Sometimes drain problems are issues that linger, rather than being sudden, dramatic events. This doesn’t mean they’re any less severe, but that they can be harder to detect, until they’re much more serious because they’ve got that much worse.
A collapsed drain can be severe, and the longer you leave it, the costlier it will be to fix.
Detecting collapsed drains means using the right technology, which is why a CCTV drain survey can be essential. Before this, though, what are the signs that you might have a collapsed drain?
Poorly Performing Drains
Are your drains suddenly not performing as well? Whereas sluggish drains can mean you have a blockage, they can also be a symptom of a collapsed drain. In fact, a collapsed drain could be the cause of a blockage. If this is the case, then not only will you need to remove the blockage, but you will also need to ensure the drain is repaired too.
If you spot any signs of slow drainage, then you should arrange for a drain survey.
Backed-up Sewage
Not a pleasant one, this, but a collapsed drain may mean that your drains are frequently backing up. The extent will depend on the severity of the problem, but a drainage inspection is essential, because the longer you leave it, the worse it will get.
Damp Signs
Disrupting water flow leads to water flowing into the ground around the collapsed pipe. This might appear as damp on the walls or floor of your property. If you do have signs of damp, you must act. If you leave damp unattended, it can develop into a serious problem.
Most importantly, you need to find the source of the damp, and if this is a collapsed drain, have it repaired.
Bad Smells
The unmistakeable smell of sewage is an early warning of a collapsed or damaged drain – the smell is from backed-up sewage or blockages. If you have a blockage cleared and you can still smell something, it’s probably a collapsed drain.
That Sinking Feeling
Over time, the ground around a collapsed drain will subside or sink. For this to be visually obvious usually means you’ve had damaged pipe for some time. Water leaking out into the ground surrounding the collapsed drain will eventually cause a visible indentation.
Cracks and Defects
The more serious the damage, the more severe and widespread the symptoms. You might see cracks appearing along the floor or up the walls of your property. This is only likely to happen if the defective drain has been left in a disrepair for a considerable length of time.
If the drain runs under concrete driveway slabs, or under a concrete garage, you might see cracks appearing here.
The key thing is to act. Contact Drainage Consultants today if you think you’ve got drainage problems. Our CCTV drain survey will help us get to the bottom of it for you.

You might think with most drainage issues it’s simply a case of phoning your local plumber. You might also think that a drain survey sounds too complex, and expensive, to be worth your while. Can’t the plumber sort it out?
Drainage Expertise
The difficulty with drains is often that while you can see there’s a problem inside your home – a sink that takes ages to drain, for example – the cause of it will be I the drainage network, underneath your property.
So, while your plumber will be fine for replacing pipework and taps inside, or leading into, your property, for serious drainage issues, you need experts in this field.
This is because, to accurately detect and diagnose many drainage issues, requires the right equipment and techniques – those of a drainage contractor rather than a plumber.
One such specialist method at our disposal is the drain survey.
Symptoms, Detection and Diagnosis
You might have smelly drains, or baths and sinks that take a while to empty. These are signs of having blocked drains.
There can also be drainage issues that are not immediately noticeable, but can cause long-term damage to your property, such as a collapsed or leaking drain. This kind of deterioration can, ultimately, undermine your property’s foundations, leading to subsidence.
Collapsed drains can arise from tree root incursion, and this is not something you would necessarily notice.
This is where a drain survey is a vital tool in discovering drainage problems. By sending a CCTV camera down your drainage network and analysing what we’re seeing as it happens, we can get a much clearer picture of the state of your drains, revealing damaged areas or blockages.
Your drains may require re-lining, or even replacing. A drain survey will give us the information we need to get a clear idea of the action we need to take to sort your drains out.
This is not something your plumber can do.
If you suspect you have any of the symptoms of a blocked or damaged drain, get the experts in. Contact us today.

