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Drain Covers Of The World

In the world of drainage there tends to be a small capacity for created influence, lets be honest, we are repairing and maintaining issues in some of the most disgusting areas know to man. Drain covers and manhole covers are our gateway to work and we pass through these gateways quite regularly. The covers themselves are usually quite bland and functional but all over the world certain cities are throwing there own creative twist on their gateways to the sewers.

1) Qingdao, China


2) Stavanger, Norway


3) Malmö, Sweden


4) Paris, France


5) Gunma Prefecture, Japan


6) Miami, Florida


7) Riga, Latvia


8) Denver, Colorado


9) San Cristobal, Ecuador


10) Berlin, Germany


11) Toledo, Spain


12) Seattle, Washington


13) Kurashiki City, Japan


These creative and innovative drain covers show the world that even the most boring aspects of the city can be artistic and creative. We’d most certainly enjoy our work a lot more if we encountered a different vibrant drain cover everyday. It would probably even make the task of entering the sewers a bit more bearable for drainage workers, as well as brightening up our city streets.

Do you have blocked drains?

The message here is always check, if you have blocked drains in London then you need to find the root of the problem and tackle it using professional help before it grows beyond your control. Please get in touch either via the Contact Us section on our website or call us on  020 3556 4453 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year!

The Crossrail Tunnel Project: What It Is and Where It’s Going

Beneath the streets of the British capital, over 70 million working hours have been put into the largest construction project in Europe. The current construction of the new London Crossrail tunnel project is underway and is expected to provide a 100km route from the west of the capital to the east.

The new Crossrail Tunnel project will run from Heathrow and reading in west London, all the way through to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east. The project is set to transform London’s rail transport network by increasing capacity by 10%, cutting journey times and also supporting economic regeneration within the city.

The new Crossrail tunnel project system will enable access for an additional 1.5 million people to the capital within 45 minutes, further enabling economic development in London’s key employment, business and leisure sectors.

Construction of the Crossrail tunnel project poses major beneficial factors for the 750,000 workers who already commute inside of the capital. The project will provide new interchanges that are strategically placed to benefit national, local and international leisure and business travellers.


The Crossrail tunnel project will host 40 stations, which include 10 new stations at Paddington, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon, Liverpool Street, Whitechapel, Canary Wharf, Custom House, Woolwich and Abbey Wood. These additional stations will open up further access to London residents as well as work based commuters outside of the capital.

During the construction of the Crossrail tunnel project there were major concerns that arose around the safety of London’s crucial sewage and drainage networks. These drainage systems are key to the networking of all of London’s sewage and water and would hold devastating consequences for the city if they were to be damaged.

One of the main areas of concern was the construction based around the Blackwall tunnel site. After carrying out a CCTV drain survey of the sewers during the preparatory work for the project, engineers discovered that the tunnel boring machines would pass close beneath two major sewer lines, the Ham sewer and the Wick sewer, based in the area alongside the northern approach to the Blackwall tunnel.

The upkeep and maintenance of the Ham Sewer are of strategic importance to East London as two million businesses and residents rely on the continual flow of this sewage network. Normal maintenance such as  drain clearance  would normally not be an issue in the Ham sewer, but if it was to sustain any serious damage through the construction of the Crossrail tunnel project, fixing the problem could prove to be more of a challenge than your average drain repair job.

The Crossrail tunnel project subcontracted private engineers to search for similar problems on a global scale in order to find a resolution, out of 25 projects world wide, none came close to the limited parameters in which the Crossrail tunnel project faced, this was considered to be the closest pass by a tunnel to a key and sensitive structure by far.

Through the use of traditional blocked drain methods, surveyors and engineers began to collect data and information on the sewage network, mainly through the use of CCTV drain surveys and laser burst technology.

This information was then utilised by Crossrail tunnel project engineers to develop a solution for the problem, in which engineers believed that lining the sewage network with steel would stiffen the structure, making the ground movements created by the large tunnel boring machines obsolete, thus minimising the possibility of damage to the sewer network’s masonry foundations.

At Total Drainage we always are amazed to see such innovation in tunnel and drain construction; projects like this are pushing the boundaries and barriers within this industry and we will keep you updated on developments with the project.

Need some help?

Please get in touch either via the Contact Us section on our website or call us on  020 3556 4453 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year!

