What is drain tracing and when do we use it? It’s a diagnostic tool to help us investigate drainage problems, and it’s especially useful when there are issues to do with gaining access to drainage networks.

Like drain surveys, drain tracing is a means of finding out more about your drains, and identifying problem areas and drainage difficulties.

Not all drainage issues are easy to detect, and, even where we’ve discovered them through our CCTV investigations, we need to be able to accurately pinpoint their exact location.

Furthermore, in locations where drainage repairs might cause disruption to other utilities, or pipes, then sonar drain tracing is essential for mapping out the network.

Using Sonar

We transmit electrical pulses beneath the ground through a specialist device that allows us, effectively, to ‘see’ with sound, using echo.

Coming through an above ground receiver, the pulses ping back to us, enabling us to build a clear picture of the inside of the network, from manholes and inspection chambers to areas of collapsed drains or other damage. It will tell us how deep the drains run, and where they run to.

How You Benefit from Drain Tracing

Drainage problems, while displaying clear, sometimes dramatic, symptoms, can be hard to pinpoint, and undertaking exploratory work like digging adds to the time and expense involved.

Drain tracing means we can eliminate any guesswork, and plan based on clear readings of what the drainage network is like. It makes the whole process that much more efficient, and reduces the chances of us encountering anything unforeseen once we commence our remedial work.

It saves us time, and resources, and it saves you money. We can quote far more accurately for the work we will need to do, and we won’t need to cost in exploratory excavations.

In all, drain tracing means less disruption and, generally, greater savings, which we can pass on to you, the customer.

We act on your behalf, working to the highest professional standards. If you’re at all worried about your drains, contact us today.

Drains are hidden underground, which is fine when they are working, but inconvenient when they are not. If we need to discover the source of a drainage problem, we have to first be sure where the pipes are located, and what path they take.

This is where drain tracing is such a valuable asset.

What Direction Do Your Drains Take?

Sometimes the existing drainage network plans fail to provide a complete picture. Some drains are old, dating to Victorian times, and over time there have been additions made but not accurately recorded.

This means the plans are not reliable. This doesn’t just affect when we need to identify problems. If there’s going to be building work over existing utilities, it’s vital to know where drainage and sewer pipes are located.

Builders and developers need this information, otherwise they can risk costly and disruptive mistakes that will set their projects back thousands of pounds.

It’s best to be prepared. Using sonar technology, we can trace the pathways of drains and discover where areas of disturbance, damage and deterioration are.

Using Sonar

Sonar is essentially about building up a picture from the use of sound. Using state-of-the-art equipment, we send a transmitter into the drain. This will read the inside of the drain using electronic pulses, or pings.

Above ground, we have a receiver to read the pings. Here we are making the use of echo as a way of locating features inside the drain.

Typically, we will have CCTV footage of the drain to give us an idea about its overall condition. Now the sonar lets us accurately pinpoint the location of trouble spots, hidden chambers and manhole covers.

Using this data, in conjunction with the video record, we can build a more detailed picture of the drainage network without having to conduct any exploratory excavations.

We may also use dye testing to confirm or clarify the route that liquid is taking once in the system.

All this enables us to prepare remedial work without having to factor in potentially expensive exploratory work. This makes drain tracing a cost effective means of drainage diagnosis and knowledge-gathering.
If you need your drains inspecting, contact Drainage Consultants and we’ll talk you through what we can do for you.

Locating drains can be a problem. Obviously, they are not normally visible, running underground. In addition, drainage networks have changed over time, with new parts being added, or partly replacing old, Victorian drains. These changes are not always accurately updated on records, which means there can be “lost” pipework as certain parts of a local drainage network end up, effectively, off-plan.

Problem Solving and Proper Planning

If there are drainage issues, such as a collapsed drain, then locating the problem area, if not the drain itself, is crucial. Where excavation is required, then pinpointing the damage will save on a lot of time and effort, and disruption. Otherwise there is an element of digging as exploration.

Not only will drain tracing save on excavation time, but it will also save on time per se, and where there is a serious issue, this can help forestall any further disturbance caused by the damaged drain.

Drain tracing is also a valuable planning tool. Where building work is planned to take place over existing utilities, and where the drainage plans are thought to be incomplete, or inaccurate, drain tracing provides an excellent means of getting the right degree of accurate information about the drainage network.

Over years many properties become over-developed, where alongside a lack of regular maintenance is an inaccurate picture of the utilities they depend on, or are built alongside. Drain tracing provides greater clarity.

A State of the Art Drainage Device      

Sonar drain tracing uses the transmission of electrical pulses to “read” drain underground. With an above-ground receiver tuned in to read the signals sent back, we can then get an accurate reading of the depth and position of drainpipes and features of the local drainage network.

We can trace our sonar device, once we have sent it underground, over a range of different surfaces, including tarmac, soil and concrete.

We also use drain tracing in conjunction with other methods such as dye testing and CCTV drain surveys, where we need to build up an accurate picture of a network and its failings.