Make no mistake: for many water companies, disposable wipes are the enemy. Disposable wipes are essentially an evolution of baby wipes, designed to appeal to the adult market.
One of their chief appeals is their disposability. However, in 2016, UK water firms wrote to the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) urging it to investigate the issue of wet wipes clogging up the nation’s drains.
In many cases, a CCTV drain survey is essential to discover the cause, and location, of the blockage.
Water companies want manufacturers of moist toilet tissues and other non-biodegradable wipes to clearly and prominently label them as not flushable.
Consequences of Wet Wipes
Because many moist wipes are not paper-based, like standard toilet tissue, they are not dissolvable. They may also, over time, release plastics into the environment, with long-term consequences for the human food-chain.
Some urban drainage systems are quite resilient, but many are old, some even Victorian, and are therefore not equipped to deal with this kind of waste.
One danger of having some wipes labelled as disposable, whether they really are or not, is that it leads to the assumption that most, if not all, wipes are.
This further clogs up the drainage system.
Water companies feel it would be more environmentally responsible to remove flushable from all packaging of these products, to avoid consumers making the wrong assumptions about them.
Water companies in the UK spend around £88 million annually clearing drains, and estimate that half of these blockages are avoidable.
The Diagnosis for Drains
While water companies may feel that disposable moist wipes should be a national issue, it is often at the local level where the impact is felt.
If you are experiencing issues with your drainage, whether you’re a commercial concern, or it’s your home, then you may have long-term drainage issue that cannot simply be shifted.
This is where a CCTV drain survey is essential. This allows us to see what’s going on in the inside of your drainage network, and whether you have damaged or blocked drains.
It forms the basis for a comprehensive drainage report, up to date plans, and a recommended course of action to sort your drains out.
Disposability may feel convenient, but the consequences for drains are serious.
If your drains are in need of attention, please contact Drainage Consultants for a CCTV drain survey.

The UK’s urban population is expanding, which means more pressure on housing. Local authorities, planners and developers are having to find new spaces for housing development. These can include former industrial and commercial sites.
Guided by economic and political strategies, urban regeneration picked up momentum in the 1980s and is continuing now, in various forms and locations
However, developers also have to consider the impact of regeneration schemes on existing residents, and on the local infrastructure.
One of the key elements of infrastructure is drainage, and drain surveys play an important role in preparing for regeneration.
Drain Surveys for Regeneration
Whether regeneration involves conversion of industrial sites, or refurbishment of existing domestic properties, it requires a thorough knowledge of the site to be developed.
Drainage networks often expand and are subject to adaptation over time. This often means that existing plans are incomplete or insufficient.
Any building work involving, or over, existing drainage infrastructure must account for the condition of the drains and sewers.
Firstly, because regeneration is likely to place new demands on drainage, and it may well be that existing networks are not adequate for the task, or even fit for purpose.
Secondly, building over drainage and sewage pipes is can cause accidents and disruption leading to expensive delays and changes to project plans.
Drainage Report
Using CCTV cameras to explore the drainage system prior to any work commencing provides the essential information about drainage networks that developers need.
The footage shot underground will give a good indication of the network layout, including hidden chambers and manholes, and of what state of repair it is in.
We use this as the basis for compiling a comprehensive plan of the drainage network, and an analysis of the condition of the pipework.
The drain survey gives planners and developers of regeneration projects the necessary foreknowledge to plan projects more accurately, allowing for potential costs of drainage infrastructure repairs and alterations.
If required, we may then undertake further exploration of the drainage network using sonar drain tracing to pinpoint exactly where trouble spots are, prior to remedial work.
If your project requires knowledge of the local drainage network, contact Drainage Consultants for a drain survey.

Black mould looks bad, and it can contain fungi that cause health problems such as asthma and allergies. In some cases, black mould may produce toxins that cause reactions in people.
Mould it can appear as the result of water ingress from faulty drainage. When this is the case, a CCTV drain survey is key in discovering the source of the problem.

Damp Issues
Who do people call when they have issues with damp and mould? You might turn to a builder for recommendations about fitting a damp proof course. But if the cause of the damp is persistent leakage from faulty or broken drains, then this will not necessarily give you a long-term solution
Here’s a recent case from Drainage Solutions, all about damp. We’d been called to various properties next to one another because the landlord had numerous complaints from the tenants regarding damp issues.
This included tenants having to regularly scrape black mould off the walls. The smell of damp was also persistent in many of the properties, with tenants having to keep their windows open to alleviate the odour.

A Broken Gully and Drain Defects
We conducted a comprehensive drain surveys at the properties, and found a common fault affecting all of them.
The main drain line running beneath them was full of defects, which meant water was leaking out into the ground and causing the damp issues the tenants were experiencing.
We also discovered a broken drain gully, which was also the source of water escaping to cause damp in the properties.
From our CCTV drain survey, we put together a comprehensive report for the landlord. From this we could then proceed with fixing the cause of the damp problem.
We applied patch liners along the length of main pipe where there was deterioration, damage and defects. We also replaced the old, damaged gully.
The drainage repair and replacement work solved the damp problem in the properties.
If you have damp issues, or black mould, the fault may lie with your drainage system. Before you commit to the expense of a damp proof course, consider a CCTV drain survey – it might just provide you with the answers you need, and us with the solution to your damp problems.
Contact Drainage Consultants today.

