Tag Archives: drainage

Recession busting North West Drain Doctors celebrate national award

Drain Doctor Plumbing chairman Freddie Mitman (centre) presents Kevin and Dawn Preston with their Franchise of the Year award.

Drain Doctor Plumbing chairman Freddie Mitman (centre) presents Kevin and Dawn Preston with their Franchise of the Year award.

Preston-based Drainage Investigations & Solutions, a franchise business of Drain Doctor Plumbing which covers the North West of England, has crowned another successful year by being presented with the Franchise of the Year award at the national group’s annual awards ceremony.

Group founder and chairman Freddie Mitman presented franchise owners Kevin and Dawn Preston, representing Drainage Investigations and Solutions, with their trophy at a gala awards night at the Devere Village St David’s in the historic Cheshire town of Chester.

The award is given to those franchisees who have not only generated outstanding financial results related to the population of the area they serve but have developed good customer relationships, are good Drain Doctor ‘team players’ and follow the Drain Doctor ‘system’ to provide dazzling levels of customer service.

Freddie Mitman said: “Kevin and Dawn are among our longest-serving franchisees and are very much a part of the solid backbone of Drain Doctor Plumbing. The company wouldn’t be the same without them.

“Since they joined us Kevin and Dawn have grown their business every year, going on to develop the North West Consortium together with Nick & Lisa Birtles, the franchisees from Lancaster They are both husband and wife teams which have shown themselves to be committed, loyal, ambitious and knowledgeable. They are a wonderful model for other franchises to follow.

“They have demonstrated the strength of the Drain Doctor system in delighting customers with first-class plumbing and drainage services and they are now reaping the rewards. Winning the Franchise of the Year award is testament to this.”

Kevin added: “The Franchise of the Year award is recognition of the hard work the team has put in to provide people throughout our operational area with dazzling plumbing and drainage service.

“This would not have been possible without us all working together and I am proud to have such a dedicated and loyal team. Drain Doctor Plumbing rewards dedication, enthusiasm and customer care and we are delighted to have picked up this award.

“Success is the product of a national identity coupled with a proven system and the ongoing training and motivation of our technicians. Despite the current recession our new and returning customer base is increasing and we have expanded accordingly.”

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Autumn brings leafy problems for drains and gutters

Autumn Leaves

Autumn Leaves (Photo credit: blmiers2)

Autumn is here and the leaves are providing a kaleidoscope of colour in our parks, gardens and countryside. But soon the leaves will be falling and blocking drains and gutters in homes and businesses up and down the country. The blockages caused by a build up of leaves in the drainage system can cause problems with toilets and kitchen and bathroom sinks and drains inside your property.

Not only that, rainwater overflowing from blocked gutters can cause water to pour down external walls causing potential problems with damp later.

To help you avoid these problems Drain Doctor is offering some tips to prevent drains getting blocked.

  • Watch where the leaves are falling. Breezes can cause them to blow around and collect in gutters and drains. Sweep leaves up as they fall, bag them and take them to the compost heap.
  • Get covered. You can buy covers for drains and downpipes in guttering systems to prevent fallen leaves getting into the drainage system.
  • Arrange a CCTV inspection of your drains with a trained Drain Doctor technician to check for potential problems that can be rectified before they become a serious issue in the winter months.

If you are unable to clear guttering or drains by hand give Drain Doctor a call on 0800 3357 999. A fully trained technician can clear any blockages in gutters and drains to keep everything flowing smoothly.

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Septic tank management: A fragrant problem

Inspect cess pools and septic tanks regularly to avoid problems.

Walking around a small village in Rutland recently I noticed the fragrance of septic tanks in the air. In rural areas it is common for properties not to be connected to the mains drainage system. These properties have to rely on a private drainage system such as a cesspool or septic tank. These types of drainage systems are very effective, provided they are managed correctly.

An average household will produce some 124,000 litres of waste each year. This is equivalent to emptying an 18,000 litre cesspool approximately seven times a year. If properly managed, most septic tanks or small sewage treatment plants do not cause problems – but if they are poorly designed, installed or managed, the discharge from them can damage the environment. Domestic wastewater can contain substances that are potentially harmful to human health and the environment.

A septic tank is a complete mini sewage system in which effluent is treated naturally. The primary purpose of the tank is to separate solids from liquids, as wastewater flows through it, and to help to break down contaminants.

A cesspool is a sealed underground tank with an inlet pipe but no outlet. It is connected to a property by a series of drainage pipes. The cesspool stores sewage and other wastewater until the time of disposal. Cesspools must be watertight to prevent the leakage of foul water or the ingress of groundwater.

Under the provisions of the Public Health Act 1936, it is an offence to allow a cesspool to overflow or leak. If this happens the owner is liable to prosecution by the local authority. In addition, if pollution of a watercourse takes place, the Environment Agency may take legal action under the Water Resources Act 1991. The penalty for allowing a polluting discharge is up to £20,000 and/or three months imprisonment.

A smell of sewage in the area, slowly draining sinks, toilets or baths, liquid overflowing from the inspection cover, surface flooding ‘downstream’ of the tank or nettles and vigorous plant growth ‘downstream’ can all be indicators of problems with your septic tank.

To avoid problems:

  • Put all wastewaters from your home into the system – any of these can contain environmental pollutants. All roof and surface water should discharge directly into a ditch or watercourse.
  • Use bleaches and disinfectants sparingly because these could kill the useful bacteria that help to digest the waste in your septic tank. Some brands of domestic cleaner are ‘septic tank friendly’ and are preferred.
  • Try to avoid excessive discharges from washing machines by using the ‘halfload’ setting. If possible use showers instead of baths.
  • Inspect the system at least once a month.
  • De-sludge the tank at least once a year. Ensure that air vents are not blocked and that all covers are secured and easily accessible.
  • Act immediately if you find a blockage or any sign of pollution.

