News

The difference between sewers, drains and lateral drains is not something you usually come across at school, so you can quite easily be forgiven for not knowing which name refers to what.

When it comes to your property and its connecting drainage system, it is worth finding out what these terms actually mean and how they relate to you. Otherwise you may get them confused and speak about one when you really mean another.

Many people did not realise, but the ownership of drains and the responsibility for looking after certain types changed towards the end of last year and so it is important to understand how this applies to you and your home.

The following are explanations for some of the most common types:

  • The drain – this is a waste pipe serving just the one residence
  • Lateral drains – these relate to the drainage pipes sitting just outside of the boundary of your property
  • The sewer – finally, these are wastewater pipes serving a number of properties. With these systems, they can be privately as well as publicly owned.

To clarify, the homeowner is responsible for all private drains which are within the boundary of the property. So, if you ever have any issue with your drains, be sure to speak to the specialists.

Sheffield residents have been invited by regional water company Yorkshire Water to find out more about the benefits of the Blackburn Meadows sewage treatment works scheme.

The customer drop-in event is being held this Tuesday to let the local people know more about the £78 million plans to update the current system.

If you want to see what the water company have to say on the subject, and to air your own views, you can turn up at Tinsley Green Community Centre on Norborough Road.

As well as being informed about the work to reduce the flooding risk in Sheffield, you can learn more about how the environment will be affected too, with the scheme aiming to improve the quality of river water in addition to giving a boost to biodiversity.

The work is set to go ahead at the end of this month and will last until September 2014 as most of the treatment facilities at the plant will have to be replaced.

Yorkshire Water Project Manager, Kevin Smith, said:

“This iconic works is nestled right in the heart of Sheffield’s industrial waterfront, and like many works in the area, it has to move with the times. We are significantly changing the face of Blackburn Meadows to create a much cleaner, healthier environment for residents and riverlife alike.”

For commercial enterprises located in major cities and surrounding areas, drainage maintenance can often be an issue. This due to the fact that the sewer system has usually been in place for many years and as time has worn on, the drains can be damaged from blockages and general wear.

If the drains servicing your premises become blocked or are in need of repair work ,rather than having to keep calling out a drainage contractor every once in a while for something quite substantial, why not make use of an annual contract instead?

By tackling any problems before they are allowed to escalate, you can ensure that the drains around your building are constantly flowing and working as they should. You wouldn’t want anything to disrupt the work that you do and so a commercial contract with the drain specialists can really work out better in the long term.

This gives you peace of mind that sanitation in your commercial establishment will not become an issue and your facilities can continue to be used as they are at present, without any disruptions.

When you agree to this contract, you can expect a drain inspection to be carried out on a regular basis, with the pipework checked to see that everything is in full working order. They are also available at any time of the day or night for any type of drain emergency.

It has been reported recently that a 100-year-old sewerage system in the cathedral city of Salisbury in Wiltshire has now been repaired, thanks to a £200,000 renovation project.

Almost 500 metres of pipework was either replaced or relined due to damage in certain areas. A drain inspection managed to highlight the problem with the CCTV survey showing that it was a serious enough issue that needed to be addressed.

In fact, Wessex Water’s Alex Aulds revealed that if no action had been taken to rectify the situation, the sewers were at risk of collapsing or bursting in the near future.

While the drain engineers were at work, a number of traffic diversions and road closures had to be put in place as temporary measures.

Mr Aulds added that now the problem had been addressed, they did not foresee any further issues when he said:

“The sewers now have an expected longevity of 100 years and the work will ensure that any future risk of collapse or damage is significantly reduced.”

Trenchless technology was used to ensure the work could be completed within the specific timeframe, with these techniques meaning the road did not have to be dug up so the workers could gain access to the sewer.

The recent sewer upgrade work which has just begun in Hessle, in the East Riding of Yorkshire, is just part of a larger investment to be spread across the region.

While £770,000 has been put aside for the town, the water company is to devote £120 million to making sure that treatment facilities and the sewer network are up to standard.

