Keeping the sewage clear is harder work than you would initially think. People are used to throwing things down the toilet without really thinking about what they are doing. Of course, there is the occasional accidental drop of a phone or glasses. But there are many more, non-accidental drops that can cause you enormous problems. The usual suspects are for example wet wipes, hair, grease and fat.
It is common to think that if you wash hot liquid cooking grease down the sink, followed by hot water, it should be fine. But the thing is, this grease is only liquid because it is warm. When it cools down, it becomes solid and sticks to the pipes. Maybe not immediately down your sink, but definitely further on. Also, even grease that is naturally liquid can be sticky. And will happily join in. Every little bit of additional grease will build up. And form a thicker and thicker layer. Anything else that is flushed down will get stuck in this layer. And in the end, could even block the entire pipe.
You should never ever try put wipes down the toilet, end of story! A regular wet wipe needs around 100 years to decompose. So once you flush it down the toilet, it can linger around your drain for the same amount of time. Even the so-called “flushable” wipes are not hundred per cent flushable (yes, they do eventually decompose, but it still takes way too much time). So, unless you are happy to grow your own drain monster, do not flush the wipes!
Also, mother nature has her go at our drains. Tree roots are very strong and can damage the drains from the outside. And leaves can quickly fill up drains and cause havoc.
These blockages are easy to prevent though. Keep a watchful eye out for what grows near your drains. And even if gardening is not your forte, it is important to keep things in check. Clear leaves from around your drains. And check if your trees are not encroaching on your drains.
The not so usual suspects.
There is never a dull moment for the people who have been tasked to keep our drains clear.
To be honest, some days are even very exciting, unexpected and sometimes even scary.
Imagine going to work, just like every other day and encountering a 600-pound alligator staring you in the face. Luckily for this sewage worker in Texas, this alligator was so big that he got himself stuck and could not move. The gentleman got away unharmed. And so did the alligator.
But we don’t have to go far to hear stories about animals roaming around in our drains and sewage. And we are not talking about rats. One day during routine checks in a sewage in Surrey, it appeared that a sheep was having a little look around. Where exactly this creature made its way into the drain is a mystery, but he or she was fine besides being very dirty.
The most common items our plumbers tend to fetch from down the drain are jewellery and phones. So remember, never have your phone in your back pocket when you go to the toilet.
Additional to dropped earrings, bracelets and mobiles, there are proper treasures to be found too. In Japan, for example, some plumbers found pieces of gold worth over $56,000. You would say well worth diving in for.
There are many more stories about the weird and wonderful things that are being found. We can go on for a very long time, but let’s leave some for another time.
Most blockages can be prevented fairly easily. But to be fair, blockages caused by these more unusual items are a lot less easy to predict and prevent.
In most cases the signs are obvious. There could be a smell coming from your drains or the water does not drain away as quickly as before. When you find out too late that you indeed have a problem and a blockage or damage has been caused, we are here to help you with any clearances and repairs needed. We are also able to help you prevent future blockages. Give us a call any time.