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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 cleaning, brick 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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.
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.