News

United Utilities have been fined for allowing raw sewage to discharge into the River Mersey.

The incident happened earlier this year when a discharge of raw sewage entered the river from an overflow outlet at Macdermott Road, Widnes.

Court proceedings took place, with United Utilities admitting liability for the incident and accepting a fine of £14,000 and costs of £1,334 payable to the Environment Agency.

The incident occurred because a section of the local pumping station became blocked with solidified waste fats. The blockage at the pumping station meant that sewage could not make its way through the drainage system which meant that it had no other option but to discharge via the overflow vent.

United Utilities have now put systems in place to make sure that a similar incident does not occur.

It’s amazing how many people still unwittingly put waste oil and fat into the drainage system. When the fat cools it solidifies, causing a serious headache for drainage engineers who have to remove the frequent blockages cause by solidified fats.

Instead of pouring liquid fat into the drain, collect it in a heat proof vessel and when it solidifies put it into the non-recyclable waste with your other general waste products.

Lossiemouth residents are being asked to bag sanitary items and baby wipes instead of flushing them into the waste system.

The Moray town has suffered a number of floods recently, all caused by problems at the local pumping station. The station, on the east side of the town, has been blocked by people putting items into their toilets that should really be bagged and disposed of in the bin, not flushed down the toilet.

When the pumping station is out of action, waste can back up and flood onto the streets or through overflow vents into the Moray Firth.

Steve Scott, from Scottish Water stated:

“Protecting the environment is of paramount importance to Scottish Water but we face a real battle thanks to the likes of the humble baby wipe. Along with kitchen wipes, nappies and other products they’re tougher than toilet paper and shouldn’t be flushed but bagged and binned instead. We’re doing our best to keep on top of the situation and I’m sure the people of Lossiemouth care about their environment and will do their bit to help.”

Drainage engineers have to unblock thousands of drainage pipes every year that are caused by residents putting incorrect items down their toilets.

Drainage issues are normally simple to solve if you have the right equipment and the knowhow. However, if you have noticed that your sink is draining slower than usual or the water in your toilet takes longer to be taken away when you flush, it could be indicative of a problem worsening and prompt action needing to be taken.

Most drainage problems won’t go away by themselves and will need to be fixed so that the problem does not escalate into a flood situation.

If you have a blocked sink or toilet, there are a few things you can try before calling the drainage engineers. They include:

  • Putting piping hot water into the sink or toilet can break up the blockage
  • Using a plunger can shift the blockage by creating a vacuum
  • You can hire drain rods from hire shops that can be inserted into the drain to shift the clog
  • Powerful drain cleaners can be bought from DIY stores which can break up the blockage

If all else fails you may need to call a drainage contractor who will be able to jet the drain with a high pressure jet of water to move the blockage. They will also be able to conduct a CCTV survey on the drainage system to diagnose any issues that may cause the problem to reoccur.

An £800,000 sewer project has just been completed by Thames Water to protect a site of special scientific interest (SSSI).

The installation of a new sewer at Abingdon in Oxfordshire took 13 weeks to complete and replaced a sewer prone to leaks with a new plastic and concrete sewer away from the local nature reserve.

The new sewer pipe has been redirected away from the rare fenland habitat at Dalton Barracks which supports hundreds of species of rare marsh helleborine and marsh fragrant orchid. The scheme is part of Thames Water’s promise to invest over £4.9bn into the region between 2010 and 2015.
Andrew Popple, the project manager stated:

“This is really great news wildlife and for residents. The new sewer pipe will help prevent flooding to the SSSI land in the future, which will be a great benefit to everyone who enjoys visiting, or live near to, this lovely spot.

“Sewer flooding at people’s homes is a truly miserable experience and getting rid of it is our top priority. Our new sewer pipe will help prevent this.”

The new sewer will also reduce the risk of flooding for a number of residents who have been adversely affected in the past.

United Utilities are going to turn a disused tennis court in the middle of a housing estate in Leigh into a playground, as a thank you to residents who have put up with sewer replacement work over the last few months.

In conjunction with Wigan Council, Leigh Town Partnership and Groundwork, United Utilities will build a £64,000 play area on the currently disused land. Work has already started and will be completed before Christmas.