Do not:

  • Use your toilet or kitchen sink as a bin. Put disposable nappies, sanitary items, plastic or other large solids which may cause blockages into the bin.
  • Empty chemical toilets into the drains of the septic tank.
  • Pour paints, solvents, oils, fats or heavy greases into the drains of the septic tank. These should be kept in their original containers and disposed of properly.
  • Allow roof or surface water into the septic tank. Excessive discharges into the tank will flush solids through before adequate digestion has taken place.

At Drain Doctor Plumbing and Drainage we understand septic tank systems and how they work.  We are experts in both the maintenance and installation of the systems.  We can upgrade existing systems to ensure they do not pollute ground water aquifers or water courses.

We can carry out ground forosity tests and lay down new soak-away or nitrification fields, with all work carried out in accordance with building regulations. We can also ‘audit’ existing septic tank systems and ensure the correct bacterial balance within the system.  This can be done by ensuring all materials used in the house are bio-degradable.  We also sell products to redress bacterial imbalance in septic tank systems.

Call us on 0800 3357 999 for a free septic tank consultation.

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The transfer of private sewers and lateral drains

As of 1 October 2011 the ten water and sewerage companies in England and Wales automatically became responsible for privately owned sewers and lateral drains located outside property owners’ boundaries. These pipes were previously the responsibility of the owners of the properties they are connected to. 

The idea behind this government initiative is to relieve property owners of responsibility for repair and maintenance from property owners, who can face unexpected and potentially expensive bills or complex ownership issues when problems occur with these pipes. 

However, it’s important to remember that property owners still retain the ownership and therefore the responsibility of the drain serving their property that is located within their boundary. 

What is a private sewer?

A sewer is a pipe that carries waste water from more than one property. Sewers often run along several properties or towards the road. Most are owned and cared for by the local water company. 

Some groups of properties are connected to private sewers. Before 1 October 2011 these sewers were the responsibility of the owners or occupiers of the properties connected to them. The water and sewerage companies are now responsible for maintaining these. 

What is a lateral drain?

A drain is a pipe that carries waste water away from a single property. Drains belong to the owner of the property they are connected to. A drain is the property owner’s responsibility until it connects to either someone else’s drain or a sewer. Nearly every property is connected to its own private drains. The property owner is responsible for their repair and maintenance. However, some properties – such as apartment blocks – have shared drains. Owners of these properties are jointly responsible for their drains. 

A lateral drain is the part of a drain which lies outside the property boundary. In some cases these can be located under someone else’s land or a road. Before 1 October 2011 lateral drains were the responsibility of the individual property owner they serve. 

On 1 October 2011 private sewers and lateral drains were automatically transferred to the water and sewerage companies. The local water and sewerage company is now responsible for the maintenance and repairs to these pipes.

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Rogue plumbers give trade a bad name

Drain Doctor prices its jobs before work starts according to a national pricing menu.

Recession-busting Drain Doctor Plumbing is helping householders and businesses to keep their maintenance costs under control by maintaining its price check policy. No overtime is charged for evening, weekend or bank holiday emergencies and there are no call-out charges as every job is priced before work starts, working to a national pricing menu.

‘Rip off’ plumbers can charge a small fortune just to take a look at the problem. Take this rogue plumber who was recently caught out by BBC TV’s Watchdog programme.

It’s people like these who give our trade a bad name.

We are truly on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Service requests are handled quickly and efficiently and prices are agreed before the job is done, so there are no surprises. Our constant aim is to give superb and specialised service. The central principle is to deliver dazzling levels of service in a market plagued by cowboy operators who are overcharging customers for shoddy workmanship.

Drain Doctor technicians are trained not just with technical skills – including the latest techniques such as closed circuit camera drain surveys and no-dig drain repairs – but in customer care that is reflected in such things as wearing overshoes while in customers’ homes and clearing up carefully after every job.

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Sometimes a plumbing problem just gets out of hand

Solving a plumbing problem is not always easy – especially when you are not sure exactly what the problem is.

The problem reported here took two weeks to fix, involved the fire department, the council’s health department, a plumbing inspector, a heating and ventilation contractor and several council officials as well as a plumber. It caused a public library to be closed for several days.

The cause of all this? Probably (but no-one seems quite sure) a faulty seal on a toilet in the library’s mens room.

Sometimes plumbing is not as simple as it seems. Do you have stories of plumbing detective work or complex problems like the one described here? Let’s hear about them!

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Going psycho about toilets

Psycho turns 50!

This year is the 50th Anniversary of the movie ‘Psycho’.

We’re all familiar with the famous ‘shower scene’. But did you know that Hitchcock’s 1960 chiller is the first American movie to show a flushing toilet on-screen?

Marion Crane – played by Janet Leigh – has arrived at the Bates Motel after embezzling cash from her employer and fleeing. Marion is seen counting the remaining cash she has, calculating how much she needs to repay her employer on a note, then flushing it down the toilet before getting into the shower. We all know what happens next.

The flushing toilet with its contents visible on-screen was cause for concern for the censors. Reputedly, Hitchcock didn’t want the toilet to be seen, just the sound of flushing off-screen, but screen writer Joseph Stefano was able to script the film to show Marion throwing the note paper into the toilet, making it integral to the plot, so impossible to remove from the film.

Following best advice from Drain Doctor, Marion wouldn’t have thrown the paper in the toilet because it could have caused a blockage in the drains.

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