Saturday, 23 July 2011

Drainage Transfer 2011

Drainage Transfer October 2011

Well its been talked about for a few years and it finally looks as though the drainage transfer of all shared drainage is going to be handed over to the water and sewerage companies on the 1st October 2011.

The water and sewerage companies are now trying to bring this to the attention of the wider public and here I will try to explain (not to sure myself at the moment) how this will affect the rate payer and the drainage contractor.

The image below shows how after the 1st October the home owner will only be responsible for any private drainage within the boundaries of their property, any shared drainage or private drainage beyond the boundary line will automatically become the responsibility of the water companies.

My initial thoughts are if there is a blockage how will the home owner know where the system is blocked, they will not and can not be expected to know and neither will the person manning the call centre for the water company,

As an example if the manhole to the rear of property No1 in the drawing is blocked at point A it is a blockage in a private drain, if the blockage is at point B it is the responsibility of the water company, but how do we find out ?.

Surely the private drainage contractor is not expected to measure out his drain rods or jetting hose up to the boundary fence downstream of the manhole and stop at that point if he has not cleared the blockage, presumably he then notifies the water company before packing up and leaving the home owner with an invoice for his time ?.

Does the water company appointed contractor ever so carefully push his rods downstream of the manhole in case he disturbs a blockage before he crosses the boundary line, therefore accidentally clearing a blockage in a private system, surely not ?. I suspect a lot of private systems will be cleared at the rate payer’s expense,

Drain Repair After The Transfer in October 2011

If the property in the picture to the right has root ingress to the drainage system from the manhole through to the sewer in the road then presumably a drainage contractor can root cut and reline the drain up to the front boundary line, the rest of the run through to the sewer in the road is then the responsibility of the water company.

They however can not now reline from the manhole because a liner has already been installed up to the boundary, this leaves the option of several localised patch repairs in the section beneath the foot path and road or a good old fashioned and disruptive excavation.

Or does the independent drainage contractor liaise with the water company and risk losing the job completely, I suspect not.

I should also mention that the things most likely to cause a major problem in a drainage system like tree root ingress, damage due to vehicular movement, impact damage via a fence post or damage resulting from a utility contractor installing a gas main are already covered under your bricks and mortar insurance, the water company in my area kindly advised that we should speak to our insurer to see what impact these changes have on our policy.

I think I know what the answer will be, my insurance policy will continue to increase nearly as fast as our water rates as the water companies realise what has hit them.

Building Over A Public Sewer

The water companies are not keen on people building within 3 mtrs of their sewers and they definitely do not like people building over them, which is fair enough and if at all possible it should be avoided.

However it is not always possible and in most cases there is not enough fall on a system to start diverting pipe work around your new extension, in cases like these the water companies ask that you locate and inspect the sewer at your own expense and submit the information to them., which again is a good working practice so that everyone knows what is where and its current condition. The water companies will then specify what they require from you foundation wise so that you are not affecting their sewer in anyway, and again nothing wrong with that.

They can however go belt and braces on these things and I have known simple extensions to cost as much below ground as above due to the requirements of the water companies, I have also been on sites where the size of the proposed build has decreased to avoid the additional cost and at least one site where the guy was told he could not extend at all.

Now given that all shared drainage will be classed as a public sewer after October this will affect a lot more people and we can only hope that common sense prevails, I also hope that the independent drainage contractor gets a look in for the inspection works and we don’t end up with a list of preferred water company contractors sent out with every new build application.

Only time will tell if the drainage transfer is the best thing to happen in the industry in years or if it will be a complete mess, by the time we know there will be far too many small and medium sized independent contractors out of business.

Read more on drainage ownership here

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Downspout Lining Article From DrainDomain.Com

Leaking internal down spouts cause untold damage to building in our cities and towns, the cost and disturbance involved in removing and renewing them is often prohibitive but obviously a repair has to be carried out before major structural damage occurs.

DrainDomain.Com  have written a couple of articles detailing the drain relining methods that can be adapted to repair and seal these problematic systems, from the initial investigation methods to assess the problem through to the final repair and test methods to ensure the works are satisfactory.


Saturday, 11 June 2011

Cheaper Septic Tank Emptying Costs

The rise in fuel prices and the costs involved in disposing of waste have all contributed to the general rise in getting your septic tank emptied, there is however a way for home owners to bring down the cost according to the editors at 

Block booking (pun intended) is the way forward, if you and your neighbours can agree to have your tanks emptied on the same day this saves the contractor fuel costs and gives you some bartering power, the more households involved the more discount available.

A similar policy is paying off around the UK as communities get together through social networking, parish councils etc and bulk buy their fuel oil.

Garry Moody from explains there are even greater savings to be made as more contractors are now using de-watering tankers, these machines empty your septic tank, separate the waste from the water before pumping the water back into the tank.

This means that the contractor is not unnecessarily carrying and tipping large volumes of water, the savings made can be passed onto the customer and these savings increase if multiple emptying can take place in one visit.