The work, part of the United Futures community regeneration scheme, will see swings, trees, a roundabout, new pathways and parking created.

United Utilities’ Stuart Bell stated:

“The playground is a great way of saying thanks to local residents for their patience during the recent sewer work.

“The old tennis courts look unsightly, and have tended to be a magnet for anti-social behaviour, so this project will turn an eyesore into a valued community space.”

Charity organisation Groundwork asked the community what it needed and a playground was a high priority.

Gethin Owens from Groundwork stated:

“We asked the community what they wanted for their neighbourhood, and a playground came out top of the list.

“We will be creating a really bright, inviting play area which will lift the appearance of the area, and give children and their parents somewhere fun to go. We aim to have the work completed by mid-December, which will be a great Christmas present for the local community.”

How does a CCTV Drain Survey Help?

Many people don’t realise that they have a drainage issue until they have a flood or until they notice a strange smell. Fortunately, both these things can be looked at by drainage experts who will be able to diagnose the problem and offer a suitable solution.

Because the drains leading away from the home are underground, many people disregard them until they have a problem. This means that the consequences of a drain blockage can be severe. Unbeknown to the homeowner, if their drains were checked on a regular basis, most of the problems that cause drain blockages could be solved easily and quickly.

Drainage engineers can easily diagnose potential drainage problems by conducting a CCTV survey. As part of the survey, the drainage professional will insert a CCTV camera into the drain so real time images of the drain can be viewed on a computer screen. The drainage professional will then analyse the images, looking for causes of potential blockages and looking for damage to sections of the drainage pipe.

If a problem is found, in most cases a repair can be undertaken that does not need excavation, as the drainage company will use a drain liner, which can be inserted into the drainage pipe to repair the damage.

Sewer improvement works in Penketh are continuing apace, with the latest stage of sewer replacements now under way.

The latest stage of the works, which began on Monday, has meant that Tannery Lane, between Newlyn Gardens and Harlyn gardens, has been closed. The work in the areas is expected to take six weeks to complete.

One completed, drainage engineers will connect the sewer with a cross country sewer that sits in fields off Tannery Lane.

From the 25th of October, work will also begin on Walkers Lane and will last for ten weeks.

The Project Coordinator for the works, Tony Lowles, stated:

“The work on Tannery Lane and Walkers Lane is designed to improve the overall reliability of the sewer network and help towards alleviating the risk of flooding to nearby homes during heavy rainfall.

“When we are in a position to connect our new sewer on Walkers Lane to the tank on Station Road we will reopen Station Road and remove the diversion.

“We will continue to allow access in and out of Walkers Lane through the newly formed access for local traffic and our construction vehicles, but we would like to advise residents that this access will revert to a no through road once our work is completed.”

People can still access Penketh South Primary School and St Vincent’s Primary School from Chapel Road during the works.

Work including the installation of a new sewer in Alsager has just been completed by United Utilities.
It is hoped that the new sewer system and the installation of an underground water storage tank by drainage contractors will protect homes by preventing flooding on Barrett Road, Linley Grove and Linley Road.

The installation of the huge storage tank will mean that during times of prolonged heavy rainfall the original sewer system should not be overwhelmed and flood risk will be reduced.

The Project Coordinator for United Utilities, Jason Boyd, stated:

“We are pleased to say that this essential work is now complete and there should be no further traffic disruption for local residents, which we know has been an issue for them whilst work has been ongoing.

“We would like to thank residents for their continued patience and understanding and we hope that our work will bring peace of mind to those who have been affected by the very unpleasant problem of sewer flooding.”

Further landscaping work needs to be done in the Linley Grove car park area, but this will be done in the spring when it will have the best chance to establish properly.

The company pledged to spend £2.9bn between 2005 and 2010 on environmental improvement and water quality projects.

A new sewage system in Edington has just been completed by Wessex Water. The new system has seen some 2,300m of pipes added to the network along with a new storm tank so the sewers can cope with excessive rainfall.

Previously only 25 properties in the town were connected to the mains sewage system, but the addition of the new drainage network has meant another 75 properties are now connected to mains sewerage.
The scheme, which started in January, has cost Wessex water £2m and will reduce pollution in the area.
John Phillips, from Wessex Water stated:

“This was a challenging scheme which involved using specialist equipment to remove rock discovered below ground so that the new sewers could be laid.