Those homeowners that may have suffered from sewer flooding in the past will be the main beneficiaries of these works as the investment will reduce the risk for hundreds of homes throughout Yorkshire.

When storm conditions are prevalent, there is a greater risk that the sewer system will not be able to cope and so flooding was often the unfortunate result of this.

Yorkshire Water has made sure that locals are aware of what is being planned for their area and how they can stand to benefit from these works.

Yorkshire Water project manager, Dominic Cunney, said:

“We believe, like our customers, that sewer flooding is unacceptable. And whilst we can’t tackle the problem by ourselves, this latest investment underlines our continuing commitment to playing our part in helping to reduce the risk of sewer flooding to our customers and operating as a responsible company dedicated to providing customers with the best possible service.”

Shop owners in the Lincolnshire town of Holbeach received some great news this week that many had been waiting for nearly 20 years – drainage work has now been started in Fleet Street.

People had complained that spray from flooding that collects during periods of heavy rain had ruined buildings and caused many more issues for residents and business owners.

Lincolnshire County Council are now looking to solve the problem once and for all after being granted funding from the Flood Defence Grant In Aid Scheme, run by the Environment Agency, which has agreed to contribute nearly all of the £75,000 in costs for this work to proceed.

After a particularly bad flash storm flooding incident in 2007 where a river of water flowed by the Fleet Street shops, many called for action to be taken.

Engineers will be installing a new drainage pipe beneath the road as part of the scheme, while putting in manholes to discharge any excess water, taking it to the existing Damgate drainage system.

Coun Eddy Poll said:

“We’re delighted to have received this additional funding from the Environment Agency. These areas all have a history of flooding and we only have to think back to 2007 to remember the devastating impact that it can have on people’s lives.”

When it comes to repairing drainage pipes, root intrusion is one of the most common issues drainage engineers have to face. This is because these roots can bore their way into the system by pushing through minute fissures and cracks in the surface of the pipes.

One in there, they can soon multiply once they enter the drains as water is so readily available. At its worst, the problem with root intrusion can prevent water from flowing through the drain completely.

drainage contractor will make use of the latest technology to take on these types of blockages to avoid the need for drain excavation. The roots can be removed from the drainage pipes using a method known in the industry as trenchless technology.

This work is undertaken by inserting a spinning root cutter into the drain pipes with the equipment able to cut the roots back all the way to the inside lining of the pipe. Once this has been achieved, to prevent the problem returning, a liner is then set inside the drainage system to form a barrier which roots cannot penetrate.

In larger cities, root intrusion is a growing issue, especially when improvements haven’t been made for some time on an aging drain system. The drainage maintenance experts are then required to tackle these troublesome roots.

Drainage engineers up and down the country are constantly having to tackle the problems that fat can cause when it blocks our sewerage systems.

A recent trial in York has seen fat-busting bacteria being put to good use by eating up the fact beneath this historic city. So far the signs seem to show it has been a success. Extreme methods like this are becoming more commonplace as drainage experts look to find new ways to remove fat from building up in the drains.

However, this issue wouldn’t be half as big as it is today if people didn’t contribute to the problem by pouring liquid fat down their sinks on a regular basis.

When homeowners do this, drain blockages can occur in the sewers in the road adjacent to their properties.
This is due to the fact fat can accumulate and as soon as it cools down, it becomes attached to the pipe wall and the wastewater flow is unable to loosen it. Over time, other debris is added to it and this just increases the chances of blockages happening here.

Fat traps are now available for homeowners to use and collect the fat they use during cooking. This way, once it has cooled and solidified, it can then be safely disposed of in the general waste.

The Environment Agency has announced it is to provide a further £4.6million towards Todmorden’s flood defences.

This is all part of a scheme worth £32million in total that will offer protection to 658 properties at risk of flooding from Walsden Water.

To prevent it from overflowing, a wall spanning 500 metres is already being put in place by Rochdale Road.