Efficient, accurate drainage diagnosis and repair requires modern techniques that bring a cost-effective approach to drainage solutions. That’s why you should choose Drainage Consultants.

Sometimes it’s not just about unblocking a drain; it’s to do with us finding out exactly what is wrong, and building up a comprehensive, accurate picture of a drain network. This requires us using modern, state-of-the-art diagnostic tools and methods, and one such method is sonar drain tracing.

The Power of Sonar

With active sonar, there is a sound transmitter and a receiver. The ping it creates is a pulse which then listens for echoes. These echoes measure the distance to an object. In drain tracing, these electrical pulses help us identify the features in drain networks

Sonar drain tracing has two main functions: gathering information and diagnosing drainage problems.

We can get a clear idea of the details of a drain network and these details are essential in building up a comprehensive picture of what drains are like, including any issues or problems, such as blocked or collapsed drains.

Pre-planning and Problem-solving

When it comes to construction work and building projects, drain tracing is a valuable part of pre-planning, particularly if work involves building over existing utilities.

Many of the UK’s drains date back to the Victorian era, and consequently the available data on them is out of date. Coupled with this is the sheer age of many of the drains, making them susceptible to damage and deterioration over time.

Building work becomes costly if it slips behind schedule, and this is more likely to happen if unforeseen obstacles and difficulties crop up.

Drain tracing helps ensure that the unexpected isn’t a big factor, ensuring that a proper picture of the existing drainage system is available.

Collapsed drains can happen because of tree roots growing into the drain network, or from ground movement. This damage can lie unseen and not be immediately detectable from how utilities are performing – it may be the result of gradual changes rather than a specific incident.

If not attended to, a collapsed drain can lead to serious, long-term building damage, undermining foundations and causing subsistence.

Sonar drain tracing will help identify collapsed drains, for us to then prevent this kind of long term damage occurring, or for an identified problem to turn into something more serious.

For sound planning, and detailed diagnosis, choose drain tracing, and choose Drainage Consultants.

We detect and diagnose drainage problems and, like detectives doing police work, we have a number of procedures and processes at our disposal to help us get the job done.

Over time, the business of examining and fixing drains has become more efficient, with various technological advances. These include CCTV cameras and sonar drain tracing. The days where we simply relied on drainage rods seem a long way off.

Our detective work is as important as the remedial tasks we carry out, because really understanding what’s going on underground is what enables us to do our work to the highest professional standards.


Early Warning

When it comes to being prepared, we like to have all the facts in front of us, including specific locations of faults and defects. Drain networks can have tricky, hard to reach areas, so early warning of things like collapsed pipes or concealed manholes is always going to be useful.

Using our drain tracing equipment, we send electrical pulses along the drain network through a transmitter we’ve placed in the drain. Above ground, a team uses a receiver to follow these pulses. This gives us an accurate reading of what the network is actually like, including any problem spots.

This detective work can be enormously effective in saving us both time and effort when it comes to repairing drains. And we pass these savings on to our customers by providing excellent value, quoting accurately and affordably for our services.

The business of looking after drains isn’t restricted to unblocking them and sorting out problems after they’ve occurred; sometimes the fact-finding we do using drain tracing is used to have advance information about existing drain networks.

For construction projects and renovations in particular, drain tracing can be a real help in gathering the right kind of advance knowledge of how the drains lie, prior to any work commencing.

Again, this is a way of ensuring that the accurate knowledge of the existing network’s layout informs the decisions contractors make later on.


To find out how drain tracing and our detective work can help you, contact Drainage Consultants today.

For some people, a drain is a thing of beauty. Sheffield has its own self-confessed drain spotter, who spends his time looking for rare sewer covers.

As part of a local preservation group, he works to retain public heritage features, including covers that date back to Victorian times.

While we can appreciate the detective work and attention to detail, our own work involves a different kind of drain inspection, including drain tracing, CCTV drain surveys and dye testing.


What We Need to Know

Admiring and studying drain covers is one thing, knowing where the drains actually run to is quite another. With construction projects, for example, it is often of vital importance to know sewer and drain network locations, because damaging an existing drain can have serious implications in terms of both time and expenditure.

The plans that are available giving details of the drainage network can often be out of date, particularly when you think that some drainage systems date back to Victorian times, hence the vintage drain covers.

It’s important, therefore, to have fully up to date knowledge of the drainage network.


Drain Tracing in Action

Finding where drains run to underground requires a degree of professional detection expertise, which is where our drain tracing services come in.

We have a range of drain tracing procedures we can employ, depending on the complexity of the individual situation.

Our main drain tracing technique involves the use of sonar. Here we transmit electronic pulses which enable us to take accurate readings about what kind of condition the drains are in, and where they are located.

Hand in hand with sonar drain tracing is our use of CCTV. We can send cameras down the drainage network in order to record the interior state of the pipework in a drain survey. This can help us identify problem areas and issues prior to undertaking any physical exploration work.

We also use a process known as dye testing for drains. This involves using a non-toxic liquid dye to indicate where there are leaks and blockages in the drain. It’s also useful in situations where we need to test how well the drainage system is connected. We can also use different coloured dyes for different sections of drain.