“Workers also had to contend with heavy snowfall at the beginning of the year but thankfully due to their persistence and cooperation from local residents we were still able to complete the scheme on time.”

The water company has tried to keep residents happy throughout the scheme by giving them progress reports.

Mr Phillips further added:

“This was a major scheme for Edington and we are delighted that local residents have welcomed the improvements it will bring. I would like to thank them for their support and assistance during the work.”

A sewer has partially collapsed on the busy A53, leaving motorists facing three weeks of delays. The sewer under the A53 at Stockton Brook will have to be excavated by drainage engineers after it was found to be partially collapsed during a CCTV survey.

The road had been excavated recently as part of an ongoing gas main replacement programme but will have to be excavated again to replace the sewer. The road is the main route between Leek and Stoke-on-Trent, so Severn Trent hope that the road will not need to be closed in both directions.

A spokesperson for Severn Trent stated:

“We’re planning to replace a five-metre stretch of partially collapsed sewer.

“We’re hoping to use two-way lights to control traffic, and if all goes according to plan, the work should take two to three weeks to complete.”

The work will not take place until next summer to try to keep the disruption caused to a minimum. However, it may be necessary to replace the pipe sooner if the pipe further deteriorates.

Most of the work will have to be undertaken by hand as the sewer is 5 metres beneath the gas main.

Work has already started on a £21 million upgrade scheme to give residents on the Wirral cleaner water. United Utilities are going to upgrade trunk main systems across the region and around 40km of piping will be either cleaned or replaced with new plastic pipe.

The work has to be done to remove sediment in the pipes that has settled over the years. The sediment, which is harmless, can build up over time and cause problems such as the discolouration of water.

The first phase of work, which will take six weeks to complete, will take place in Ellesmere Port on Pooltown Road. Temporary traffic management systems will be in place while the work is carried out.
The project manager, Mike Addison, stated:

“This work is essential for water quality. Over time, pipes can fur up on the inside and deposits of iron and manganese get into the water. Although harmless, it can cause some discolouration and we are keen to tackle it.

“Cleaning or replacing the pipes will ensure Wirral households can continue to enjoy high quality drinking water for many years to come. It’s a big undertaking, which is why we will be carrying out the work in several phases.

“We are aiming to deliver the work on Pooltown Road with a minimal amount of disruption. Thankfully, a road closure will not be necessary, but we would advise motorists to add a few minutes to their journey times, given that temporary traffic lights will be in place.”

United Utilities are currently upgrading water and drainage systems across the North West as part of their commitment to improve the services that they provide

Restaurant owners and hoteliers had a chance to see Brighton’s famous sewer system up close and personal recently. As part of Southern Water’s fight the fat campaign, the group were taken on a tour some of the most famous chambers, before emerging through a manhole cover at the Royal Pavilion.
The city has 300 miles of brick-built sewers, which have to cope with over 20 million gallons of raw sewage every day.

The fight the fat campaign, which launched last Christmas, highlights the importance of the correct disposal of liquid cooking fat. The fat, which solidifies when cold, is a major problem for waste water companies across the UK and is a problem faced by homeowners on a regular basis who do not realise the problems that can be caused.

The General Manager of the Hotel Du Vin commented:

“After living what I thought was an eco-friendly way of life, I was shocked to discover the damage and problems caused by disposing of fat, oil and grease through our drains. Since going on the Brighton Sewer Tour my eyes have been opened and I now feel well informed. I would certainly recommend this tour to my friends, family and guests of Hotel Du Vin.”

Three thousand properties are flooded in the South East every year because of the accumulation of solidified fat. Southern Water’s Director of Communications Geoff Loader stated:

“We would like to thank all our guests for their support of our Fight the Fat environmental campaign. Tipping fat, oil and grease down the sink, or leaving it on crockery and pans in the dishwasher, blocks sewers and customers’ pipes. Approximately 35 per cent of sewer blockages are caused by congealed cooking fats and oils.

