Category Archives: Commercial

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!

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!

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!