Quick Fixes for Blocked Drains in London

For homeowners in London blocked drains can be a real nuisance, and really expensive to boot. To help you avoid the hair and money loss that usually comes with blocked drains in London we’ve put together a small checklist of things you can do yourself when you think you’ve got a problem at home.

1) Identify the problem that’s going on within your drains. Specifically, find the parts you feel which aren’t working like they should. Common problems include: slow sink or tub drains; water backing up inside the bath tub, shower, or sink; wet areas in walls or along floors in rooms adjacent to drain pipes; wet areas within the lawn near drain piping and unusual gurgling or bubbling sounds when water is draining. Basically just keep your eyes and ears open for any of these tell tale signs.

2) You’ll then need to work out the extent of your “slow drain” problem. If it’s isolated to just one sink or other fixture, it is probably localised to the individual pipe that connects that fixture to the main. Put simply, if it’s just the kitchen sink that drains slowly, then the issue is with the sink trap or drain line that connects to the larger pipes and which also carries water from sinks, the toilet and the bathtub.


3) Here’s the tricky part, you must then figure out of the path the waste water’s taking to reach the main drainpipe. Quite often individual drain pipes are routed though the wall cavity, where they connect to other pipes, which in turn go underneath the floor and exit the home at either the septic system or sanitary sewer. Sometimes at this stage you’ll need to call for professional help as getting inside your drainage system to have a look is quite a complicated process. But, if you can find where the problem is, go to step 4!

4) Flush the malfunctioning drain with very hot water. For your bathroom or kitchen sink, you should carry this out by stopping the drain and filling the sink with warm water from the faucet. Unstop the plug and the water will drain into the material that is clogging the pipes, and if the material is a residue of grease or similar waste, the warm water may dissolve it enough to flush an adequate amount out of the pipes to restore your flow. Note that, for more serious blockages, this may actually make the problem worse, so make sure you call the pros!

We can’t stress enough that that this is only a temporary fix at best and, for more serious blocked drain problems or for longer-lasting solutions you are always best off contacting a professional who will be able to properly inspect your drainage system, tell you exactly what’s wrong with it and then direct you on how to fix and futureproof it.

Total Drainage are proud to be able to supply a range of domestic drainage services available that include drain cleaning and repairs.

Do you have blocked drains?

Please get in touch either via the Contact Us section on our website or call us on  020 3556 4453 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year!

Spring & Summer Gully Clearance

You’ve probably noticed by now that winter has well and truly gone. As we pass into Spring the days start to get longer and as the weather warms it usually rains. If you’ve ever had to get a train in the spring months you’ll probably understand how something minor like fallen excess rainfall can cause major problems.

While cancelling trains because of leaves or water on the track is frankly ridiculous, having drains and gullies flood because they’re clogged with leaves, mud and runoff litter isn’t.

A gully consists of a concrete pot that’s sunk into anywhere that surface water collects (roads, gardens and and is covered with a visible iron grate. Water collects in the pot and is then channelled to sewer networks via a network of pipes.

If you’re a property owner it’s important to know here just exactly what constitutes your responsibility and what doesn’t. There have been recent changes in legislation that affect ownership and responsibility for underground drainage systems (which we cover in more depth here).

Chances are that your local authority will take care of any blocked drains and gullies on public property when (and hopefully before) they happen but, if you’re connected to, or own, a private pumping station you could be liable for repairs. It’s also possible that, if you have a garden, there is a gully there too.

Gullies in private roads, parking areas and gardens are the sole responsibility of house or property owners. One approach to consider is tackling the problem before it becomes an issue. Spring and summer are the perfect times to schedule in a service cleanse that’ll save you money and give you peace of mind that your surface drainage systems are safe for the coming year.

It’s not just during colder months however, as during very dry periods gullies can dry out and cause smells to leak back out.

The networks of pipes connected to gullies are complex and require experience and expertise to clean properly without damaging them. If you are responsible for a private drainage system you shouldn’t attempt to clear them yourself. Cleaning should only be handled by a professional drainage company correctly equipped to handle gully clearance.

Need some help?

At Total Drainage we are equipped to handle both pre-planned gully maintenance and reactive emergency gully clearances so please get in touch either via the Contact Us section on our website or call us on  020 3556 4453 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year!

