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5 Common Causes For Drain Excavation


By now, we’re all probably familiar with the things that can create drainage issues. Often, the fault is something that can be easily dealt with, especially with CCTV drain surveys allowing us to pinpoint the exact nature of any problem.

However, in some extreme situations, it may not be possible to deploy those simpler remedies to fix a drainage issue. When this happens, drain excavation is likely the only way forward. This involves digging up the earth and surfacing over portions of the drainage pipes in order to gain access and repair or replace pipework.

This month at 1st Call Drain Clearance & Technical Services, we’re going to run through the five most common reasons you might need drain excavation.


Collapsed Drain

The most extreme issue to create a blocked drain has to be the drain itself collapsing. This internal issue is not one that traditional no-dig repairs can deal with. Instead, a survey will need to be carried out to establish which section of the drain has collapsed – as well as how much of it – before excavation is performed. This should then unearth the collapsed section so that it can be replaced with new pipework.


Tree Root Damage

The roots of trees in your garden may be longer than you realise. Burrowing further underground in search of water, roots will take advantage of any water source possible. This includes existing leaks, no matter how small, which they will then eventually make worse. Sometimes there are ways to solve this issue if small enough, but extensive damage from roots may mean there are too many leaks and too much structural damage to avoid the need to excavate.


Outdated Drains

One thing about drains is that they can last a very long time. Some older cast iron drains have even been known to last for over 75 years, while PVC has a similarly long lifespan. However, no material will last forever, especially when exposed to high pressure and the constant flow of wastewater from your property. Outdated drains may need to be excavated because of a number of combined failures or simply because the system is no longer adequate for the building. It’s often an issue for older properties, but eventually, excavation will be required to remove old pipes and replace them with newer materials.


Soil Shifting

Because they’re buried underground, your drainage pipes are subject to the shifting of the earth. This should rarely happen, and if it does it should be minimal, but major subsidence or shifting of soil can lead to ruptures and damage to your drainage system. In order to put this right – and to stabilise the system – excavation should be carried out once it has been established which sections have been affected by any ground movement.


Issue Too Far Away

A common tactic for making repairs in a drain is to insert a liner, forcing it through the system and thereby avoiding the need for excavation. However, on a large property where the issue is too far from the nearest drainage access point, it might not be possible to perform repairs this way. As a last resort, drain excavation will be carried out when other methods have been exhausted – particularly when the distance is too great to be practical.


Here at 1st Call Drain Clearance & Technical Services, we can perform a CCTV drain survey to find out the exact cause and location of any drainage issue. Whether you have a blocked drain or wastewater backing up into the home, our expert engineers will be on hand to help. We’ll work to avoid drain excavation where possible, but will carry out such work with diligence and professionalism when required.

Working across London, Central London, Harrow and Ealing, we help businesses and homeowners get their lives back on track with a variety of drainage services. Call today and let us know what issue you’re having and we’ll be happy to help.

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