Whose drain is causing the leak? This is a question we are often called in to answer, when neighbours are in dispute over damp issues.
We were called in recently over a dispute between commercial properties over a continuous flood into a basement, where our client was being held responsible.
Drainage networks are often complex, and old, making it difficult determine from the surface, exactly whose drain is at fault, depending on where in the system a fault is located.

The Drain Survey Solution
When it becomes a matter for both Environmental Health and solicitors, then a drainage problem quickly escalates, with blame and counter-blame.
We see it as our job to bypass all this and get to the heart of the matter: what is causing drainage problems.
As drainage professionals, there are different ways for us to approach this. We can use sonar drain tracing, we can use dye testing, and we can use a CCTV drain survey.
In many situations, we need to employ a combination of all these techniques to detect and diagnose a drainage problem.
In this case, we first carried out a CCTV drain survey on our client’s drainage system.
The survey revealed a defect in the drain, but not necessarily the cause of the continuous leaking of water into the neighbouring property’s basement.
The defect was from a joint in the network which was damaged and now open. We fixed this by applying a patch. The patch liner repair is what it sounds like, a patch of material, impregnated with epoxy resin, inserted into the point of the drain with a packer where there is damage. Once in position, the packer inflates, fixing the patch to the inside of the drain, and patching over the damage.

Further Investigations
We needed to be sure that our client’s drains were not the source of the leak into the neighbour’s basement. For this reason, we then used dye testing. We filled the client’s entire drainage system with bright green dye, keeping it in the place for 30 minutes.
This would tell us if any of the water from our client’s drainage system was escaping next door, as it would be the same, dyed colour if it was.
We checked the neighbouring basement, but the water leaking into it was clear, and therefore not from our client’s drainage network.
Drainage investigations are not always just to solve a drainage problem – they can also resolve issues around responsibility for drainage and leaks.

Culverts maintain water flow beneath or around such infrastructure as bridges, roads or access to properties. They are an essential part of the drainage network, helping to maintain water flow.
They are usually made from reinforced concrete, steel or plastic, but regardless of what material they are made from, they require regular maintenance.
As part of our drainage work, we investigate culverts, using CCTV drain survey techniques to detect and diagnose drainage problems.

Confined Space Experience
When culverts require investigation, it means working in a confined space to get a clear picture of what condition the drain is in. This involves us using a variety of drainage detection techniques, including drain surveys, drain tracing and drain mapping.
These specialist techniques, together with our professional experience working in confined spaces, have ideally equipped us for a variety of situations and circumstances.
Therefore, when West Mercia Police approached us to for assistance in looking inside a culvert as a part of a crime investigation, we were more than willing to help.
This culvert had a large diameter but the police were uncertain what kind of condition it was in underground. We could supply this information with our use of ATEX-certified camera equipment, which allowed us to explore the culvert remotely and gather detailed data about its condition.

What Can Go Wrong with Culverts?
As engineered channels, culverts can play an essential part in water flow, drainage and regulation, but this also means they are prone to deterioration and decay through wear and tear over time.
With age, culverts can erode and decompose, resulting in flooding through overspill, if water can no longer pass through them effectively.
As they can increase the flood risk if not adequately maintained, many authorities now discourage the use of culverts, opting instead for other water management and drainage methods such as sustainable drainage systems (SuDS).
For the police, in this case, searching a culvert without first knowing its condition could pose a risk, with the potential for the inside being unstable, or even flooded.
Using our CCTV drain survey technology we gave the West Mercia Police the detail they needed so that they could continue with their investigation.

Do You Have a Culvert?
People who have a culvert on their property or land are responsible for maintaining it to ensure it allows the free flow of water.
If you have a culvert, you must ensure you maintain it. Contact Drainage Consultants today for culvert inspection and cleaning – this should be something we do for you routinely, to guard against flooding.

We think of CCTV used for keeping tabs on people, providing protection and surveillance. But what would a CCTV drain survey tell you about your lifestyle? What is going down your drain, should it be there, and what might you do about it?

Do You Think Before You Flush?

Your drains are something you probably take for granted. Pretty much anything can be washed down the sink or flushed down the toilet, right? It’s a kind of magic, where waste simply disappears.

Except, that sometimes it won’t. Drains cannot deal with all waste. They are simply not designed for this purpose. There are lots of things that, if you flush or drain them away, will end up clogging your drains. This may not happen immediately, but, over time, your drains will get less and less efficient, taking longer for water to drain out of sinks, for example.

Then the day will come when you flush the loo and the water backs up and you have various floating surprises. Not pleasant.

What Blocks Drains?

In the bathroom, it might be your hair, which is a common culprit. Hair sheds in the shower and bath and, if left untreated, it will clog drains.

If you use cotton wool balls, pads and swabs then putting these down the drain can spell trouble. Yes, they are disposable, but no, not down the toilet.

