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Is it O.K. to take a longer shower?

As Sydney and most of New South Wales is knee-deep in floodwater I had a friend ask me this morning “is it OK to take a longer shower?”

I encouraged him and his entire family to take a longer shower over the next few days. Using the water may actually help those that are living downstream from Warragamba Dam where the residents and farmers are flooded by the water running over the dam spillway and overwhelming the Nepean and Hawkesbury river systems downstream.

Just over twelve months ago we were in the grip of a drought that was choking our country cousins and dust storms were commonplace across New South Wales.

The rain won’t last forever, in fact, it’s forecast to clear up this afternoon and deliver a 29-degree hot sunny day tomorrow.

The rain has exposed many blocked drains and stormwater pits and pipes so when the sun comes out, make the most of the abundant water in our catchment dams and clean out those pits, grates, drains and the rainwater down pipes blocked with leaf debris.

World Plumbing Day 2021

Hi, Its Dave Conroy from The Lone Drainer and Pronto, and I’m in Woollahra in Sydney.

Today is the 11th of March 2021 and it’s World Plumbing Day!

I just wanted to remind you that twelve months ago today, also World Plumbing Day, that we had a pandemic declared in Australia. While we’ve all had our lives changed over the last twelve months, the trees that you can see around me here are still growing in the drains in this house.

We have come back for our annual application of Vaporooter to STOP tree roots growing in the sewer pipes of this beautiful home.

Enjoy World Plumbing Day. Thank your local plumber, enjoy his company. Make him a cup of tea or coffee.

Can Coronavirus be spread through wastewater pipes in a home or hospital?

Sydney April 15th 2020

“Staying connected” has become a part of our language lately.

Did you know we are all connected through the wastewater pipes in our homes?

Whether you live in a single level detached home or a multi-storey building, all our plumbing fittings drain into the same city sewer. That’s your shower, bath, basin, your WC, kitchen sink, washing machine, laundry tubs and floor drains.

A study showed the 2003 SARS virus spread through the plumbing system of a HongKong residential complex whose residents had 300 confirmed cases and 42 deaths- about 1/6th of the infections and fatalities on the entire island.

Our Australian Standards state “all plumbing fixtures must have a working trap or water seal”. That is, the S-bend at the outlet of the fixtures should have water sitting in them OR flowing through them.

Regularly we’re asked to investigate “a sewer smell” in a bathroom or laundry that is nothing more than a dry trap.
But, its allowing smells and bacteria to come from the wastewater and sewer pipes into your room.

Hypothetically, if an infected neighbour flushed their toilet and that wastewater entered a pipe you’re connected to, then bacteria could pass through a dry trap and enter your bathroom.

While person-to-person and surface-to-person is the most common means of spreading Coronavirus, I want you to be aware that any open or dry traps may allow contaminated droplets into your space.

So:
• Do not ignore unexplained foul smells in bathrooms, kitchens or washing areas.
• Ensure all your sink traps and S-bends have water in them.
• Run water into all tubs and showers for a few seconds in the morning and evening, paying particular attention to floor drains in bathrooms and laundries.
• If the wastewater pipework from a toilet, sink or other household appliance appears to be disconnected or open, seal it immediately.
• If you find any crack or leak in pipework, seal it with strong tape.
• Encourage your facilities managers to monitor the wastewater system performance of your building, looking out for things such as drainage overflows or sewer smells.

If you have any questions about this, I invite you to call me.

Tree roots don’t know about Coronavirus

Sydney April 14th 2020

Easter is over for another year.

Although our towns are slowing because of the Coronavirus, and we are quickly changing our daily home and work habits, here at The Lone Drainer and Pronto, we are still working away.

Mostly blocked drains!

Working from home is putting our normal facilities under a little more pressure. That means the internet, the exercise areas and our bathrooms.

With all that extra baking and comfort meals, our sewers are under a more significant workload. Tree roots don’t know about Coronavirus, and still seek food and water in the sewer pipes they can grow into.

So, if you hear your drains gurgling don’t ignore them. They are asking for help.

Dormant, but active underground

Why have a Drainoscopy?

Today our post is simple.

A client from Bronte called. Since Christmas they’d had 3 blocked drains causing the downstairs toilet to overflow. Yuck!

The plumber they had been using didn’t have a drain camera and it was suggested that the pipes were broken.

We were able to clear the blockage quickly, then, give the pipes a Drainoscopy. That’s Lone Drainer speak for “put a specialised drain camera in the pipes and see what is really going on.”

The pipe was full of tree roots. That’s all!

We cut out the roots and had another look.

A simple Vaporooter treatment will keep the roots away. With a Guarantee!

Yes, the pipes are old clay pipes. You can see where the roots have been cut out. But, they work and will for some time to come.

