No matter how pretty a house could be, it would always stand incomplete if it doesn’t have a good plumbing and waste disposal system. The main part of it is the sewerage system. Without it, the house would hold on waste products that will, later on, result in lots of problems like blockages, unsanitary water supply, and improper waste disposal. All of which could affect your living environment.
While it serves a great purpose, a sewerage system should always remain free-flowing. What you may need to know is that it cannot always be opened up when small problems persist inside the house such as a blocked kitchen sink. This is when a sewer cleanout becomes handy.
What is a sewer cleanout?
A sewer cleanout serves as an access port into your sewer line which could be opened up to rule out clogged pipes. It also connects your sewer line to the public sewerage system. It is a part of your pipe, that is usually extended laterally. This part is cut and then stamped with a square hat atop a circular cap. It can be unscrewed to rule out problems like blockages.
Why is it important to have a sewer cleanout?
In case of an emergency, sewer cleanout should be able to clear your access to the sewer line completely and effectively. This is to avoid unwanted flooding of drainage water and waste inside your house or outside the backyard.
What creates a blockage?
Sewer blockage is often compacted by waste matter (feces), grease, paper products, sludges, tree roots, and dead leaves. Factors like poor ventilation and similar issues affect the septic system.
How can it be resolved?
Sewer cleanouts serve as conduits but one actual tool used is a motorized tool called a sewer auger. Sewer augers unclog the sewer line of compacted debris but they are too big that it can’t be inserted into the sewer line through a toilet or a fixture drain. Doing so may crack the porcelain and/or damage the pipe. They access it through the sewer cleanout instead.
A sewer cleanout helps to prevent major blockages. In the next section, we will talk about some instances of the biggest sewer blockages in history.
The world has been plagued with sewer blockages, some big enough to affect the lives of thousands in the cities. The blockages can mainly be attributed to the poor drainage, lack of maintenance and the uncontrolled disposal of waste by the residents. All these stakeholders need to play their part in avoiding such sewage menaces from occurring in the future by doing more controlled infrastructure construction, as well as doing the regular maintenance needed.
Sewer blockages are hard to predict because it is a very different combination of wastes that can cause it. For instance, if someone disposes the fat of meat somewhere and the other person throws in a wet wipe, they both can clog with each other and get stuck in pipes and sewers. There is even a term for such clogs which are produced by fats, ‘fatberg’. The fat, oil and grease can eventually accumulate one over the other and cause the sewer blockage. Sometimes the clogs can get so intense that the sewage can gush into the streets throwing the lives in a mess, both literally and figuratively.
Let us have a look at some of the blockages that made the news:
- On September 12, 2017, the construction workers and contractors in the suburb of Whitechapel were shocked to discover one of the huge fatbergs ever seen in the history of the city, and even perhaps the world. To put it into numbers, the length of it was 800 feet, and it weighed as much as 11 full double-decker buses. This was 10 times bigger than the one found in the Kingston incident in 2013 and the famous cities of England such as London, Denver, Belfast and Melbourne have recently been exposed to a lot of such incidents.
- Another similar fatberg was discovered in Sidmouth, England in December 2018. The length of the fatberg was 64 meters and it was approximately equal to the length of 6 double-decker buses. It took a lot of days to get the complete blockage out of the drain and there were several requests from the government not to pour cooking oil and fat down the drain.
- Another incident back in 2013 occurred where a 15-tonne ball of fat was stuck in the sewers of Kingston upon the Thames, one of the important suburbs of London. The part of the city was very close to being flooded entirely with sewage but it was the timely work from the workers and the municipality that a potential disaster was averted.
- New York also has been constantly issuing a warning for its residents because of some sewer blockage issues constantly popping in the city. This is more prevalent there because New York, like London, is the centre of the food industry in the world, a lot of food fat is drained down. Both the cities are taking steps to separate the fat and provide alternative methods of disposing them and other major cities around the world are following suit.
So, these were some of the major incidents which made worldwide news across the world and gave food for thought for other cities to rethink their drainage systems. With the growing population and waste corresponding to that, it is becoming imperative to think about alternate methods of disposal. Residents must cooperate with the warnings issued by the municipality and take measures accordingly.