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What is the Danger from Drainage Misconnections?

Water pollution is a serious issue, whether it’s chemicals from factories or the pollution caused by domestic consumers and misconnections of household appliances.

If misconnections happen, then foul waste may be discharged into a surface water network. This can then cause serious pollution.

One of the ways of revealing misconnections and diagnosing cross-contamination is by drain tracing.

The Risks of Cross Contamination

From the 1920s onwards, the UK water industry has worked to keep foul waste water and storm or surface water systems separate.

This is to ensure that sewage treatment plants are not having to deal with large amounts of rainwater on top of the considerable volumes of foul waste water.

Storm water should reach soak-aways, or rivers, while foul waste goes into sewage treatment.

However, where there are misconnections, foul waste may find its way into the storm water system, with a consequent pollution threat to rivers.

This pollution can be from faecal waste, but also chemicals from washing machine detergents.

Risk and Responsibility

Surveys of residential areas have found significant percentages of appliances misconnected, meaning they were emptying directly into rivers and streams.

Often this is not deliberately malicious, but arises from people not understanding the sewage system.

It may be that, for example, a washing machine kept in the garage has been connected to the nearest outlet, but that this may in fact be a storm drain, and not meant for waste water.

There are also plumbing innovations, such as saniflo, that allow for a toilet to be fitted pretty much anywhere. However, it must still be connected correctly so that it discharges into the foul water system.

There are consequences: the homeowner is responsible. There can also be problems if you misconnect a storm or surface outlet to the sewer, leading to the sewer flooding.

Remedial Action

The temptation is simply to connect to the nearest available drain – this often occurs with new builds and extensions.

If this is the case, it may not be immediately obvious that there has been a misconnection.

This is where drain tracing comes in. Sonar technology allows us to use sound to build up an accurate picture of a drainage network.

If you are the owner of a property, you must be sure your drains are connected properly, and legally.

We can make sure you know, and take the right action to resolve any misconnections leading to cross-contamination.

Contact Drainage Consultants today to find out more.