These funds have been allocated for the 2012/13 financial year to provide better protection for homes and businesses in the Yorkshire area.

According to sources at the EA and Defra, £2.6million is to go towards schemes managed by local authorities, with £600,000 devoted to projects overseen by the Internal Drainage Boards within the region.

Despite this good news for those living in the region, regional flood and coastal risk manager Phil Younge has warned that people will still need to be ready for any adverse weather.

He explained:

“Whilst continued investment is crucial, flooding cannot always be prevented so communities must also take responsibility for being prepared – for example by signing up to the Environment Agency’s free flood warning service.”

The Environment Agency has targeted better protection for 145,000 nationwide by the year 2015 and is on track to exceed this at the present time.

Yorkshire Water has recently begun major works on sewer systems that will reduce the risk of flooding in Shipley West Yorkshire. This £600,000 upgrade project is being carried out in partnership with engineers Mott MacDonald Bentley.

The engineers are to improve the sewerage systems by installing a huge underground storage tank which has the capacity to hold up to 650,000 litres of wastewater at any time.

This work was given to go ahead in a bid to alleviate the risk of flooding to local residential properties in the Yorkshire town, which is not far from Bradford. Storm water will be collected in the tank during wet weather before being released into the sewer network.

Yorkshire Water has been looking at projects which are worthy of its £120million investment budget and these works to improve the sewer and treatment facilities will ensure that heavy rainfall is not able to cause the level of damage experienced in the past.

The upgrade, located off Bradford Road, was deemed to be necessary, especially with an increase in housing development throughout the region which has meant existing storage was at capacity levels.

Project manager at Yorkshire Water, Dominic Cunney, said:

“This work is being carried out to improve our sewerage system in the area and ensure its best placed to meet the growing demands it comes under, particularly during periods of exceptionally heavy rainfall.”

Instead of waiting for a problem to occur with the drainage system servicing your premises, it is always better to keep it well maintained. It makes sense from a business perspective as emergency plumbing can often prove more expensive than deciding on planned maintenance.

By agreeing for a reputable drainage contractor to come round to your offices or place of business to carry out routine maintenance you can avoid many of the issues which can result from drain negligence.

With an annual contract, you can benefit from a call-out service which will look after everything to do with drainage for your company to ensure that nothing gets in the way of what you do.

Whether your business is in the hospitality industry and has to deal with food waste on a regular basis or a company located within a large office building, even though the issues may be different, you still need to be aware of drain maintenance.

Having peace of mind is important and when you can rely on the drainage experts to come to your aid and keep the system flowing at all times, this is certainly an assurance worth investing in.

Fife Council has revealed that drainage problems were to blame for the delay of the planned road closure on City Road in St Andrews recently.

Resurfacing works were expected to begin on the road last week, but due to these unexpected circumstances this had to be put on hold until the drainage situation was sorted out.

It was originally planned to go ahead on 12 February and last until the following weekend, but it had to be postponed until the drainage maintenance had been carried out on the road. Once this was rectified the planned roundabout resurfacing project could finally go ahead.

When it comes to drainage in circumstances like this one, it is always wise to get the problem sorted out as soon as possible, so it is safe for motorists to use the road again. Any works in the pipeline can then resume once the drainage system has been inspected and it is deemed that flooding is not likely to be an issue.

Whether it is road drainage or a residential pipework situation, it is highly recommended you get the specialists in, leaving this essential work to an experienced drainage contractor.

Water companies such as United Utilities in the North West are very determined in educating those living in their area to understand more about what happens when items are disposed of in the wrong way.

This is certainly understandable when you consider that United Utilities is expected to cope with a minimum of 40,000 blockages in the sewerage system during 2012.

The latest Consumer Council for Water statistics show that around half of all sewer flooding cases and three quarters of sewer blockages are due to the fact that householders put unsuitable items down the sink or toilet.

One campaign which has been well-received by the public is the What Not To Flush campaign devised by United Utilities. This scheme was created to encourage their customers to be more considerate of their drain pipes, by avoiding doing the things that often lead to blockages in the system.

