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Drainage problems in Telford Probation Service

12th September 2018

Drainage problems in Telford Probation Service


We were called to an emergency call-out to overflowing men's and ladies toilets. This was at the sprawling probation service building in Telford, Shropshire. On arrival there was excess water flowing in to the hallway from the toilets on the ground floor. On entering the toilet it was evident that a serious Drainage problem had occurred as all the toilets, sinks and urinals were gurgling. Raw Sewage was flowing out of all the toilet facilities leaving a foul smell. There was an accessible Manhole by the rear entrance of the building.

298The Manhole lid was lifted and was full with raw Sewage.

The engineer lifted the Manhole and found full with Sewage in a deep chamber. This gave the engineer no clear way of seeing any of the Pipework. Using a guide tube the engineer set about trying to find the downstream line. This was difficult as there were multiple lines coming into the Manhole from different areas of the building. At this point another engineer was called to help as along with the Drainage problems parking was becoming an issue for the engineer.

Img 20180906 Wa0014When emptied this is what the chamber looked like, As you can see there are a few laterals coming into the Manhole

Sewage Ruined Carpet

A member of the probation staff had come downstairs to point us in the direction of another Manhole. This Manhole was in a disused room which had Sewage coming through the Manhole and ruining the carpet. We lifted it and to our luck there was only one line going through this Manhole. This enabled us to high water pressure jet much easier downstream to try and unblock whatever is causing the blockage. Eventually we were able to get a partial flow and the Sewage slowly receded everything was washed down and disinfected.

Img 20180906 Wa0013 This is the Manhole in the ground floor office, as you can see the carpet has been removed due to Sewage Damage.

We put the CCTV Camera down the drain and found a partially blocked line. This was 15 meters downstream and wasn't very clear as the camera was partially submerged in Sewage. Photos were taken to show the Manager of the building the state of the pipework. Over the next two months this became a common occurrence getting called out on a weekly basis to jet, clean and disinfect.  It wasn't long before we couldn't get the Sewage to flow away as the Drainage system faltered. A tanker had to be called in to empty the chamber to open up space for the constant flow of Sewage. As the same issues kept returning and Sewage was coming back into the building. On each return the staff would meet our engineers with a smile knowing what the job entailed.

Img 20180906 Wa0015From this picture you can see the pipework is damaged, this is before the blockage.


It was becoming frustrating for everyone involved and the buildings owners called in the insurers and pushed for them to resolve the issue. This began with a CCTV survey of the drains which showed a completely collapsed pipeline. We tried to locate a Manhole below the Collapse but could only find ones coming from Telford town centre car park. Eventually we found a hidden Manhole which had been covered months earlier by bark and foliage that the local council had laid whilst landscaping. Finding this Manhole was important it gave us the opportunity to attack from a different angle. Eventually we jetted upstream about 2 metres and came to a stop all that was pulled back was stone. Again using the camera to see the collapsed pipe and it was even clearer than before. We were even able to pull large pieces of the pipe to use as evidence.

Moving Forward

A meeting was called between the Telford probation service, Metro Rod Mid Wales and Shropshire and the buildings insurance company. The evidence was presented and it was agreed the following Monday we would begin excavating to replace any damaged pipework. It was going to take 5 days to excavate as the trees in the way had to be removed. The path alongside the Manhole was a busy public footpath as it lead to the Centre of Telford.

All the appropriate health and safety Precautions had to be in place before our engineers could begin. It was a difficult excavation for our engineers with poor access to the area.  We also had to have the tanker on site as the pipework had to be excavated live. There was no way to block the Sewage coming from the building until flow could be fully restored. By Friday afternoon everything had been completed and cleaned up. The building had water flowing from it for the first time in nearly 3 months.

We received a lovely letter thanking everyone at Metro Rod Mid Wales and Shropshire for the efforts and patience of our engineers. If you have any slow running toilets, sinks or urinals don't leave it too late call us at Metro Rod Mid Wales & Shropshire on 01938554050.


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Talk to your local Metro Rod specialist

We are always happy to arrange a free site assessment and no obligation quotations for any work you might need. Alternatively, you can call our emergency hotline number on 0800 66 88 00

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