“We are seeing more and more flooding in the UK caused by extreme weather and the effects of this can be much worse if sewers are blocked by fat. This is why we urge our local businesses and householders to dispose of their cooking oils responsibly and we urge other organisations to follow suit.”

The Northumbrian village of Choppington is to receive an upgrade to its sewerage network to alleviate flooding problems.

Flood risk will be greatly reduced in Choppington after Northumbria Water announced they are planning to spend £500,000 on a new system. Homes in Farndale Avenue and Percy Gardens will be protected thanks to a new sewer pipe that will take storm water away from their homes at times of great rainfall. This will be in part thanks to the sewer diameter being increased, so it will be able to handle a larger volume of water.

The project, which is estimated to last three months, is expected to start on Monday the 11th of October. Paul Davison, project manager for the scheme stated:

“We appreciate that flooding is distressing for customers, so reducing this risk is one of our top priorities.

“This scheme will offer the residents of Choppington some protection for the future.”

The construction will cease for two weeks over the Christmas period to minimise disruption to traffic and holiday shoppers. The new scheme in Choppington is part of Northumbria Water’s pledge to customers to improve sewer systems across the region.

A £20 million waste water scheme has been unveiled today by United Utilities to help reduce the flood risk in the Lake District town of Keswick.

The plans have been available for residents to see at an exhibition at the local Moot Hall.

As part of the plans, the quality of water in nearby Bassenthwaite Lake will be improved by removing phosphorous, and the town’s flood defences will be improved. Work started in the town in May and the project has an estimated completion date of 2012.

Improvements include the introduction of a storm water tank and a new pumping station as well as increasing the diameter of the sewage pipe that runs to the local sewage treatment works. Other pipes which make up the sewage network in the town will also be replaced.

Geoff Durkin, project manager stated:

“This is an essential scheme for Keswick.

“Not only will it improve the environment in and around beautiful Bassenthwaite Lake, which is a uniquely
important environment, it will also help prevent flooding from United Utilities’ sewers in the Greta Grove area.

“We are committed to keeping people informed of our progress and seeing what they think.”

Pilling residents are coming to terms with a flood caused by a collapsed sewer that saw raw sewage floating in their gardens,

The problems started last Saturday when heavy rain caused pavements around St John’s Avenue to flood and the sewer could not cope with the extra rainfall. United Utilities are looking at the problem and have found that a sewer on a nearby street collapsed causing the issue. They have sent waste tankers to pump the sewage from the area until a drain repair can be auctioned and are fitting a bypass sewer so the waste can be redirected until the main sewer can be repaired.

A spokesperson for United Utilities stated:

“We are sorry to people in Pilling that have experienced the flooding. There has been a collapsed sewer on School Lane.

“We are working hard to fix the problem. A temporary sewer pipe has been installed to act as a by-pass but the heavy rain has led to a lot of soil going in the pipe which is causing blockages.”

Teams of drainage experts used jet washers to remove the silt that was causing the issue with drainage engineers expected to action a complete repair of the pipe later in the week.

Residents in Port Glasgow are currently having their sewage taken away in a tanker after a lump of concrete blocked a section of sewer near the A8.

Scottish Water is sending a tanker up to two times a day to pump sewage from flats whilst investigations and discussions take place with Amey, the road maintenance contractor. The Water company has known of the current problem since March, but residents say that they have faced issues for at least the last four years.

The concrete piece that is causing the problem is suited under a lamppost, which needs to be removed before sewer excavations can take place. A spokesperson for Scottish Water stated:

“Until we are able to do so, we will continue to use tankers to remove waste water to keep the system going and reduce the risk of the system backing up.”

Amey need to put traffic management systems in place on the A8 whilst work can be undertaken to remove the lamppost and then Scottish water can fix the blocked sewer. The two companies just need to overlap their schedules to make the repair happen. Until then residents will have to rely on the tanker to remove the sewage.

If you have a blocked drain, drain inspection works will need to be undertaken to find the cause of the blockage. Drains can be blocked by a number of different things, from incorrect items being put into the drainage system, to roots which find their way into the drain and cause a blockage.