In this day and age with many convenient products entering the marketplace, it is easy to get complacent over what should and shouldn’t be allowed to enter the sewerage system. These flushable items are not what this term would suggest and so can cause problems with the flow of wastewater down there.

A survey carried out by north west water company United Utilities last year revealed some worrying findings for households up and down the country.

They looked at many items manufactured by the leading hygiene brands and found that the advice on their products was actually misleading their customers.

With many products like cotton wool, make-up wipes and baby wipes the packaging described them as being safe to dispose of down the toilet, or did not contain clear advice at all.

This has only served to compound the problem of people flushing away items that simply were not designed to enter the drainage and sewerage system.

In fact, the knock-on effect of this has led to thousands of families experiencing drainage problems such as wastewater flooding caused by these kinds of pipe blockages. As well as causing havoc in homes, this also has an effect on the flooding of roads, while river pollution is another concern.

Regional wastewater network manager for United Utilities, Mike Wood, said:

“These products are the bane of our sewer engineers’ lives. There is a wipe for everything these days, but most of these products don’t break down like toilet tissue, and so build up and form giant plugs in our sewers and customers’ toilet pipes.

“They are directly responsible for thousands of incidents of sewer flooding, yet all too often, disposal advice on these products is missing or misleading.”

According to recent reports the water company is set to put money towards an investigation of the sewerage and drainage systems in Goole, a town that was victim to flash flooding during the summer of 2010.

The study is to cost Yorkshire Water £275,000 to complete as it is all part of pump improvements recommended by a report published by East Riding of Yorkshire Council.

It was estimated that over 64mm in rainfall came down in within an hour resulting in widespread flooding of residential properties back in August of last year.

The water company admitted responsibility for the failed pumping station and so the study will form part of an assessment as to the suitability of the current drain systems in the town, with all pumps in the vicinity to be tested. Additional construction work on surface water sewers is being looked at too as they work together with the council.

Flood strategy manager at Yorkshire Water, Wendy Kimpton, said:

“No drainage system could realistically have been expected to cope with the sheer volume of rain which fell over a very short period on 3 August 2011.

“The subsequent flooding had a traumatic impact on many people in the town and it’s incumbent on all the agencies involved to continue to work together to minimise the risk of flooding in the future.”

Water companies are usually quite vocal when it comes to letting their customers know about the best ways to look after the drains servicing their homes. However, United Utilities is particularly active in the North West area and has a number of ongoing campaigns that highlight the problem of blocked drainage and how this can be avoided.

One of these campaigns is on their website and is aimed at parents. The Mums Know Best page is packed full of useful information to help mums and dads save time as well as money on maintaining their drains.

United Utilities is keen to point out that many bathroom products contain advice which is misleading to consumers. Research they conducted last year showed that everyday items like make-up wipes, cotton wool and baby wipes are being disposed of in a way that is contributing to problems for many households.

As these hygiene products are being disposed of down the toilet, this is adding to drainage issues such as clogged pipes as well as leading to the sewerage system being unable to cope. In some cases wastewater has overflowed into homes and gardens as well as flooding roads and entering rivers too.

Just before Christmas United Utilities reminded families living in the North West that they needed to think carefully before deciding to pour turkey fat into the drainage system.

This advice was offered so they didn’t face blocked pipes and huge repair costs when entering the new year. Hopefully, this time the usual million pints of fat was not disposed of in this way.

Regional wastewater network manager for the water company, Mike Wood, said at the time:

“Fat and grease cause more than half the sewer blockages we deal with every year. At Christmas, the volume of cooking fat entering the sewers goes up dramatically – which can spell big headaches for our engineers, and for households.

“When the fat cools, it hardens, clogging pipes and causing wastewater to spill out into streets, streams, rivers and even homes and gardens. And it’s not just our sewer pipes that suffer. Household pipes can get blocked too, resulting in hefty bills.

