Water gullies have appeared more and more as front gardens disappear and nice new driveways take their place and extensions spring up. You will recognise them as the small metal or plastic grates that cover a drainage gully.

They don’t only appear on drives – you may find them around new extensions to your property, patios and so on. The problem is they become blocked quite easily as the width and depth of most drainage gullies is not large.

One obvious challenge is in winter when leaves fall between the grates and build up and repeatedly fall into the gully. These leaves can create a real barrier for drainage.

Not having the right soak-away in these gullies can have huge knock-on effects and water above the damp course is not an uncommon occurrence. This can lead to very expensive problems with damp.

But don’t think the challenge is only in the winter, summer brings dryer times and dried mud, sand, dust and broken down waste all create clogging within gullies. So, maintaining the gullies and ensuring you have effective drainage all year round is essential.

The positive here is that gullies are not hard to keep clear or clean. Here is a simple guide to what you need to clear your drainage gullies and how to clean your gullies.

Firstly the tools you will need

If the gully is not over packed and there is no real damage, then all you will need to clean your gully is:

  • Rubber gloves
  • Protective eyewear
  • A drain rod
  • Rough bristled brush
  • Flat head screwdriver
  • Hosepipe
  • Bucket
  • Hot water


You never know what you are going to find in a drainage gully so be prepared. Wear gloves and eye protection always. Where muck builds up there is always danger of bacteria, so keep covered and reduce contact with bare skin.

Some gullies around your home can be linked to areas that require drainage such as washing machines, dishwashers etc so make sure that such appliances are not in use.

Removing the gully cover

Sometimes just locating the gully cover can be an issue. The build up of dirt, falling leaves and general debris can fill a gully and then further matter accumulates on the gully cover.

Removing the gully cover can usually be done quite easy with a screwdriver to prise it open, some do have handles but not all. Ensure you have your safety glasses on during the gully cover removal.

If you struggle to remove the cover then take some strong string and thread through the bars of the gully cover. Then create some upwards force by pulling on the string – make sure you have width between your hands as this will spread the force more.

Now you should have released your gully cover.

Check the condition of the gully

Now you have access, you need to have an inspection of your gully. You will probably find that the gully is blocked with leaves, twigs, earth, and general outside debris. Take your trowel and start to work along the gully to loosen this debris.

When the debris is dry this is all quite easy, but when wet or damp it can be a little more arduous and require more elbow grease. Hopefully this will be enough to clear your gully, just push some warm water through the gully and all should be good.

Use the drain rod if it’s stubborn

If you’re struggling to remove debris or it’s awkward to reach parts of the gully, then it may be time for the drain rod. Hopefully you will only need a single drain rod but if not, you can join another to extend the length.

When you encounter a blockage, prod carefully and build up the pressure to remove any blockage. The aim is always to breakdown a blockage into smaller pieces. Do not move as a whole piece. Pushing too hard may create a bigger blockage and an issue for you.

Use your hose to rinse and hot water to flush

Firstly, use that hard bristle brush to remove debris then use your hose to flush the gully with water. Hopefully this will be enough to move the blockage.

Now fill your bucket with hot water and pour into the gully slowly. The heat of the water will help to move any grease or fat that may be in the gully. You can add washing up liquid to add with this.

Testing and resealing your gully

Now you have cleared your gully you need to make sure all is flowing well. Take a few minutes to make sure all is flowing and there are no issues; you don’t want to reseal and then need to reopen due to a blockage.

If you are happy then replace the grate on your gully and make sure all is secure.

Now your gully is clear and free from any blockages, try to take steps to prevent any further build up in the future. Clean the area around the gully on regular basis, remove larger debris and blocks of soil and sweep away leaves.

Make sure you inspect on a regular basis; such maintenance and care can reduce your costs should your gullies become blocked.

If the above information doesn’t solve your problem, then contact Token Cleaning. We are qualified drain cleaning professionals available 24 hours a day 7 days a week in case of an emergency call out. Give us a call on 01279 422 752 or email office@tokencleaning.com.