Flushing with pride: HRH Prince Charles Visits London’s Super Sewer

His Royal Highness Prince Charles, heir to the throne, recently toured the newly-constructed Lee Tunnel, which holds the honour of being London’s deepest sewer.

Charles donned a bright orange hi-vis and hard hat over his usual pinstriped suit as he was shown around by a group of engineers who all worked on the tunnel’s construction.


75 metres below the surface of London the Lee Tunnel is an incredible seven km long, seven metres wide and cost a staggering £635m to build.

The tunnel was built to put an end to leakage from London’s overworked Victorian sewer system, which is causing 39 million tonnes of waste to leak into the Thames every year.


Prince Charles was also shown around the Abbey Mills pumping station which sits next to the Lee tunnel and was built as part of London’s original sewer system in 1865.


Opened by Charles’ great-great-grandfather Edward VII 150 years ago the Victorian sewer system was designed and built as a response to The Great Stink of 1858, caused by the wholesale dumping of waste in the river Thames.

The Great Stink was so bad that Benjamin Disraeli, then Prime Minister, called the Thames ‘a Stygian pool, reeking with ineffable and intolerable horrors’

If you want to know a bit more about the history of blocked drains London, have a look here, where we cover the Great Stink and London’s response in a bit more detail.

Do you have blocked drains?

The message here is always check, if you have blocked drains in London then you need to find the root of the problem and tackle it using professional help before it grows beyond your control. Please get in touch either via the Contact Us section on our website or call us on  020 3556 4453 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year!

7 strange and amazing things found in public drains

Anyone that’s ever had to unblock a sink or any workman that’s ever had to inspect a drain will tell you that some really disgusting things do end up in our drains. However there are some times when disgusting just doesn’t cut it, when what’s found in the drain is beyond and above the call of duty for anyone but a professional to remove. Our own personal experience has given us some nasty shocks but they don’t really compare to finding:


1) This 14-foot alligator found during sewer maintenance works in Tampa, Florida.



2) This £21,000 stolen Rolex found by a street cleaner in Essex.

Blocked drains london


3) 6 of these man-eating piranhas found in the Midlands after nearby

residents complained of a fishy smell leaking from their drains.

drain cleaning london


4) This small child recently found abandoned in a drain in Sydney.

blocked drains london


5) This now-famous 66ft fatberg found underneath Westminster.

blocked drain london


6) This Mexican King Desert Snake found in, of all places, Scotland’s sewer system.

blocked drains london


7) And finally, these homeless people who have built whole lives in the Las Vegas storm drain system.

blocked drains london


The sheer scale and range of what we throw away on a daily basis is staggering and is also a major cause of drain blockages. As seen above these blockages can be as simple and horrifying as the 66-foot fatberg (which was caused by flushed wet wipes) or as mind-numbingly horrifying as a fully-grown alligator.


Do you have blocked drains?

The message here is always check, if you have blocked drains in London then you need to find the root of the problem and tackle it using professional help before it grows beyond your control. Please get in touch either via the Contact Us section on our website or call us on  020 3556 4453 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year!

Grease Traps: Do you need one?


Put in very simple terms a grease trap is a drainage system that separates fats and grease from the main drainage system. If you’re a homeowner and a cook you’ll probably already know that as fat, oil and grease from cooking cools, it hardens and congeals. It doesn’t take a great leap of imagination to see how this could cause blocked drains, which would stop water and other waste draining away.

The usual suggestion here, and this is something that adverts love to tell you, is to use something like bleach or detergents for drain unblocking to cleanse the pipes. Like most quick fixes, this is only temporary and, in most cases, will only cause the blockage to move further down into your drainage system where it will accumulate and cause another, bigger blockage.

This is where grease traps come in. They’re relatively unknown to London’s domestic market but are something that’s becoming increasingly popular with commercial customers (see below). They work by trapping grease and fats on the surface while allowing water to drain from the system, meaning that you’ll never have to get the plunger out again. They also deal with the collected grease by using a variety of bacteria (don’t worry, they’re good bacteria!) to eat away at the grease and convert it into mainly water and some carbon dioxide. If you have a large, hungry household in London and are worried about the level of grease in your pipes then a grease trap may be for you. In most cases the single cost will offset the stress and cost of having to get your pipes cleansed time and time again.



