The Most Common Causes Of Drain Blockage

by Editor on May 9, 2013

Cutout for drain

There are many reasons why a drain may become blocked but there’s usually one outcome – a problem which can only be solved by drainage experts. This article will discuss the most common type of drainage faults and what can be done to repair them.
The drains which leave your property will travel underground for quite a distance until they reach the public sewer. And they are your property until they reach your property boundary. So if you have a blockage you may need some help to sort it out.
Drain blockages can happen for a number of reasons including:

Incorrect disposal of waste

Even though most homeowners know that only human waste and toilet tissue should be disposed of down the toilet they still flush items which should not be flushed. Things such as nappies, baby wipes, sanitary wear, condoms and cotton wool buds can all block a drain and stop the flow of waste water. When this happens it’s common for the waste to back up and flood back into the home.
Pipe damage due to wear and tear

Drainage pipes don’t last forever and over time they can crack and split. When this happens it provides a place where waste water can seep out of the drain and where waste can get trapped on rough surfaces. This provides a weak spot in the pipe’s structural integrity and the pipe my collapse or waste may continually clog

Pipe damage due to subsidence

When this happens it usually results in a complete pipe collapse. This type of problem will usually need to be excavated and the pipe replaced

Root intrusion

In their quest for water roots can make their way into the drainage system. When they find an easy source of water they can quickly multiply and grow inside the drainage system. This root growth stops the waste passing down the drain and in the worst cases may stop the passage of water completely.

Incorrect disposal of food water and fat

Most of the drain blockages which engineers attend are caused by the incorrect disposal of fat down the drain. When liquid fat cools it solidifies and literally sticks to the inside of the drainage pipes. This provides the ideal place for other waste to get trapped and cause further clogs. Every year alone drainage experts have to remove thousands of tonnes of fat from inside the capital’s drainage pipes.

What can be done?

Teams of drainage engineers have a few tricks up their sleeve to solve common drainage issues. Perhaps the most commonly used technique is called drain jetting. In this technique a high pressure jet of water is directed down the drain at the site of the clog. The water pressure created is usually enough to break up the deposit and any solids can then be removed at the nearest manhole cover. If drain jetting proves unsuccessful they can then perform a CCTV survey of the inside of the drainage pipe to diagnose the problem and see what is blocking the pipe. With this knowledge they can then form an action plan to either lay a new section of pipe or take remedial action.

About the Author

Arthur Frost uses drain cleaning services on a regular basis as part of his local authority position working for the housing trust.

photo by: Steve Burt

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