We are fortunate to have a modern sewer system in the UK, which means we often don’t have to think much about what happens to our wastewater. In fact, our sewerage system was ranked as the second best in the world in a 2018 survey. But how do our sewers actually work? This article is going to take a look at what happens behind the scenes to our UK sewage and wastewater.

Have Our Sewers Always Been So Good?

First for a bit of history. Our sewers haven’t always been so good. In fact, in the 1800s, the Thames was known as a source of disease and some foul odours – as it was essentially London’s open sewer. Huge cholera epidemics in the area claimed over 10,000 lives in London, and over 20,000 in the UK in the 1850s. British scientist John Snow finally identified the cause as contaminated drinking water, and work to build our modern system finally began.

1875 saw the completion of London’s sewerage system. The waste was first diverted significantly downstream of London’s populated area, down to the Thames Estuary via a series of underground brick tunnels. Along the way it would pick up the wastewater and sewage from existing sewers and rivers, transporting it to the new water treatment plants.

How Does Our System Actually Work?

The modern sewerage system we use today is based on a series of sewers that direct wastewater and sewage to the nearest water treatment plants. From our sinks, baths, showers and toilets the water travels to a treatment plant, where the water undergoes a series of screenings and treatments.

First, the initial screening process removes debris and hard solids from the water. A combination of non-flushable items like nappies are removed, alongside grit and other residue. Then, the first treatment begins, which removes human waste by having it sink to the bottom of the treatment tank. 

Secondary treatment removes smaller particles by an air-pumping process that encourages good bacteria to break down the rest of the waste left behind. The final process for the water is allowing that bacteria to sink to the bottom of the tank and be removed. Any sludge from the process is treated and may be used for agricultural purposes.

Once the process is complete, the treated water can return to our natural waterways like rivers and streams.

How Can Token Cleaning Services Help?

Overpopulation and the resulting increased waste output can put a huge pressure on the UK’s sewers. Fortunately, Token Cleaning Services can help by conducting deep drain cleaning, allowing wastewater to flow freely into the rest of the system. We remove the build up of grease, silt and grit to preserve the integrity of your drains. We use CCTV drain surveys to identify the source of the blockage and fix the issue. 

Token Cleaning Services helps domestic, commercial and industrial clients. From a blocked toilet to an industrial drain blockage, we’re here to help.  We also reline pipes to ensure they connect to the main drainage system correctly. Contact us today for expert advice and solutions on drain cleaning. We’ll be happy to help.

When a sewer line backs up into your home, it causes damage to your property and jeopardises the health and wellbeing of your family. If this happens, you will need some professional assistance to resolve the issue quickly. However, there are many ways you can avoid sewage backup with sensible practices in the home.

Damaged Pipes

Damaged pipes are a common cause of sewage backup in the home. There are many reasons why a pipe might be damaged, everything from cold weather to faulty installation. The trouble is you never know if your pipes might be damaged.

If your home experiences a sewage backup, it’s time to have your pipes checked by professionals. This is one of the first checks to be carried out in the process of elimination. While pipe damage is a common cause of sewage backup, it isn’t the only cause.

Sewer Clogs

It’s all too easy to toss waste into the toilet, but a toilet and your pipes are not designed to handle things like plastic and hygiene products. When these items get into the pipes, they block them and cause more debris to build up.

The toilet is not another garbage disposal unit; it’s only designed to handle human waste and toilet paper, both of which are biodegradable. Therefore, when you start to put other items down the toilet, there’s a high risk that your pipes will clog, and your home will experience sewage backup.

Hygiene Products

One of the worst things you can put down your toilet is hygiene products such as cotton buds. Unfortunately, this is very common because cotton buds are used in the bathroom, and putting them in the toilet is the most convenient way to dispose of them.

Unlike toilet paper, cotton buds won’t dissolve. On the contrary, the cotton expands when it’s exposed to water. When cotton buds expand in your pipes, they cause other debris to build up and back up your sewage. In addition, it can be expensive and time-consuming to resolve.

Grease Pouring

There are different theories around grease in the pipes. Some people think it’s fine to pour grease down the sinkhole as long as it goes down with boiling water. But this is a myth. Once in the pipes, the water, and grease cool and starts to clog it up.

