What can go into surface drain water?

Surface drain water flows directly into seas and rivers without the need to be treated. As such, it’s vital that harmful substances are prevented from entering surface drain water, as this will lead to contamination of these natural water bodies. In this article, we’ll explore the difference between surface drainage and wastewater drainage; we’ll highlight what cannot enter your drainage, and also outline how you can avoid the pollution of natural water bodies via your surface drain water. 

CCTV drainage survey process

What are the different drains of a home? 

Generally, there should be two separate drains leading away from a property: a wastewater drain, and a rainwater drain. 

The rainwater drains channel surface water, or rainwater that falls onto a property, and directs it to the sea and rivers without being treated. 

The wastewater drain is connected to all toilets, sinks, washing machines, dishwashers, and other household appliances – the water that enters this drain is transported to wastewater treatment works. 

What can’t go into my drains? 

Because surface water does not travel via any treatment plants, any harmful substances that enter the surface water will go directly into natural water bodies, causing pollution of beaches, rivers or local beach areas. 

As such, it’s important to check firstly that your drains are connected correctly and that no wastewater is finding its way into the rainwater drain pipes – drainpipe misconnection could occur if you have recently extended or renovated your property, or if you have had recent plumbing work. A plumbing and drainage professional can double check these connections for you to avoid any harmful water travelling to the wrong location.

If you have only just bought a new home, it should be one of the first things you check just in case the previous owner had the drains incorrectly installed. Generally, though, houses built from the 1970s and onwards should have the two separate drains for waste and rainwater. If your home was built before that, it may be worth double checking the drain pipe arrangement. 

The toilets, sinks, washing machines, baths, showers and other appliances that expel water should all be connected to the wastewater drain – not the rainwater drain. This is because human waste and shampoos, and other chemicals, are produced from a household and they must go via a wastewater treatment plant. If wastewater enters rainwater drains, this can cause contamination of natural water bodies.  

As such, what shouldn’t be entering your surface drain will include: 

  • Chemicals
  • Medicines and medical waste 
  • Bleaches, detergents and cleaning liquids 
  • Cooking oil, grease and fat 
  • Sanitary towels/toilet paper
  • Paints 

Could your home be causing pollution? 

Whether your home is rented or owned by yourself, it’s important to hire an expert to determine the correct connections. It’s also important to check the general health of your drain to accurately diagnose any issues within the drain itself. Incorrect or harmful materials or chemicals entering your surface water drains can cause issues by damaging the inside of your drains, causing blockages, and will also end up polluting natural water bodies. Luckily, here at Express Drainage Surveys, we can make sure your home isn’t causing pollution by feeding through cameras to assess the condition of your drains.  

Find out what’s really going on in your drains. Using state-of-the-art technology, the experts at Express Drainage Surveys will assess the health and status of your drains, pinpointing the precise nature and location of the problem. From this reliable data, we can then offer solutions to suit you. To discover more about our services in London and beyond, simply contact our technicians today.