Visit for more information

Monday, 6 June 2011

City of Bristol College Use Draindomain.Com Content

Content from is being used  by the City of Bristol College as part of their Transport Technology Faculty.

College lecturer David Duckett said "I teach on motor vehicle subjects ranging from school children to adults including many transport managers, a topic common to most of the qualifications is the impact transport makes on the environment. One aspect of that is interceptors and how they work and the DrainDomain.Com website has some of the best diagrams of interceptors I have seen".

Steve Piron from added "This is not the first time content from the site has been sourced for educational purposes, in 2009 images were requested by a plumbing lecturer for a national publication and we have had many requests for the use of content for in-house training programmes within the drainage industry".

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Wolves boss in £87K marathon run

Wolverhampton Wanderers Chairman Steve Morgan has raised an incredible £87,000 for the international charity WaterAid, by running the London Marathon last month.

Despite suffering a hamstring strain setback just two weeks before, Steve enlisted help from Wolves' medical department to complete the exhausting 26.2 miles in four hours 53 minutes.

The 58-year-old was inspired to run the London Marathon for WaterAid after seeing first-hand what life is like without access to clean water, when he visited Rwanda with the charity in November. "The marathon was tough, but nothing compared to what I saw in Rwanda," he explained.

"The country has moved on a great deal since the 1994 genocide, but a huge issue that remains is child mortality. In Africa, one in five children doesn't make it to their fifth birthday because of diseases caused by unclean water and lack of sanitation."

"We're absolutely thrilled to have raised such a fantastic amount for WaterAid and we'd like to thank everyone who sponsored us, including many Wolves fans who have been magnificent."

The Wolves boss was joined by his friend and colleague, Dave Edwards, for the marathon who also contributed to the immense fundraising effort. With Steve matching all sponsorship pound for pound, the fundraising total of £36,271 has increased to £72,542 – reaching £87,000 with pledges and Gift Aid.

Read more on this story here

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Singing Sewermen Raise Cash For WaterAid

A bunch of hardy London sewermen have posted on YouTube a reworded version of the carol Good King Wenceslas.
They hope to stop people washing drain-blocking turkey fat down their sinks this Christmas, while also raising money for WaterAid.
Watch their performance below, or on the BBC News website here.
January Update: With more than 30,000 views already, Thames Water have confirmed their donation of £2000 to WaterAid from the film.
Christmas is always the worst time of year for sewer abuse, which is when people put anything other than human waste or loo roll down drains. And turkey fat is the biggest no-no of all.
In December around 25 per cent more fat goes down drains, forming hideous 'fatberg' blockages when it cools down and sets hard in sewers. An estimated 500 tonnes of lard - the equivalent mass of one million Christmas puddings - is expected to end up in Thames Water sewers this month.
The problem is so bad that Thames Water's sewermen, or 'flushers', who work in the sewers clearing fatbergs, have sung a seasonal plea to their 14m customers to: "Bin it - don't block it."

In a pithy departure from hymn-writer John Mason Neale's 1853 words, The Singing Sewermen have re-written the lyrics to Good King Wenceslas to include this straight-to-the-point advice: "Only what comes out of you, Should go into our pipes."
The choristers' YouTube performance took place in the famous Victorian brick sewers under their base at Wick Lane in Hackney.
Rob Smith, chief Thames Water sewerman and lead chorister, said:  "Sewer abuse a big problem – one well worth making a song and dance about in our view. And it's not every day you get to see a rough-and-ready performance of a Christmas carol by a bunch of guys knee deep in poo.
"Some of our less flattering fans have said our singing is a load of poo, too. Sure, we’re not quite Take That but I’d like to think our vocals have improved a tad on last year's song."
For each hit the carol gets, Thames Water will 'spend a penny' for WaterAid, donating 1p* a time to support the charity's life-saving work to improve access to safe water and sanitation to some of the world’s poorest people.
In July this year the Singing Sewermen cleared 1,000 tonnes of fat - enough to fill nine Double Decker London buses - from the sewers under Leicester Square. But five months on and the lard is back with a vengeance – because of sewer abuse.
Rob added:  "Cooking fat, sanitary items and other nasties that are wrongly put down loos and sinks end up blocking sewers, and in some cases cause sewage to back up into people's homes, which is truly horrific. Our message is simple. If it's not water, toilet tissue or poo, please: Bin it – don’t block it."
Every year 7,000 homes and gardens across London and the Thames Valley are flooded with sewage as a result of sewer abuse.
Sourced from with thanks to Thames Water

Monday, 3 January 2011

Concrete Sectional Septic Tanks

SepticTankMan.Com have put together an advise page on circular concrete septic tanks following a number of enquiries in recent weeks.

Concrete sectional septic tanks were seen as a quicker and cheaper option to the traditional brick built systems, this was of course prior to the emergence of modern fiberglass and plastic tanks.

There are plenty of them out there and given that the majority of them will be over 40 years old it is little surprise that they will require some attention.

You can read advice on their construction and how they can be maintained at

The SepticTankMan.Com site offers advice on all things septic tank related including many images and animations, they also offer a national emptying and repair service.