During a drain inspection, drainage contractors will usually perform a CCTV survey of the drain so they can visually inspect the problem. A camera is inserted into the drain and then pushed into the drain section by section, relaying real-time information back to a computer screen. The data is recorded and collated and the images can be played back a number of times to inspect the integrity of the pipe. The blockage may be easy to spot and hence can be dealt with easily using drain jetting, however, if there is damage along the length of the pipe, the problem may need to be assessed further to see what necessary course of action should be taken.

In some cases when there is damage along the section of the drainage pipe, the pipe can be fitted with a liner. The liner will allow solid and fluid matter to flow freely again and hence restore the integrity of the pipe. The best thing about a liner repair, is complete excavation of the pipe is usually not required. In some instances, when a liner is not suitable, the pipe will need to excavated and a new section fitted.

Drainage companies know the importance of making sure that drainage systems are properly maintained and in a good working condition. If problems occur, the consequences can be disastrous for the homeowner and can also be damaging to the environment.

In one case recently, a housing developer was fined over £13,000 for failure to make sure that a new sewage system was in a good working condition. The Environment Agency found that the company had allowed pollution to enter a stream that feeds the River Tamar after a holding tank had overflowed.

The new properties the developer had built used a holding tank to hold raw sewage before it was pumped to a gravity sewer before being treated at the local sewage works. However, the pumping station failed, allowing sewage to find its way into a steam and onto nearby land causing environmental damage.

The incident happened between the end of August and the middle of September last year, but had recently come to court. The developer was fined £10,000 and had to pay costs of just under £3,500.

East Riding is giving local residents the chance to hire an eco pack, which could see them slash fuel bills and stop problems with blocked drains.

The packs can be hired from the local library and contain items such as a honeycomb kitchen fat collector that can be composted, an electricity usage monitor and a toilet water saving gadget. And the scheme, which takes its roots from a similar incentive which launched last year, is already proving popular.

“The monitors can be taken out on loan, just like a book or compact disk. It is hand-held and very simple to use.

“Seeing how much electricity is being used can be a real shock. It is amazing how quickly we can then find ways to save energy and, as a result, money.

“It is a good time to be loaning the packs before the cold weather is upon us.”

Said Councillor Simon Fraser.

The electricity monitor must be returned, but the fat collector and the water saver can be kept.

Using the honeycomb ‘fat’ pouch you can collect waste cooking fats instead of pouring them down the sink. This can stop drain blockages and reduce the need for drain jetting. The water saving device fits into the toilet cistern and saves a litre of water every time the toilet is flushed.

There can be many causes of a blocked drain. But while drain jetting may remove a blockage it is usually impossible to find out what caused the blockage unless a CCTV survey is carried out.

A CCTV survey is the only definitive way a drain inspection company will be able to determine the cause of your drain blockage or the condition of the interior of your pipes. The camera equipment used by drainage experts will be able to examine the internal structure of the pipe in detail and relay the images to a computer where the drainage expert will be able to view them in real time.

A detailed report can be made on the condition of the drainage system with any recommendations made by the drainage company on what needs to be done to bring the pipe network up to standard.

It may be the case that your drainage system is in a good state of repair and the blockage, once removed, might have been the only problem. It could be the case however that the drain needs to be relined or a section of the drain will have to be repaired. In any of these cases your drain inspection engineer will be able to help.

In the last article we discussed the common ways drains can be blocked by putting incorrect substances into your kitchen sink. Here we will discuss what can and cannot be put into the drainage/sewer system from the bathroom.

Nappies and sanitary wear

Many people think that it is ok to put sanitary wear and nappies down the toilet. It’s not. Flushing things like this down the toilet will result in a blockage. The only things that should be put into the toilet are waste products and toilet tissue. Even putting kitchen roll or cotton wool balls into the toilet can cause a blockage so this should also be avoided.

Hair

When you have a shower or a bath it’s amazing how much hair can end up in the drainage system. For this reason you should use a plug hole filter over your plug holes in the bath and sink if possible, so hair does not find its way into the system and clog the pipes.

There are of course some occasions that your waste pipes may become blocked for another reason than those already stated. If they do, you should call a drain inspection engineer to have a look at the problem so they can solve the problem and repair or unblock the drainage system.

If you have a blocked drain, the consequences can be nothing more than devastating for the homeowner, in some cases waste water can actually flood into your home. However, most of the blockages that occur in your drainage pipes at home can be avoided by being careful about what you put into your drainage system and following a few simple hints and tips.