The best way to find out is to see it for yourself.

More rain please


The rain has kept emergency plumbers on their toes.

If you need help with a flooding emergency, please call us.

Meanwhile, blow the rain to the west.
Our country cousins need it!

I don’t like cricket…I love it.

January 6th 2017 sees the rain tumbling down in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.

Day 4 of the New Years 3rd cricket test between Australia and Pakistan is delayed because of the heavy rain.

The gutters and drains around our home and office are full of leaf debris and could cause flooding for anyone who isn’t vigilant

Take a tip

  • Check that your storm water drains and down pipes are free of debris before you go to the cricket.

Why you should look inside your pipes

You’ve got a blocked drain and your plumber puts a camera in the drain to see whats going on down there!

What happens after that?

Plenty of homeowners don’t get to see the footage their plumber has taken of the inside of their pipes. For some reason, the plumber chooses to keep what is going on in your pipes a secret from you.

Why?

Like any medical scan or x-ray of your body, it shouldn’t be kept a secret from you.

You should be able to see what’s going on in your drains so you can get a greater understanding of how the drains work. Or don’t!

Then, you can make an informed decision about how to repair your pipes and get other professional opinions on how to do that.

There are many ways to maintain your pipes and drains.

So if your plumber recommends a particular method of pipe repair after he puts a camera in your drains then tells you what he saw… but doesn’t show you, ask him for a copy of the pipe survey.

After all, he has billed you for it.

This survey shows a section of re-lined pipe with earthenware pipes and tree roots.

Winter rain comes with a blast

Winter Rain and blocked pipes.

The forecast east coast low started dumping rain on us last night. Road accidents caused by wet conditions and local flooding are the norm today. The weather bureau suggest these conditions will continue until Monday.

Blocked storm water drains, storm water pipes and storm water pits have been the order of the day today after the rain came thick and fast.

Where possible, keep your roof gutters and drains clear of leaf debris to avoid flooding and pipe overflows.
rain

Sewer overflow makes Coogee a “smelly place”

Coogee means “smelly place” and yesterday the beautiful beach, just 500 metres from our HQ, lived up to the name given it by indigenous Australians. The smell and subsequent beach closure was brought about by a Sydney Water  blocked sewer main in nearby Dudley Street.

The overflowing sewer main spilled into the storm water system which then discharged into the surf just near the Coogee Surf Club. Randwick City Council closed the beach and drained the Ross Jones pool that sits adjacent to the surf club and the storm water discharge.

Sydney Water maintenance crews cleared a blockage in the sewer main that was caused by tree roots.

The tree root blockage and sewer overflow was completely preventable. The beach has been re-opened today.

Clipping from Sydney’s Daily Telegraph:
2016 04 14 Cooge sewer spill Daily Telegraph article

View your blocked drain with a Drainoscopy

Today our post is simple.

A new client from Bronte called because since Christmas they’d had 3 blocked drains which caused the downstairs toilet to overflow throughout their basement. YUK!

The plumber they had been using didn’t have a drain camera and it was suggested that the pipes were broken.

We were able to clear the blockage quickly, then did a Drainoscopy. That’s Lone Drainer speak for “put a specialised drain camera in the pipes to see what is really going on”.

The pipe was full of tree roots. That’s all! We cut out the roots and had another look. A simple Vaporooter treatment will keep the roots away. With a Guarantee!

Yes, the pipes are old clay pipes. You can see where the roots have been cut out. But, they work and will for some time to come.

The best way to find out what is causing a blockage is to see it for yourself.

A plumbers view – Super Bowl 2016

Sunday, February 7th was Super Bowl 50 Sunday in San Francisco. By now you may know The Denver Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers 24-10 at Levi’s Stadium.

What’s that got to do with plumbing? I hear you ask. Well plenty; according to the Scott Tissue company, the toilet is flushed more during halftime than at any other point during the year. That’s 90 million flushes, using 350 million gallons or 1,323,000,000 litres of water, which is the same amount of water that flows over Niagara Falls in seven minutes.

Now, that is…..a Super Bowl!

I’d like to know how many blocked drains happened on Super Bowl Sunday!
Superbowl 2016

Don’t flush facial tissues

85% of blocked drains are caused by tree roots. However, what you flush down your loo can also contribute to that blockage.

Rain causes Bronte wall collapse

Sydney’s sustained rainfall has almost washed out the third cricket test between Australia and the West Indies at the Sydney Cricket Ground. The rain may have helped the Windies at the SCG but nearby Bronte residents awoke yesterday to find their Macpherson Street neighbours wall had collapsed into the street.

My initial drive past the site to survey the damage was met by a pile of sand, outdoor table and chairs, a picket fence and kids cubby house that had slipped onto the road.
Bronte collapsed wall
It was interesting to see old earthenware pipes amongst the rubble. Maybe their stormwater pipes were blocked or leaking into the sand, probably washing out the pipe line, and the continuous rain caused the collapse.

