Top 5 Causes of Drain and Sewer Problems

Grease and Fat Blockages

Grease and Fat BlockageExplained in the previous article. People flush grease/fat/oil down their sinks/drains. It cools, congeals and collects in the pipework resulting in blockages which cause the system to back up.

Solutions are to install an enzyme dosing system to help digest the grease, or to avoid putting Fat and Oil into the system in the first place.

Grease blockages would require attendance from a Tanker/Jetter with a high pressure Jetting system to clear the pipework.

Incorrect Design

Incorrect DesignWhen a property is not connected to mains drainage then a Pumping Station, Septic Tank or Sewage Treatment Plant has to be installed.

The incorrect installation of sewage treatment equipment may result in inefficient operation of the system or cause pollution.

Manufacturers should provide clear installation instructions when they supply the equipment. Often the warranty supplied with the unit requires the system to be installed by a competent installation engineer.

You should follow the industry Codes of Practice for the installation of small sewage treatment systems including septic tanks and package sewage treatment plants and any local authority building regulations requirements.

Incorrect design of a system could lead to the Plant not meeting discharge consent standards, which may lead to prosecution from the environment agency.

The way to avoid incorrect design is to hire competent professionals to provide any sewage installations required.

Collapsed Rising Main

Collapsed Rising MainThe pipework from a house may be very old and can collapse, this makes it impossible for waste to reach its intended destination and will result in the system backing up. High levels of water in toilets, dirty water rising through the manholes, are all signs that there is a blockage. A common cause of this is a collapsed clay pipe.

If pipework has collapsed, then a camera survey would be performed to locate the collapse and then that section of pipework would be dug out, and replaced. Plastic pipework is more commonly used nowadays to reduce this happening.

Inadequate Maintenance of Mechanical Equipment

Maintenance of Mechanical EquipmentPumping Stations and Sewage Treatment Plants require regular checks, and regular maintenance visits as they have mechanical components. Recommended twice a year as an absolute minimum.

Users should have a reputable service company looking after their installations. They should also perform weekly walk around checks and be aware of how the system looks when it’s functioning correctly, so they are able to identify when it is not.

Contamination – Inappropriate Disposal of Chemicals Down Drains.

Sewage TreatmentFor example if a client has a Sewage Treatment Plant and they flush a high concentration of bleach into the system. It can kill the bacteria in the Plant that treats the effluent, which would result in a poor sample quality and effectively kill the treatment plant.

The Environment Agency Note:
A properly designed, constructed, installed, operated and maintained sewage
treatment system should produce an effluent that can be safely discharged to the environment without causing pollution, damage to wildlife or harm to human health. It is an overarching condition of registering and operating an exempt discharge that it does not cause pollution.

To avoid this. Be aware of what is safe to use when you have a Sewage Treatment Plant and check labels on products for any chemicals that may be harmful. Manufacturers of the equipment or service engineers would be able to advise on these.

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