“We’re advising all our customers to pour their fat and oil into a container, and once cooled, scrape it out into the bin. It’s the surest way to avoid a messy and expensive Christmas.”

This is just one of the ways that people misuse their drains and so it is important to think very carefully about what you pour away down the sink and the toilet.

Following three successful events at the end of last year, Anglian Water is all set to continue with its Keep it Clear roadshow when it visits four more communities over the next few months.

Featuring such things as interactive displays, live presentations, demonstrations as well as giveaways, those living in the region will be able to go away from the event knowing more about looking after the drains in their gardens, kitchens and bathrooms than they did before.

The water company have used this fun idea to deliver a very serious message and have designed the programme to educate people in this part of the country about how to prevent drainage issues due to flushing the wrong products down the drains.

If you live near Southend-on-Sea, Northampton or Lincoln, you may want to get on down to the roadshow and learn all about dealing with kitchen food waste from the resident chef, understand how a plumber can fit products that reduce the amount of water used in a household and find out the best ways to make use of water within the home.

The first of these dates takes place on Saturday 21 at the Grosvenor Centre in Northampton.

Staff at Thames Water decided to make a serious point using Christmas Carols last month when they posted a YouTube video of themselves singing a reworded classic to highlight the issues of fat disposal in the sewerage system.

They were all dressed up in suitable festive attire for the occasion as they sang to the tune of ‘Deck the Halls’. The main point they were trying to make is that when people have finished their Christmas dinner, they should not use the drainage pipes to dispose of their unwanted fats used in the cooking.

A Victorian brick sewer in London was used to film the sketch where they hoped the message would get across to residents of the capital. In the city the problem of fat disposal poured down the sink makes their jobs much more difficult.

Rob Smith, the lead chorister of the singing sewermen and worker at Thames Water, said:

"The sewermens’ war cry is: ‘Bin it – don’t block it.’ We are hell-bent on stopping hideous 'fat bergs,' which block sewers and can cause it to back-up into people’s homes and gardens, which is utterly hideous. We’re committed to preventing sewer blockages but we need people’s help. Listen to our song: ‘You must bin it – please don’t block it.’ Got it?"

Quite a lot has changed in the way that a drainage contractor would approach a situation. This is mainly down to the fact that they can call on trenchless technology which means that a road does not always have to be dug up in order for new pipes to be laid.

An assessment of the area will determine what method is required but the latest drainage equipment and processes mean that the job is so much more efficient these days.

CCTV surveys are used by the professionals to access a particular drainage system. Instead of physically having to check the pipes to see what the cause of the blockage actually is, they can now carry out this technique which utilises a camera to see what is going on in the pipe.

By making good use of such things as CCTV surveys, a drainage engineer can analyse the blockage and suggest an appropriate course of action, all of which will be detailed in the report produced for the client.

Due to these advancements in technology, it makes the nature of the job so much more cost effective for the customer, while the drainage contractor can carry out their work in a much more efficient manner.

You can consider yourself fortunate or very conscientious if you have never had the misfortune of dealing with drainage issues within the home. A blocked drain or one badly in need of repair can really inconvenience a homeowner and cause a number of problems.

This is when you might need to call on a reputable drainage contractor to come round and tackle a blockage that cannot be dealt with using the basic drainage maintenance techniques.

If you go to a top provider of drainage services you can expect them to arrive promptly to assess the situation and ensure that any disruption to your daily life will be kept to an absolute minimum.

In addition to being available to assist with everyday blockages, an experienced contractor is also able to offer a number of other more specialist services including the following:

  • Drainage maintenance and cleaning contracts – regular servicing of the drains can help to prevent the need for costly repairs and ensure the system is kept flowing
  • CCTV surveys – this technology allows the engineer to see what is going on inside the drain pipes and any issues can be highlighted through the process, with a report published on the findings
  • 24 hour operation – having the option to call out the company at any time of the day or night is a huge help to many commercial customers.