Drains may be a source of fascination for some, and frustration for others. For us, they’re our speciality, and we’re here to make sure they work properly.


If you have a drainage issue, or you need to find out more about your drainage network, don’t hesitate and contact Drainage Consultants today.

Damp is never a happy outcome. The causes of damp can be varied, but it’s important to know exactly why it’s occurring, because otherwise you can spend large amounts of time and money on the wrong solution.

Drain tracing is a key way of discovering the causes of damp seepage through external walls.


The Pub, the Leak and the Unhappy Landlady

Households aren’t the only places to suffer from drainage problems, and with commercial property there can be serious implications in terms of loss of revenue, and even the health and safety of customers and workers.

We were called out to a pub by the brewery that owned it, because there was a very unhappy landlady having to put up with a leak in her laundry room.

It seemed the moisture was coming in through the external walls and, over time, it was causing more and more disruption to the day to day business of running the pub.

Now obviously a leak is distressing for anyone, but for a busy pub it can mean serious inconvenience and, potentially, disaster. Customers can always vote with their feet and go elsewhere. So there was a real need to get to the root of the problem.


Dyeing to Find the Source of the Problem

We were on site within 24 hours of the call out. The first thing we discovered was a cracked gully on the external wall of the building.

One of the techniques at our disposal is dye testing, as part of our drain tracing operations. It’s really useful for more complex cases, such as this one involving the leak into the pub laundry room.

Our early investigations revealed that the drain had suffered considerable damage and deterioration over time and was broken in several places. We also discovered a crack in the rest bend of the pipe which was allowing water to leak into the ground.

Finally, we used our dye testing process to confirm exactly where the water was getting in through the external wall of the pub.


We excavated, replaced the broken pipework and installed a new gully. Where we couldn’t access the damaged pipe we applied patch liners – these are a great piece of no-dig technology, whereby we can re-line the damaged pipe by creating a lining inside it.

The result: one happy landlady, and one pub ready to dry-out without the customers drying up.

Drains are not always easily accessible, but we need to know what’s down there in order to plan the right solution for your drainage problems. Not all drain blockages or problems are simple to detect, and there can be the additional risk that extensive drainage repairs might disrupt other utilities or pipework. So in these situations we use sonar drain tracing to gather information.

What Does Drain Tracing Involve?

With drain tracing, we transmit electrical pulses through the drainage network using specialist sonar drain tracing equipment. Our team then follows the electrical transmissions with a receiver. This method means we pick up on issues such as blocked or damaged drains or blockages, and locate drainage network features such as concealed manholes.

We analyse the data we gather from drain tracing, and this helps us build an accurate picture of the local drainage network. The whole procedure saves time and money, while giving us a crucial advance warning of any likely obstacles we’ll come up against when it comes to drain repairs.

Other Benefits

Plans of drains and utilities can often be out of date, and builders need to know where they can safely build, and what hidden difficulties they might face. Drain tracing can help us map out the whole drainage network and provide a clear idea of where pipes have been laid, and where concealed manhole covers and inspection chambers are located.

Drain tracing is also beneficial when it comes to pricing up work and giving accurate estimates to our customers prior to commencing a job. Ultimately, drain tracing saves you more than it costs you in the first place, because it enables us to get real clarity about the work required before embarking on it.

Using state of the art technology to help solve drainage problems is very much what we’re about at Drainage Consultants. The right procedures and the right tools to do the job are at the centre of how we work, and the great results we achieve for our customers.

If you think drainage is all just about holes in the road and heavy duty work, think again. Drain tracing is a hugely important element in sorting out drainage problems and it involves state of the art technology.

When is Drain Tracing Used?

How accurately mapped out is the drainage network. Drain networks change over time and plans are not always up to date. For issues around building over sewers, or other utilities, drain tracing can play a vital part in any preliminary work. It’s also an essential diagnostic tool for examining drainage problems.

Drains are prone to damage and deterioration from a number of external factors, including the incursion of tree roots. A collapsed drain may not immediately present itself as a problem, but it can have severe consequences for buildings, including subsidence.

It’s important, therefore, to have an effective way of detecting long and short-term drainage problems without resorting to large-scale exploratory excavations at the outset. This is what makes drain tracing both efficient and cost effective.

How Does Drain Tracing Work?

Sonar drain tracing is a practical application of technology for problem-solving diagnostics. Using electronic pulses, we can accurately detect any problem areas in the drainage network and gives us the necessary information to help build up an accurate plan of the drains. This mapping is then a useful future resource for maintaining accurate drainage plans.

Often used alongside a CCTV drain survey, drain tracing is one of a whole range of services we provide in order to get to the bottom of a drainage issue. Whether this is to prevent or repair drainage problems, or simply to gather information about your drains, we are fully equipped to detect and diagnose damage, deterioration and other issues, regardless of the age or complexity of a drainage network.

In short, we don’t just rely on one thing. Drain tracing is one key service alongside many others. We’re Drainage Consultants, with the right tools for any job, and the right technical support to get the job done.