Not everything you flush makes it to the other side. Out of sight doesn’t necessarily mean out of mind: some things will put a strain on your drains, and some of those will prove too much for the sewage pump which keeps the contents of those pipes moving.

The pump has many enemies, but its rogues gallery is headed by three sewage super villains…

Wipes

Wet wipes, be they meant for your baby or your worktop, are the worst of the lot. The material from which they’re made – even if it claims to be ‘flushable’ or ?biodegradable; – doesn’t disintegrate when wet like toilet roll.

In the worst cases, the intact wipe passes down the pipe, ties itself around the pump, snarls up the moving parts and finally destroys it. Even if your sewage pump does manage to send them on, they cause problems further along the system, tag-teaming with the next rascal on the roster to wreak havoc in the sewers.

Fat

Fats, oils and greases, left over from cooking. You don’t want to clog the kitchen drain, so you send them down a bigger pipe and think that’s the end of them. When fresh from the pan, these slide away fine, but they cool as they travel to the chambers of your sewage pump. If the fat congeals there, it sticks to the float switches which govern the operation of the pump. If these can’t move properly, the pump chambers don’t open, and the pump backs up, floods and overflows, in that order.

Even if your pump still works, and the fat passes on to the sewer, it binds with the permeable fabric of wet wipes to create a damp, clay-like clot. Those stick together on contact, and well, the word ‘fatberg’ should conjure up quite the image of what happens next.

Toys

We found a Buzz Lightyear toy in a septic tank once. How’d he get down there ?Probably curiosity. Children will flush anything, purely to see if it can be flushed at all, and once a solid, awkwardly-shaped object hits the sewage pump, it seldom passes through. Sewage systems are designed for two things: human waste, and toilet paper, which starts to degrade as soon as it hits the water. Even the paper is optional. You can’t expect your sewage pump to handle anything else, so everything else should be bagged and recycled.

“This is an intergalactic emergency”
Toys and drains do not mix

 

If you’re starting to feel self-conscious about the contents of your sewage system, contact us for a clean-up.