigation does the prospect fill you with dread? Perhaps you’re anticipating a great deal of disruption and disturbance. You should be aware, however, that in fact we can conduct a drainage investigation in such a way as to cause minimum disruption, and in fact, by having a drainage investigation, you’re more likely to avoid damage and disturbance at a later date.

Saving the Day

Drainage problems can often be best approached sensitively. What this involves is diligent investigation and a proper assessment and analysis of the symptoms presented. For example, interior damp patches and unexpected puddles may come from hidden damage to drainage culverts. If rainwater is gathering in pools, rather than draining away, this is an ideal opportunity to use CCTV technology to survey the drainage system.

The drainage investigation is done with precision, using state-of-the-art technology, in order to be able to accurately detect the source of drainage problems. We may have to excavate to expose drainage deterioration, but a CCTV drain survey will ensure that we have all the information to hand before doing so. This is like surgery for utilities, using knowledge and professional techniques to get to the heart of a problem and fix it.


Access All Areas

Using technology to detect drainage problems means we can get into places where otherwise there might be an issue regarding potential disruption. Technology has increased the effectiveness of drainage investigations while decreasing disturbance.

We have even worked on holy ground, where we’ve provided new pipework following very sensitive excavations. In this instance, we consulted the church and had discussions on the nature of the required work and how best to proceed. These discussions eventually included on-site advice and help from both an archaeologist and a priest.

Drainage investigations can sound like trouble, with the potential for extensive digging-up. But in reality, much of the work involves CCTV and sonar drain tracing, minimising any disturbance, while giving us valuable information in order to be able to carry out remedial and preventative work effectively.