In the kitchen, public enemy number one for causing drain blockages is cooking fat. Yes, grease from cooking food is not pleasant, but while it appears to easily flow away as you run the tap over it, in fact it is doing nothing of the sort.

Fat will coat the inside of your drains, making them narrower, and therefore less able to work efficiently. Eventually it can congeal into large fatbergs which clog up the drain entirely.

Other food waste and leftovers, such as pasta, can expand in water and start to build up obstacles in the drain. Coffee grounds can form a thick sludge that blocks kitchen sinks.

Other items such as toilet wipes, and even luxury thickness toilet paper, are not always as disposable as they say they are – how disposable also depends on the state of your drains.

Always check before you flush. And if your drains are sluggish or simply not working as well as they should, contact us and we can arrange a CCTV drain survey. This is a cost-effective means of diagnosing drainage issues and discovering what is blocking your drains.

Before the modern drain survey, tackling drainage problems involved more digging around and excavation before any problems could be even begun to be dealt with. Now using CCTV cameras, a drain survey can uncover valuable information about otherwise hidden conditions.

How to Find Drain Faults

The outward symptoms of problem drains are often easy to spot – from sluggish drainage to blocked toilets and bad smells – but with many problems, getting to the real reason why they occur is the key to prevent them happening again.

Pinpointing problem areas and deterioration means your drainage specialists can then address the underlying issues as well as solve immediate crises.

This is the value of the CCTV drain survey. Sending a camera down your drainage network means making visible otherwise hidden issues. The cameras we use for our drain surveys are remote-controlled, and versatile – they need to be so that they can penetrate even more complex drainage systems and record images.

We send the cameras in and we can immediately see what they are picking up on our screens above ground.

 

Things We See

The camera never lies, as the saying goes. What the CCTV drain survey does is discover details we would otherwise not be aware of. These could be problem areas where drains connect, or difficult-to-reach parts of the network.

It’s unfortunate that drains are a favourite spot for rats, but the good news is that a drain survey will reveal whether rats are using the drains as an access point.

Drains can collapse over time, and this can happen in ways which don’t immediately affect you, allowing water to seep into the ground unnoticed. The long-term effects can be serious, undermining a building’s foundations with subsidence.

Again, the drain survey will expose this.

Once we’ve detected problems and faults we can then recommend a course of action to fix them. And as part of our full report, we’ll give you your own DVD of the footage we’ve taken as part of the survey, so you can see exactly what it is we’re talking about.

Drain surveys offer clarity, and they’re a very cost-effective means of detecting drain faults, so that when we need to carry out remedial work, we’re not wasting time and resources getting to the bottom of the problem.

We can help with any drainage issues you have. Contact Drainage Consultants today and let us find what’s causing your problem drains.

We think of CCTV used for keeping tabs on people, providing protection and surveillance. But what would a CCTV drain survey tell you about your lifestyle? What is going down your drain, should it be there, and what might you do about it?

Do You Think Before You Flush?

Your drains are something you probably take for granted. Pretty much anything can be washed down the sink or flushed down the toilet, right? It’s a kind of magic, where waste simply disappears.

Except, that sometimes it won’t. Drains cannot deal with all waste. They are simply not designed for this purpose. There are lots of things that, if you flush or drain them away, will end up clogging your drains. This may not happen immediately, but, over time, your drains will get less and less efficient, taking longer for water to drain out of sinks, for example.

Then the day will come when you flush the loo and the water backs up and you have various floating surprises. Not pleasant.

What Blocks Drains?

In the bathroom, it might be your hair, which is a common culprit. Hair sheds in the shower and bath and, if left untreated, it will clog drains.

If you use cotton wool balls, pads and swabs then putting these down the drain can spell trouble. Yes, they are disposable, but no, not down the toilet.

In the kitchen, public enemy number one for causing drain blockages is cooking fat. Yes, grease from cooking food is not pleasant, but while it appears to easily flow away as you run the tap over it, in fact it is doing nothing of the sort.

Fat will coat the inside of your drains, making them narrower, and therefore less able to work efficiently. Eventually it can congeal into large fatbergs which clog up the drain entirely.

Other food waste and leftovers, such as pasta, can expand in water and start to build up obstacles in the drain. Coffee grounds can form a thick sludge that blocks kitchen sinks.

Other items such as toilet wipes, and even luxury thickness toilet paper, are not always as disposable as they say they are – how disposable also depends on the state of your drains.

Always check before you flush. And if your drains are sluggish or simply not working as well as they should, contact us and we can arrange a CCTV drain survey. This is a cost-effective means of diagnosing drainage issues and discovering what is blocking your drains.