Grease sticks to your pipes and eventually blocks them up a bit like cholesterol in your arteries. Over time the grease buildup reduces the water flow and affects the water pressure. To resolve the issue, you will have to call a professional plumber.

Tree Roots

Another common cause of sewage backup is tree roots that seek out the water supply. The roots find small cracks in the pipes and grow into them; once inside, they have a plentiful supply of water and fertiliser that makes them grow quickly, bursting your pipes.

Once again, you will have to call a professional to determine if tree roots are causing your sewage backup. This is not an issue you can resolve by yourself; you might have to relocate the tree and install new pipes.

Token Cleaning Services are specialists in fixing drainage problems and deep cleans and we can also provide innovative CCTV drain surveys. Contact our team of experts on 01279 422752 or email us at office@tokencleaning.com

How bad are your roots? If you haven’t managed to get to the hairdresser or barbers since the start of lockdown, the chances are they need a bit of attention by now! But that’s not the kind of roots we’re referring to here in this article. Here, we’re more concerned about tree roots and the effects they can have on your drainage system, foundations, driveway, and patios. Read on to find out more about this common issue.

They Affect Your Plumbing

If you start to notice issues with your water pressure or running water you might have a blockage somewhere in the pipes. Occasionally this is caused by tree roots that invade the plumbing pipes outside.

Tree roots won’t break pipes open but they will take full advantage of cracked pipes. The roots are naturally attracted to the water source. Once inside they grow rapidly and quickly block up the water pipes. You will have to contact a professional drainage cleaner.

Pavements, Patios, and Driveways

Do you look out the window of your home and see some tree roots upending your driveway slabs? This is a common problem with tree roots since they look for water close to the surface of soil. Compacted soil beneath pavements is often a helpful environment for them.

The best solution is to have the tree removed. This will prevent the problem recurring. But if you want to keep the tree there are other options. Contact a professional arborist and have the tree roots cut back.

Your Home’s Foundation

It’s a common misconception that tree roots are responsible for damaging your home’s foundation. It’s true that tree roots can grow into existing cracks in pipes but it’s rare that they will cause structural damage to a home.

If you live in a particularly dry area you might find that tree roots cause instability to the soil as they consume any moisture in the area, but it’s still unlikely they will cause any lasting damage. If your home has shallow foundations and you’re concerned about the roots, it’s best to have things tree removed.

Your Outside Drains

Your outside drains are responsible for filtering grey water away from your home into the stage system where it is treated before being returned to the ground water or water supply. If these drains are blocked it can lead to localised floods and plumbing issues.

One of the ways these drains are blocked is by tree roots that seek out the water supply. They grow into cracks and fissures in the drainage system and turn your drains into a tree root labyrinth. To avoid or fix this problem contact a drain cleaning service like Token Cleaning.

Drain Cleaning Service

Token Cleaning Services is a premier cleaning company with a fully-equipped fleet of vehicles, and a team available 24/7. We can promptly provide professional cleaning services that include drain cleaningbrick and stone cleaning, graffiti removal, steam cleaning and window cleaning services for commercial, industrial and domestic clients as required.

Get in touch with us today to talk through your needs. Why not Chat to us online, call us on 01279 422752 or send a message to office@tokencleaning.com. Further information about our full service range can be found on our website.


Blocked drains can be a nightmare. When drains aren’t working properly, it’s not long before property damage can occur. As an example, sinks, toilets and showers can easily overflow and this can cause a significant amount of damage to the interior of the building.

How drains can become blocked?

There are a number of reasons for blocked drains . The most common is incorrect use! Pouring fats, grease and oils down drains or flushing wet wipes, nappies and other materials down the toilet will cause your drains to block.

External drainage stack pipes can become blocked with debris. Token Cleaning recently unblocked stack pipes to a six storey building. The rainwater stack pipes required mechanical cleaning and high pressure jetting of cast pipes which ran internally and externally.

