What is that blockage?

Look at the photo. I have circled an item which is causing a blockage in the main foul drains running behind a row of houses. This was causing an interruption to facilities for multiple properties and had been this way for a long time.

One of the numerous questions I get when attending to blocked drains is: “what is blocking our drains?” The highest number of blockages I find are caused by wipes and FOG. This stands for Fats, Oils and Grease and many blockages are caused by them getting into drains via food waste, washing up and dishwashers.

FOG blockages can affect household drains which are normally four or six inches in diameter. This can happen very quickly because as soon as the FOG enters the drains it starts to cool and as this happens it solidifies and sticks together. This can create fatbergs which can move through the sewerage network and cause massive issues downstream with the Main Foul Network and associated assets such as pumping stations and sewage treatment works.

Another common cause of blockages are wipes, which are the bane of every field engineer’s life. The photo at the bottom shows just some of the debris removed from just one lateral pipe of a house. Besides wipes, there is a battery, shampoo bottle, sanitary plastic waste, clay pipe pieces, a plastic bag and a lollypop stick. Put all this together and it was no wonder they couldn’t flush their toilet!

But by using the right tools, having the right knowledge and experience and having the determination to resolve the issue meant-  I could clear all this from the drain and enable the house to use their facilities again.

If you’re still wondering what was blocking the drain in the first photo, you’ll have to wait to read part 2 in due course, where all will be revealed.

Did you guess right? Read what the mystery item was here.