Christmas is usually regarded as a time for relaxation and spending time with family and friends. However, this is also one of the busiest periods of the year for those involved with drainage maintenance. This is because these specialists are required to sort out the added strain put on the sewerage system.

When people have tucked into their Christmas dinners and have to deal with the leftovers, they often think nothing of pouring away all the fat from their turkey down the sink. Most householders do not do this wittingly of course, but it can actually lead to drainage blockages and other problems during the holidays.

So next time you have a roast dinner and are tempted to dispose of the fats in this way, think again and consider what the implications are for the sewerage system and the fact these liquids can soon solidify down there and cause blockages.

Instead, you should think carefully about the sorts of things poured down the sink and flushed in the toilet as they can end up in emergency repair work for drainage companies who have to try and remedy the problems caused to the network. Due to the work put in by these specialists, our drains can remain trouble-free through Christmas and New Year.

Forgetting about the drains servicing our home is quite an easy thing to do as it is something which does not usually affect us every day. However, it is one of those things which can soon escalate into a much bigger problem, should be neglect this maintenance area.

As a property owner it is your duty to look after your building and ensure that the drainage system is kept flowing. To achieve this you may be required to perform basic maintenance every now and again.

Obviously if there is a major issue then it is necessary to call on the drainage experts to come round and assess the situation. However, most minor issues can be sorted out with just a little bit of know-how.

Some drain maintenance tasks when carried out on a regular basis can reduce the chances of something completely unexpected happening which might cause a lot more trouble and stress.

When it comes to the kitchen and bathroom, you can keep on top of the situation by watching what is poured down or flushed into the drains. That goes for everyone in the household as people need to work together to keep the system working as it was designed to.

It is no wonder that most businesses now decide to go for a drainage maintenance contract rather than call out a contractor when required as they know that they will need their help within the very near future.

One of the many drainage problems affecting companies is scaling which can accumulate on the inside of the pipes, thus reducing its efficiency. After a while this build-up of debris can result in blockages and further issues.

With a contract, you can simply contact the professionals at any time of the day and get them to sort out the thing affecting your operations. If it is scaling on the pipes then this can be removed using specialist mechanical equipment.

Scale deposits can be removed on a regular basis due to the fact that you have signed up for maintenance to be carried out throughout the year. You can have total peace of mind that scale will never be allowed to build up in the pipes for long.

As well as sorting out the scaling, the drainage maintenance contractor can check out the rest of the drainage system to ensure that everything is flowing as it should, letting you get on with the task of running your business.

With winter now well and truly upon us it is important not to neglect important areas of our homes and workplaces when the freezing conditions start to set in.

Drainage is one of those things that can cause many problems at this time of year due to the weather and so it is necessary to plan ahead.

In addition to freezing water supply pipes, this can cause other issues such as once the snow and ice starts to melt. The drains that service our properties may not be able to cope with this excessive amount of water and this puts pressure on the entire drainage system.

Therefore, as with the maintenance engineers who service the main system, you need to be aware of this issue so it does not affect your home and lead to burst drainage pipes or flooding.

You also need to check the drainage pipes outside your property to see that they are not blocked by leaves. This can further exasperate the problem as the water has nowhere to go and certainly can’t drain away as it usually would.

If you do experience any of these problems, get in touch with your local drainage maintenancecontractor as they will be able to get everything going again.

It has been reported that the three-week drainage maintenance project on Parley Lane in Bournemouth, Dorset has now begun to address the recent issues with flooding.

Dorset County Council are overseeing the work by Dorset Highways which will see the removal of the current surface water drainage system which has often caused unsafe conditions for drivers in the area.

The road in question is an unlit, national speed limit road near to Bournemouth International Airport, with the flood water disrupting traffic on a number of occasions.

Engineers from the council investigated the site and found that a replacement drain is required.

Borough councillor Margaret Phipps said:

“All of the parish council has been informed about the work.

“In their email, county said it may cause minor delays but we will have to see.

“Possibly when it starts we may hear some comments but I do not know.

“There are problems with that part of the road and it does get rather waterlogged at times.