In this two part article, we are going to discuss what should not be put down the drain and give you some advice on what you can do to stop drain blockages.

Most drain blockages are caused by the homeowner intentionally or unintentionally putting things into the drainage system that should not be there.

Food stuffs and oil

Many people scrape scraps of food into the kitchen sink and pour waste cooking oil into the drainage system. Both these practices will cause a drain blockage.

Cooking oil and fats will solidify in the drainage system and cause the flow of waste water to be reduced. If enough of these types of substances are put into the drainage system, it can block the pipes totally. Cooking oils and fats should be put into a container and when set should be disposed of in the general waste.

Scraping waste food down the drain can also cause blocked pipes under your sink. Food scraps should always be scraped in the bin. If you use a sink filter over your plug hole, any food that unintentionally finds its way into the sink will be caught by the filter and can be disposed of in the bin.

Continued in part 2.

A road in Waverton, Chester has had to be closed because of a sewer collapse.

Residents noticed there was a problem when the tarmac on the road began to sink leaving a crater in the road. The road in question, Moor Lane, was visited by the highways department who decided to close the road and put a diversion in place. The closure has caused problems for the local post office. Sharon Senior who owns the post office stated:

“We couldn’t believe it. On the Friday when the road was closed it was just dead, and it has been dead all week. We are really struggling now because people aren’t driving past and are just going elsewhere.

“Our business usually drops during the holidays, but this year it had been quite steady, but this is crippling us.”

The local council contacted a drain inspection engineer from United Utilities who was called to the site and quickly determined that a collapsed sewer was the cause of the problem.

A United Utilities spokesperson stated:

“We have established that work will need to be undertaken at two points on the road, one outside the post office and another further down the road. The work is expected to be completed in two weeks. We do obviously sympathise with the owners of the post office. We will do our upmost to get the work done as quickly as possible. It is expected to last two weeks.”

One of the most common causes of drain blockages is root intrusion.

The roots from trees and plants in your garden often find their way into the drainage pipe that leads from your home to the public sewer in their quest for an easy source of water. And because some of the drainage pipes that lead from homes are in excess of 50 years old, their structural integrity is not as it once was. This leads to the connection points between the pipes breaking down and roots getting into the system.

Once in your drainage system, roots will quickly multiply until the root ball created completely blocks your pipe. At this point the waste water that needs to be taken away from your home will no longer be able to flow though the pipe and it will overflow. In some cases this overflow may be into your home and can cause serious damage for the homeowner.

If you have a drain blockage caused by root intrusion, a drainage contractor will use a spinning root cutter to remove the roots from the pipe. They will then use CCTV survey equipment to look at the damage caused and suggest a remedy such as a patch liner repair to solve the problem.

A road in Evesham has remained closed all week after the sewer underneath the road collapsed in three places.

Emergency work was started last week on the sewer in School Road after sewage made its way onto the public highway. Because of which, Severn Trent water drain inspection engineers hastily arranged a meeting with the local council to close the road when it because apparent it was not going to be a quick fix.

A letter was sent to local residents explaining the problem. In the letter the senior operations manager from Severn Trent stated:

“These things are not acceptable, are unpleasant for customers who live nearby and we need to deal with them on an emergency basis.

“We understand that School Road is an important route between parts of Salford Priors village/Irons Cross and Bidford/A46.

“That’s why we are doing the work with a road closure so we can carry it out and complete it as quickly as possible.

“We realise that emergency work such as this can be disruptive but we will do all we can to keep the impact of our works to a minimum while we restore Salford Priors sewage pipe network to full operation”.

The road is expected to reopen this Friday.

Most of us have had to deal with a blocked sink or toilet at some time in our lives. Most of the time the blockage can be removed easily and the waste water can flow freely again. However, on the occasion that the drain cannot be unblocked, what can you do?

If you have attempted to unblock your sink or your toilet and you are still experiencing problems, you may have a larger problem than first anticipated. The best thing to do here is call a drain inspection engineer to assess the problem.

A drainage contractor will have all the necessary tools to unblock the drain and hence you will not have to put your health at risk by coming into contact with ‘dirty’ water.