I do not believe anyone has been injured. Here’s hoping this family can get back into their home soon.

Think before you flush the toilet.

Christmas 2015 is upon us. This is the time most of us slow down and enjoy the festive season and the Aussie summer. But please think before you flush. We are here to help you with any plumbing emergency over the Christmas holidays.

A blocked drain can be caused by putting the wrong things down your sinks, pipes and toilets. This can leave you with an expensive plumbing bill to unblock your pipes. It can also lead to an increase in the amount of waste moving through our sewage treatment works at Malabar, Bondi and Manly.

These extra items have to be screened out, dumped in bins and trucked off to a landfill site. Unsuitable flushed items can lead to sewer overflows and problems in the sewer mains which are simply caused by small items getting caught and blocking the network.

Don't do it.

Don’t do it.

An overflowing sewer main in your property or worse, in your home, is very unpleasant. So, keep it simple and flush only the three Ps….. pee, poo and paper.

Storm drains overflow

We had another storm blast through Sydney this afternoon.

We were safely on a boat in Rushcutters Bay fitting the gas cooker as the 60 knot wind blew through.
Safe from the storm
The rain poured down with hail stones thrown in. The storm flooded all the local street drains and in some places the gutters were up to 400mm deep in stormwater.

Please check the grates and drains around your home and ensure that they are clear and running freely. The storms come quickly and can create lots of damage fast.

If you need help…… Call us!

Ready for Sydney Storm Season

Sydney storm season got under way last night with a spectacular electric light show to compliment Ed Sheeran doing his stuff.
storm season
Make sure you take precautions around your home in case severe weather hits.

Severe weather, heavy rain and electrical storms can affect pumps and boosters throughout our network which can affect our water supply and sewer pumping stations.

Here are 5 tips to get you ready:
1. Candle and matches – Have them handy.
2. Know where and how to turn off your water supply.
3. Have 3 days supply of fresh water in containers. Approximately 10 litres per person.
4. Check that your storm water grates and drains are clear of leaf debris and dirt.
5. Ensure your storm water down pipes are clear and not connected to the sewer.

If you’re not sure, Ask us!

Get your personal pipes checked…. I did!

November is Men’s Health Month and my reminder came in the mail. “Its time to get your pipes checked again” said the friendly letter from my Colorectal surgeon. It spelt out the process, the fasting, the preparation, the costs, the procedure on the day, what to expect afterwards, the discomfort but most of all…….. the benefit!

So on Sunday I began the preparation for a colonoscopy on Monday. After a healthy and hearty breakfast on Sunday morning it was a time of fasting. No food! Then, from early afternoon into the evening I had to take not 1, not 2, but 3 doses of fairly unpleasant medicine that would clean my internal pipes so the surgeon could put his camera through them.

Now all this makes sense to a 54 year old father of 3 healthy and happy sons whose father, after being diagnosed with Prostate cancer passed away a few years ago.

So, I hear you ask, why is your plumber telling you this?

If your body is a temple as mine is, and your home is your castle, then it’s appropriate to get your pipes checked, especially if your castle has a history of problems or blockages in your sewer pipes.

There are many parallels between a Colonoscopy and a Drainoscopy.

To get a Drainoscopy is easy!

We clear your pipes and then put a specialized drain camera through the pipes to find out what is actually going on in there. Then we take the vision and put it on our YouTube channel with a description of what is going on in the pipes. You can see it, you can share it, you can get a second opinion, you can evaluate the information and understand exactly what is going on underground or in your pipes.

Yes, it is a little uncomfortable. But now I know that after Dr “L” has treated 2 areas of interest and checked my prostate, my pipes are in good condition. I’ve seen the pictures. And at the appropriate time, he will send me a reminder for my next Drainoscopy er Colonoscopy.

So to end on a high note watch this fun YouTube clip.

5% of blocked drains are fixed with an electric eel

Less than 5% of blocked drains in Sydney are cleared by an electric eel. The rest are cleared and cleaned by high-pressure water drain cleaners that operate by pumping clean water at very high pressure into the sewer pipe through a series of hoses to clear the blockage.

Over 85% of blocked drains are caused by tree roots and we can show you how to Stop Tree Roots in Drains. Watch this short 2 minute YouTube video to see how we use the “Rattlesnake” drain cleaner to clear your blockage!

Blocked Pipes and Council Trees

Did you know many blocked sewers are caused by the tree roots from Council street trees?
Tree crushes sewerThis issue is becoming a very big drain on the budget of many local councils.
The council owned trees that make some of our more sought after suburban streets very special, are creating havoc underground by repeatedly blocking the sewer pipelines from many of the homes on those streets. Councils are fighting a losing battle trying to bring the tree roots under control.