“When the traffic lights were being installed near Bournemouth Airport traffic flowed very well so I don’t anticipate any major issues.”

Temporary traffic signals are in place during peak times along the 400-metre section of the road where the work is being carried out.

When homeowners come across a drain blockage, this can end up being a really frustrating situation, especially if it escalates and causes flooding. Therefore, it is prudent not to ignore the signs of blockages and prepare for drainage maintenance.

If you are willing and able, you can tackle the majority of minor drain clogs yourself without having to call on a specialist to help you out. The indoor or outdoor problem can be fixed using one of the following solutions.

The methods used to combat blockages inside and outside your property will be different, with each clog type requiring a particular course of action.

Should the blockage to be located inside your house, in most instances this can be solved without too much trouble. For bathroom clogs such as a blocked sink or bath you can use a drain cleaning snake or plunger. When inserted into the plughole, any debris can be loosened and removed by sucking or pushing it down the pipe. By running water down the drain, this should help to rectify the problem.

On the other hand, if the issue is with your outdoor drains, you might need to hire drain cleaning rods from your local DIY store to resolve the situation. Alternatively, you could consult with a reliable drainage contractor, as they have all the equipment required to get rid of all kinds of clogs quickly and effectively.

Following a sewage leak which affected the River Crane recently when a sluice gate became jammed, the water company responsible for drainage Thames Water vowed to ‘put things right’ so the same thing never happens again.

Tonnes of sewerage waste inadvertently had to be left to enter the river when a gate on one of the main systems serving Heathrow Airport jammed shut.

This left Thames Water with no other option available as major problems would have been experienced at the airport. A proportion of the wastewater was successfully pumped into tankers to be treated, but this was not a solution that could be employed for the majority of the sewage.

Chief executive of the water company, Martin Baggs, said:

“We deeply regret this incident and we are committed to put things right over the long term.

“We will start that process by meeting this week with representatives from FORCE (Friend of the River Crane Environment), London Wildlife Trust, local anglers and the Environment Agency, so we can fully understand the extent of the damage, and what needs to be done to repair it.”

Custom-made lifting equipment was eventually deployed by drainage maintenance engineers to open the gate again.

It has been reported that scheduled work to clean out rubbish from a 300 metre drainage ditch in the Suffolk town of Newmarket is now underway.

Responsibility for the drainage ditch, which runs both above and below ground, has caused some confusion, with Anglian Water taking ownership over the majority of its length, with the exception of a 60-metre stretch.

This has meant that the water company has been in discussions with the Environment Agency, Forest Heath District Council, Suffolk County Council and the Highways Agency in clarifying the situation.

However, despite this issue, this has not prevented the month-long clean-up operation from getting started on the site, which begins at Exeter Road and runs to Studlands.

Ciaran Nelson, spokesman for Anglian Water, said:

“We are concerned to get the job done and get the problem fixed first and then carry on talking to whoever will take part of the ditch over.

“We will return every five years to clean it but we will be keeping a regular and watchful eye on it to make sure that nothing goes wrong.”

Residents have complained that this is the first time that the ditch has ever been cleaned out.

As we have been explaining, when it comes to the drains in a house, there are only certain things that should pass through this system. While everything else apart from used water should be disposed of in other ways, apart from the sink, when it comes to the toilet similar rules apply.

Human waste, toilet paper and water are allowed to be flushed down the toilet, but nothing else. This is because these pipes are not made to carry any other materials or substances.

The following products should not be disposed of through a toilet:

Cotton wool and wipes

These need to go in the bin along with cotton buds and floss.

Sanitary items

These products should be placed in a bag to be put in the bin.

The main point you need to remember is that the bin should be used for all waste which is considered unsuitable for flushing down the toilet. You can keep a bin by the toilet so that this makes things a lot easier for people.

Recycling should be considered, where possible, with bins used as an alternative. This means that the water in the drainage system can keep flowing, with less chance of it requiring drainage maintenance in the near future.