A Quick Guide to Commercial Drain Maintenance and Cleaning

If your facility has an Integrated Pollution Control (IPC) license from the EPA, then your drains need to be maintained regularly, in accordance with the conditions of your licence. Failure to maintain your drains will lead to significant fines, if any pollution or subsidence occurs because of neglect; and it could result in the loss of the organisation’s licence. The three core elements of effective drain maintenance are drain cleaning, drain testing and drain rehabilitation.

Drain cleaning

IPC regulations dictate that commercial drains should be cleaned at least every 3 years. However, it is often recommended to do so more frequently, particularly with the increased frequency of severe weather events Western Europe has been experiencing in recent years.

The most common method used to clean industrial drains is drain jetting, which is the most economical, environmentally safe and compliant option available. Highly pressurised (2500-4000 psi) water is forced through a hose with a specialised nozzle at the end. This method is not only highly effective at removing grease, hair, mineral build-up and other debris, it also removes bacteria that can lead to foul odours. Drain jetting can even be used to break up tree roots, if the equipment is powerful enough. Drain jetting should always be carried out by trained experts, due to the inherent dangers involved.

Drain testing & CCTV surveys

Drain surveys and drain testing are an essential element of drain maintenance. It’s the most effective way to highlight issues before they develop into more serious drain problems. Regular surveys should be carried out on drainage systems, which will identify any defects present in the drainage system. These can then be repaired, thus preventing pipes from being further damaged and possibly having to be replaced.

There are a number of methods used to test drains – hydrostatic testing, air pressure testing and CCTV drain surveys.

Hydrostatic testing involves sectioning off specific lines, from manhole to manhole, filling the area with water and measuring the rate of leakage (if any) in litres per minute, or any changes in water pressure.

Air pressure testing works in a similar way but, as the name suggests, involves measuring changes in air pressure instead.

CCTV surveys are the most efficient way to accurately assess the condition of drains and sewers and then pinpointing the location of any potential defects. If you are interested in learning more about CCTV surveys, read our CCTV drain surveys guide here.

Drain rehabilitation

If pressure testing indicates a leak, or a CCTV survey identifies damaged pipes, collapsing sewers or poor connections in a drainage solution, drain rehabilitation will be required.

There are a several options available for rehabilitating drains, the most efficient and cost-effective of which is part or full relining of the pipes. Full relining involves inserting a new pipe within the existing one, without having to dig any holes or trenches. Pipes with fractures caused by subsidence, tree roots or poorly laid pipes etc. can be addressed using another method, called patch repairs or part relining, also without any digging or disruption.

Drain patch repairs use a segment of fabric, impregnated with an epoxy resin, which is fed into the pipe and inflated upon reaching the crack, and then held in place until it sets. Finally, the positioning and integrity of the patch is confirmed via CCTV camera.

Should obstructions be identified in a pipeline, these can be removed using robotic cutters. This method of drain repair is known as lateral cutting, and it can also be used to cut openings for new lateral connections after relining pipes.

Maintaining your drains is a legal requirement that should not be ignored. Enva can look after the entire process for you, from regular maintenance and testing, to full remediation and repairs. To learn more about complete drain management solutions from Enva, visit the drainage services page of our website.

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