Category Archives: Blocked Drains

Is Certified Training Needed In The UK Drainage Industry ?

There has been quite a bit of heated debate on several of the social media sites with regards to whether Certified Drain Camera Survey training courses are really necessary within the domestic drainage industry. As a drainage engineer myself and owner/developer of www.DrainDomain.Com I thought I would put down my thoughts on the subject

Through the DrainDomain.com website I am often asked to collapse02review drain inspection survey reports, this can be simply to provide a second opinion on the report findings or on occasions to help mediate between two parties in a dispute. I am also still active as a surveyor myself undertaking 300+ surveys last year with the following two anecdotes occurring in the last 18 months

Example One

A guy in the South East employs a local independent contractor to undertake a home buyers drain inspection on a property he is looking to purchase, the drain report comes back stating all is structurally sound but the system requires high pressure water jetting to remove deposits of grease and fat.

The chap then buys and moves into the property and within 6 weeks has a blockage, a second contractor attends site and tells the home owner he has problems as the system is constructed from Pitch Fibre pipe work and it requires renewal

I was then sent the original report and video files from the pre-purchase survey where you can clearly see that the pipe work between each chamber is indeed Pitch Fibre, the deposits of grease and fat reported by the original surveyor are internal blisters on the pipe wall stained with grease after numerous blockages

I know for a fact that the home owner took legal action on this matter and recouped both the survey costs and the costs of the necessary repairs on the basis that he was denied the opportunity to negotiate these costs off the original property sale price

Example Two

During the conversion of a large city centre building into a Hotel two developers went bust, both developers had employed two of the larger national drainage contractors to undertake full site mapping and charting exercises, both contractors had submitted differing reports on the condition and lay out of the combined drainage system

A third developer then took over the project and I was asked to re-survey and map out the system, the first thing we noticed was that the drainage beneath the foot print of the property was not cast iron pipe work as reported in the two earlier reports, it was our old friend Pitch Fibre

To be fair the Pitch Fibre was in very good condition as it was beneath the basement car-park and it only had rain water passing through it, the problem on this site was that this area was been converted into the hotel kitchen and the pipe work would be subject to large volumes of hot water and steam, the Pitch Fibre pipe work would not have lasted more than a couple years before it required renewal

These two examples are typical of what I see time after time from drainage firms of all sizes, if surveyors are getting the basics such as pipe construction, pipe size and drainage system layout wrong how can they be trusted to give accurate information on degrees of displacement to joints, fracturing and water tightness in general

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All the above clients experienced and paid for a poor service which is never acceptable. As a contractor myself I would be just as concerned that there are surveyors out there who missed out on approximately 13k of drain lining repairs over the two sites

The UK Drainage Industry needs some set basic standards of training across all disciplines in order to raise the levels of service and to weed out the cowboy element

Super grease behind drop in Birmingham manhole cover thefts

METAL thieves look to have met their match after the launch of a unique DNA-style grease marker sparked a 75 per cent drop in manhole covers thefts in Birmingham.

The city council and Amey, which holds the local authority’s road maintenance contract, acted in March having seen 900 grates go missing in just six months.
stop manhole theft
The thefts had left the council taxpayer with a £250,000 bill.

But there has been a dramatic fall in the number of gratings taken thanks to a special type of grease, called RedWeb.

It leaves an indelible mark visible only under ultraviolet light on the cover itself and anyone who touches it.

In the three months before the launch of the RedWeb grease, 32 gully grates were taken from roads in five wards in the north of the city.

That fell to just eight in the same area in the three months since the introduction of the product

Sergeant Phil Butler, from West Midlands Police’s Operation Steel which targets metal theft, said: “We have been delighted to see a reduction in reported metal theft.

“Improved marking of target materials reduces crime as it’s far easier for police to prove theft and handling beyond a reasonable doubt.’’

Amey Business director John Sunderland said: “We are thrilled that we have had such an instant result with the new product that we are using to deter thieves and this is just the beginning.

“Theft of metal, such as gully covers, from the roads is not a victimless crime as open gully covers are extremely dangerous.”

Amey has also trialed composite recycled plastic covers with no resale value as replacements for the stolen metal covers.

The plastic covers can also be sealed in to prevent further vandalism or theft.

Coun James McKay, cabinet member for a green, safe and smart city, said: “This is a great result for partnership working and sends a stark message to thieves.

“We will simply not tolerate them stealing metal from our roads and putting people’s lives at risk.”

Flood risk to millions in UK is growing

MILLIONS of property owners face an increased risk from flooding because of climate change and urban sprawl, experts have warned.

 New research shows up to two million people in the UK – including almost 130,000 Scots – are at risk of flooding because they live in built-up areas where there is limited drainage and less grass and woodland to soak up rainfall.

The research, carried out at Dundee University and to be presented to the Royal Geographical Society this week, predicts that unless planners take climate change into account, the threat could rise by around 50 per cent to affect 3.2 million by 2050.

The flood risk warnings have emerged following Met Office confirmation that April to June 2012 has been the wettest on record. Last week, parts of England were over-run by flash floods, and rail services to Scotland cut off after landslips on both the east and west coast mainlines. Yesterday, services between Edinburgh and London were still being restricted but rail chiefs said the timetable should be back to normal today.

The Dundee research says climate change is leading to greater rainfall, while a growing population and, in particular, more people moving to cities is triggering greater urbanisation.

Dr Alastair Geddes, of Dundee University, said: “We will see more people exposed by living in areas of risk because of strong population growth.

“There are two main trends – population growth and climate change. However, we can’t take account of how planners will work to change drainage systems.

“It’s important to take action on that. That’s what we hope will come out of this work.”

The researchers initially looked at 44 cities across the UK, including Edinburgh and Glasgow, and then examined three more closely.

In Glasgow, one of the three, they found that 63,927 people are currently at risk of flooding from heavy rainfall – 5.5 per cent.

Across Scotland 2.6 per cent of the urban population was found to be at risk, while across the UK as a whole it was 3.3 per cent.

Surprise visitor: squatting wombat blocks stormwater pipe

There are many things that could block a stormwater drain. But a wombat?

blocked rain water drain

Imagine the surprise on the faces of the people at the Launceston City Council when they stumbled across a furry critter while viewing video from a stormwater pipe survey recently.

The shy little squatter was discovered by engineering development officer Sonia Smith, The Examiner reports.

Ms Smith said that one of the tasks council asked developers to undertake when building a new subdivision was to ensure all their stormwater pipes were working.

“They do that by conducting a remote video camera survey, and they then send the videos into us,” Ms Smith said.

“The equipment they use is basically a remote controlled camera, driven by a joystick.

“Sometimes in these videos you see the odd rat or spider, but this is the first time I’ve seen a wombat.”

Ms Smith said the wombat found his or her way into the pipe because it was open at one end.

“It’s a 300mm pipe, which is the smallest we use, but it appears that it might be a perfect size for a wombat burrow,” she said.

Ms Smith said the wombat will be respectfully nudged on to a new burrow and access to the pipe will be blocked.