Drains and sinks can become blocked for a number of reasons, but it’s usually something that’s not biodegradable that has found its way into the drainage system that is the cause of the problem.

Common items likely to block a drain include:

  • Food waste
  • Cooking oils and fats
  • Sanitary wear
  • Nappies

A drainage contractor may use a high pressure jet of water down the drain to remove the blockage, or may suggest a CCTV survey to find the root cause of the problem. No matter the drainage problem they will be able to help.

Motorists are being warned to find an alternative route or expect severe delays on the A34 Queensville in Stafford after a sewer collapsed.

The sewer, which runs under the road surface, had been expected to be repaired quickly, but the discovery of a gas main in the same trench has meant work needed to be halted until the area was confirmed safe by National Grid Gas.

Drain inspection engineers are continuing to assess the best method to repair the drain safely, whilst temporary traffic lights are put in place. A spokesperson for Severn Trent Water stated:

“We’ve not been able to progress further with the sewer pipe repair as we’re still assessing how best to tackle what’s needed.

“The excavated trench contains gas and water pipes as well the damaged sewer pipe, and we need to make sure we take a safe and practicable approach to the repairs.

“In the meantime, the excavation has been safely enclosed by barriers and traffic is able to flow freely past the spot.”

Sewers can often be repaired quite quickly when the problem is found. The drainage contractor will assess the damage and suggest a suitable repair.

Part of the South Circular in London is to remain closed for a further week at least, after emergency repairs are made to part of the sewer system.

The sewerage system that is beneath London Road in Forest Hill collapsed last Friday and needs to be rebuilt. Diversions are in place around the work which is near Sainsbury’s supermarket and it is estimated the works will not be complete for another week at least.

Thames Water is carrying out the repairs to the drainage system and are rebuilding part of the sewer. A spokesperson for Thames Water stated:

“The rebuild of this section of sewer is expected to take about two weeks.

“We are really sorry for the inconvenience this is causing road-users.”

Although on a smaller scale than the sewer system on London Road, a collapsed drain that leads from your home to the public sewer system can have devastating consequences for the homeowner. The waste water will not be able to flow into the sewer and in the worst cases can back up into your home.

If you do have a damaged waste pipe, it’s important to instigate a repair quickly. A drainage contractor will asses the damage and be able to offer the most appropriate solution.

Blocked drains need prompt attention to stop the problem worsening. A blocked drain can stop the waste water from your home reaching the public sewer, meaning that the waste may flood into your garden or in the worst cases, into your home.

A professional drain cleaning engineer can assess your drain blockage and offer a suitable solution to the problem. They will likely first suggest drain jetting, which uses a high power jet of water down the drain to disperse the clog. When the blockage is removed, the drain engineer will need to find the cause of the blockage and suggest a suitable remedy.

Most drain blockages are caused by putting non-biodegradable products into the drainage system such as nappies, sanitary wear, contraceptives, oils and fats and garden debris. If your blockage was caused by one of these items, it is likely no further action will be needed. However, if the problem was caused by a collapsed drain or a crack in the pipe where waste can collect, further work may be needed.

It’s not always the case that the drainage company will have to dig an area to replace the drainage pipe. In some cases, the drain can be lined using a drain liner, which is inserted into the damaged section of pipe and so making the repair.

The Drainage Consultants were approached and asked to submit a price for the clean and survey of the below ground drainage system at Manchester Airport. As part of this project, it was necessary to identify interceptors.

After quoting, the Drainage Consultants were considered the best for the job and will begin work in a few weeks’ time. The first step is obviously the clean and survey, after which a report will be compiled for the client, highlighting any problems and defects together with a price for repairs.

A clean and survey involves first jet washing the drains. Water is forced through the drainage system at high pressure, removing any build-up of grime and debris. This is a safe method that ensures cleaner drains without posing any risk to the pipework.

Having carried out this first stage, the drains are then surveyed using CCTV. A camera is passed through the pipework which then transmits the images for examination. Any damaged or suspect areas can then be noted and added to the report.

When the client receives the report, they can then judge whether additional work is needed or not. If it is, it is a straightforward task to go ahead and make repairs as the damaged areas have already been identified.