The budgets of many local councils are strained as they just can’t keep up with the demand of their ratepayers to attend to sewer blockages caused by these street trees.

There is an economical way for local councils to Stop Tree Roots in Pipes and ease the burden on the budget and the ratepayers who have regular tree root blockages.

Vaporooter Kills Roots. Period!

Emergency blocked drains affected by the full moon??

Blocked drains happen everyday in Sydney and all the plumbers on our team love getting out there to help people clear their blocked drain, clean up any mess from an overflowing sewer, and get on with their lives.

We track the most common cause of blocked drains and apart from the very unusual, like a small puppy as seen on a previous post http://thelonedrainerandpronto.com.au/blog/plumber-rescues-puppy/  there are only a few reasons why drains get blocked.

  • Hair – make sure to remove it from hand basins, shower grates and drains.
  • Sand and soil – usually gets washed into the sewer from low lying surcharge gullies and stormwater running down footpaths and driveways.
  • Foreign objects – like dental floss, toilet deodorisers , kids toys or even underwear, will block up sewer pipes very quickly.

The most common cause of blocked drains in Australia is tree roots; they grow into the pipes for many different reasons. Today’s theory has been raised by a colleague who believes that the full moon causes trees to do “something different” every month, like search for more water, or just “flex their muscles”, thus causing more sewer blockages. It is a very interesting theory and we have been tracking it for about 18 months.

Every month, two or three days either side of the full moon we have a 10-15% spike in requests for help on blocked drains caused by tree roots. This month the full moon fell on July 26th 2010, and it was no exception. Of course this is only a theory, but we will keep tracking it!

If you see or hear of emergency plumbers and blocked drain specialists acting and  looking a little weird around the full moon………….let me know!

PVC Pipes Blocked by Hills Weeping Fig

The Hills weeping fig (ficus microcarpar var.) is a beautiful tree which in some areas  provides a shady archway for many streets in our Sydney Eastern suburbs.

But why are the residents of these streets pulling out their hair?

The Hills weeping fig is like Jekyll and Hyde.

Dr Jekyll brings shade in summer; tree lined streets become a breezeway, cooling our homes as their majestic branches cast shade and protect us from the searing summer heat, attracting birds to feed on their fruit twice a year.

But, Mr Hyde is lurking. Those same fruit bring flying foxes…and other mysteries.

My interest in this tree is the power of its root system. Their reach is widespread, sometimes 3 or 4 or more times wider than they are high. The root system will move stone walls, lift concrete footpaths and driveways and of course invade sewer and stormwater pipes. The  roots from this tree  just keep on coming after they are internally pruned with an electric eel or “Rattlesnake” high pressure water drain cleaner.

Last week we attended  to 4 tree root sewer  blockages directly caused by the Hills Weeping fig.

The 2 blocked sewer pipes that particularly interested me were PVC sewer pipes.

Why is that interesting, I hear you ask?

Well… tree roots don’t grow into PVC pipes! …..or do they?

The Kensington blocked drain was in an established housing estate about 10 – 15 years old. The townhouse in question had no previous blocked drain history. The Hills weeping fig was about 30 metres away. Its root system had grown up to this house and had actually grown into the PVC pipeline through a screw-on cap that we plumbers call a cleaning eye. The fine  roots had grown into the cap thread and multiplied inside the pipe thus causing the sewer blockage.

The Bellevue Hill blocked sewer was similar.

This house was built during the year of Sydney’s 2000 Olympic games after the long term owners, were tired of having blocked sewer pipes every 3 months, and tree roots “growing up through the back of the toilet”, amongst other reasons.

During the rebuild all the pipelines were installed in PVC pipes and fittings. The house finish was state of the art plumbing fixtures, with beautiful sandstone tiles around the outside of the house. All the pipes were concealed! No cleaning eyes! Why would we need access to the pipes as they have all been installed in tree root proof PVC?  The nearest fig tree was 30 odd metres away.

Well, what started as a simple blocked floorwaste, grew to removing that beautiful toilet suite to clear the blocked sewer pipe. We used the “Rattlesnake” high pressure water drain cleaner to remove tree roots from the blocked pipeline. When the blockage was cleared we carried out a camera survey of the pipeline. About 14 metres downstream the camera showed the remnants of the cut tree roots, but just as important, our drain camera survey showed the PVC pipe had been squashed. What was a round internal pipe, was now oval shaped with a crack in at least 1 of the fittings.

Who said tree roots don’t grow in PVC sewer pipes?

Beware Mr Hyde!

https://www.thelonedrainerandpronto.com.au/vaporooter.php

hills-weeping-fig-tree-or-monster-001-mod

Hills Weeping Fig Tree