Token Cleaning Drain Cleaning

Token cleaning Draining Cleaning


Tree roots can block drains and cause many problems. Whilst they aren’t usually the cause of the damage to the drain in the first place, they will access damaged or leaking drains that are left vulnerable to tree root intrusion. It’s unusual if tree roots affect watertight drains.


Tree Root Drain blockage

Tree Root drain blockage


To find out more or to arrange drain cleaning for your property, contact Token Cleaning now on 01279 422752 or 07860 233343. For all other services click here.

Blocked drains can be hazardous and inconvenient in both commercial and residential settings. When a drain becomes blocked, you’ll notice water backing up into sinks, baths and showers. Whilst a slow-draining sink may indicate a partial blockage in the drain, standing water is typically indicative of a complete blockage.

When drains aren’t working properly, it doesn’t take long for property damage to occur. Sinks, toilets and showers can easily overflow because of a blocked drain, for example, and this can cause a significant amount of damage to the interior of the building.

In addition to this, a blockage in a drain could cause structural damage to the pipe itself. If a drain collapses due to the added pressure caused by a blockage, it’s likely to cause a considerable amount of flooding in the ground under or around the property. Alternatively, a hairline fracture or crack in the pipe will result in a slower-moving but highly damaging flood.

Furthermore, blocked drains can be a considerable health risk. When drains aren’t free-flowing, materials back-up into the sink, shower, bath or toilet. This is why an unpleasant odour emanating from a plughole is often the first sign of a blockage. In the case of sewage pipes, a blockage could result in sewage spilling out into the property and posing a serious health risk to its inhabitants.

Whilst blockages can usually be resolved relatively easily with professional assistance, an untreated blocked drain could cause irreversible damage to your pipework. If structural damage occurs, for example, replacing the drain may be the only viable option. In older pipes, such as drains made by pitch fibre or cast iron, the risk of damage increases as they age. Due to this, cracks, fracture and drain collapses are more likely to occur if a blockage is left untreated.

What causes a blocked drain?

Blocked drains can be caused for a variety of reasons, but incorrect usage is the most common. The incorrect disposal of waste is responsible for the majority of blocked drainage systems throughout the country and, as a result, a considerable amount of damage occurs to the pipework.

Fats, grease and oils should never be poured down drains, for example, yet people commonly use kitchen sinks and toilets to dispose of these materials. Whilst oil and grease may be liquid when you pour them down the plughole, they quickly solidify. When this happens, they cause either a partial or complete blockage in the pipe.

Similarly, flushing wet wipes, nappies and other materials down the toilet will cause your drains to block. These items won’t degrade in water, so are bound to cause a blockage somewhere in the pipework.

Pouring oil, grease or fat down a drain can lead to a complete blockage within minutes or hours, so it’s important to find a more appropriate method of disposal. Even if you don’t notice a blockage straight away, using your drains to dispose of these materials will inevitably cause a blocked drain to occur at some point.

How can drains be unblocked?

Although there are drain unblockers which can be purchased over-the-counter, these can do more harm than good. In many cases, they simply won’t be powerful enough to fully clear the blockage and they could cause additional damage to the structure of the drain.

With a CCTV drain survey, however, professional technicians can pinpoint exactly where the blockage is. In addition, a CCTV drain survey enables technicians to determine whether any the drain has suffered any permanent damage.

In many cases, no-dig drainage solutions offer an efficient and hassle-free resolution to blocked drains. With a range of drain cleaning equipment, experienced technicians can identify the least invasive option when it comes to unblocking your drainage system.

With high-pressure jetting equipment, for example, engineers can remove the blockage without digging down to the drain itself. This minimises disruption and enables them to restore your drains to a fully-functional state within minutes.

Of course, once a blocked drain has been cleared, it’s important to practice proper drain maintenance. As well as finding alternative waste disposal methods and only using your drains for appropriate liquids, regular drain cleaning is beneficial.

When your drains are cleaned with professional equipment, it prevents limescale, silt, grease and scale from building up. As well as preventing future blockages, this can protect the structure of your pipework and increase the lifespan of your drainage system.

To find out more about drain unblocking and maintenance, contact Token Cleaning now on 01279 422752 or 07860 233343.