There is virtually no kind of working kitchen, in any environment, that would not benefit from having a grease trap installed. In most commercial kitchens, and especially in London, water discharges from a 50mm waste pipe system into a 110mm pipe and a grease trap is usually fitted either at the source, in the washing-up area, before entering the main sewer line. Either that or it’s fitted underground before the sewer line connects with effluent waste flowing from the toilets.

As mentioned above, but on a more industrial scale, the purpose of a grease trap is to separate and trap oil and grease, together with any foreign articles such as cloths, cutlery, etc before they enter the sewage system, in order to prevent blocked drains. For a commercial property in London blocked drains can be really serious, as they can contravene health and safety legislation, which can be fatal for culinary businesses. Even if yours isn’t, a blocked drain can still seriously affect employee health, can attract vermin and, if left unchecked, can also cause structural issues.

In this day and age most commercial kitchens have a grease trap already fitted but if yours doesn’t, you should really consider getting one installed today.


Do you have blocked drains?

The message here is always check, if you have blocked drains in London then you need to find the root of the problem and tackle it using professional help before it grows beyond your control. Please get in touch either via the Contact Us section on our website or call us on  020 3556 4453 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year!

Home Buyers CCTV Drain Survey London

If your drains have blocked and you’re not sure why then you might need a CCTV drain survey London. Or ff you’re a home buyer, you should always get a drainage survey carried out on the property you’re about to buy, just in case it’s blocked drains hide some dark surprises. You should always make sure that you always use fully certified drainage surveyors accredited by the National Association of Drainage Contractors.



Do you have blocked drains?

Please get in touch either via the Contact Us section on our website or call us on  020 3556 4453 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year!

Drains Responsibility



Drains responsibility, despite the fact that they’re completely hidden from view, do fulfil an important function in society but who’s responsibility? See our drains page for a brief history.  You need to stay informed when it comes to things like the legislation that governs them which, like all laws can change, which  have important consequences for you; the property owner.


Change in the law

Something that you should be aware of, if you’re not already, is that as of the 1st October 2011 the laws about ownership of privately owned sewers and lateral drains changed dramatically. In an effort to save property owners the large single cost of having to repair sewers and lateral drains (the drains leading from your property to the water main) the government adopted them. The reasoning behind this being that although there would be a slight increase in water bills this cost would be used to offset the cost of responsibility for maintenance of the new, larger drainage network by the water utility companies.

The transfer of ownership has been scheduled for two stages; the first on 1/10/2011, which was the transfer of lateral drains and private sewers, and the second, which will be the transfer of private pumping stations, on 1/10/2016. If you are connected to a private pumping station chances are that you already know and typically your property would be on a small housing development, a remote property or a small business park. And, until October 2016, the responsibility for maintaining these pumping stations still lies with their owner.


Are you a homeowner?

If you are a homeowner who isn’t connected to a private pumping station, then good news! The water company will now repair any and all problems with shared and main drains but, and this is important, you are still responsible for having to initially locate the fault before contacting your local water authority. This can either be a pretty simple process, as quick as asking your neighbours (if you have them) if they’re experiencing drainage problems, or could be a bit more protracted and difficult if it requires professional inspection.

It’s also important that you know that you are still responsible for the maintenance of internal plumbing and the section of drain that connects your property to the adopted drains and sewers. The good news here is that problems in any section of drain that fall outside your property boundary will be taken care of by your local water authority, once you’ve notified them. When you’ve noticed that you’re experiencing problems with your sewer or drain your next step should be to narrow down and identify the fault. In most circumstances, to properly survey your drains, you’ll need to seek professional help. Once you have you should be notified there and then what the problem is and the best way for you to proceed.

The change in drain ownership legislation was meant to shoulder a burden previously held by property owners and to give uniform clarity regarding ownership and, for the most part, it has. It’s important to remember though that you are still responsible for identifying problems, maintenance of your section of drain and that the transfer will not fully complete until October 2016.

Public sewer/drain – responsibility of the water and sewerage company
Privately owned – responsibility of property owner

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Detached – before 2011


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Detached – after 2011


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Semi detached – before 2011


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Semi detached – after 2011


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Terraced – before 2011


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Terraced – after 2011


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Flats – before 2011


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Flats – after 2011