Inspection chamber: what should water level be?

70s detached bungalow.
I have recently been having trouble with a suspected blocked WC.
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no luck with finding any internal obstructions, I opened the
inspection chamber nearest the house. This is the one that the bath
and WC flow into. The inspection chamber has a concrete access panel
and must be about 1m deep.
It was nearly full to the top with mucky water.
I shoved my hand in and spooned out a shedload of toilet paper. The
water level didn't drop when I did this.
Using a length of batten, I reached under the mucky water and ensured
that the inlet and exit pipe of the chamber were not obstructed. They
seemed OK.
I then opened a 2nd chamber, further from the house, nearer the road.
That too was almost full to the brim. Again I removed a load of toilet
paper and ensured the inlet and outlet were not obstructed. The water
level did not drop.
Finally, I opened a 3rd chamber, the one nearest the road. This was
half full and with reasonably clear water.
Questions: How high should the water level be in an inspection
chamber? Should the inlet and outlet pipes be visible? If there is
heavy rainfall, will surface water fill them up?
Maybe I have an obstruction between chambers 2 and 3?
But bath, basin, sink and washing machine all seem to drain OK. There
is no water backing up into the house.
Thanks
Bruce
Reply to
bruce_phipps
In an earlier contribution to this discussion,
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Having no luck with finding any internal obstructions, I opened the
When everything is working properly there shouldn't be *any* water in the inspection chambers apart from what is running through the invert[1].
If chamber 3 is half full, there is a blockage *downstream* of that which is preventing the water from getting away properly. You need to find the first downstream chamber which is *not* full (or half full) and rod in an upstream direction from that to clear the blockage. If it's a piece of brick or similar, as soon as you push it into the next chamber, water can flow round it - and you can retrieve it after things have settled down. Be prepared for quite a rush once it starts flowing.
[1] the half-noon shaped channel in the bottom
Reply to
Roger Mills
WC.http://groups.google.co.uk/group/uk.d-i-y/browse_frm/thread/8d6910d8f...>> Having no luck with finding any internal obstructions, I opened the
There should be no water in an inspection chamber.
Its either blocked in the chamber, or the blockage is further down the run - lift the next cover down-flow and have a look.
dg
Reply to
dg
In article , "bruce snipped-for-privacy@my-deja.com" writes:
There should be no standing water in inspection chambers and yes you should be able to see all the pipes.
Sounds like you have an obstruction after the last one you opened, as they were all backed up.
Probably overflowing past the inspection covers.
Reply to
Andrew Gabriel
HI Bruce
All the inspection chambers that I've owned have been just that - a way of 'inspecting' the flow through the sewer pipework. Usually, all you'd see in them is a trickle of water through the channel at the bottom of the chamber. Seeing the chamber at all full is generally bad news - and indicates a blockage 'somewhere'.. especially if there's toilet paper in there as well.
Difficult to know what's going on without knowing what happens after the 3rd chamber (which I wouldn't expect to have any significant water level in it - though with the recent rainfall, who knows...) - but the way you describe it it does suggest that there's a partial blockage between chambers 2 & 3.
Drain rods would be a good start - cheap enough to buy - but take note of which way they screw together and don't, in a moment in inattention, turn them the wrong way once they're in the drain, as you'll end up with them stuck down there !
Hope this helps - good luck !
Adrian
Reply to
Adrian
Thanks, Roger. The next chamber is in the road somewhere. Is this the responsibility of the water company?
You say there shouldn't be any water in the chambers. What about surface water due to heavy rain? The concrete caps on the chambers are cracked and one has a small hole. However, presumably this should drain away if the system is working OK. Thanks Bruce
Reply to
bruce_phipps
Sounds like a blockage, as others have already said. I attempted to use sewer rods and a plunger to clear it then, but it didn't help. In the end I bought a few bottles of bleach and drain cleaner and emptied them down the drain closest to the blockage, and this cleared it. I figured it was caused by grease or oil accumulating and eventually sealing the drain.
Reply to
Geronimo W. Christ Esq
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At least a months backed up turds didn't leap out and attack you like one time I did this.
As others have said, no water should be in any inspection chamvr, unless running through.
Reply to
The Natural Philosopher
In an earlier contribution to this discussion,
Possibly - though not necessarily. If it's a public sewer which serves multiple properties, it's the water company's responsibility - but occasionally you get private sewers extending under public roads. The branch which serves your property is almost certainly a private sewer, and is your responsibility. However, it is quite possible that it's the public sewer which is blocked, and is simply backing up into your branch. If the one in the road is running clear, it's pretty certainly your branch which is blocked. If the one in the road is full, the public sewer may well be blocked - in which case you should call out the water board to clear it at their expense. Have any of your neighbours got similar problems?
Do you have a combined sewer which carries both foul and storm water, or have you got two separate systems? If it's a combined sewer, the water level may rise a bit when there's a high flow due to heavy rain - but in that case the water will be rushing through the chamber - not just sitting there. Your symptoms sound like a blockage.
Reply to
Roger Mills
I'd ask the water/sewage company at this point. It sounds as though there is a problem downstream from you.
Of course it could be a blockage in your sewer but I suspect, after all the rain we've been having, the sewers have flooded. If you really don't want to ask the company see if you can look into some other manholes nearby and roughly on the same level as yours - ask the neighbours. Be very careful opening manholes as it could pour out in large quantities and the neighbours won't be pleased.
If they are flooded they may take anything you put down them but slowly. Maybe someone lower down has a flooded garden? If it goes on it may turn into a blockage as solids aren't going to be carried away properly.
Tell the company now and leave it to them - you've done your bit.
Edgar
Reply to
Edgar
WC.http://groups.google.co.uk/group/uk.d-i-y/browse_frm/thread/8d6910d8f...>> Having no luck with finding any internal obstructions, I opened the
You need a medal or just maybe a Darwin award for poking around down there with your hands! Was it your own household shit (you may be self immune from any bacteria in that) or shared from several others? The chambers should be "empty" and the actual half round run from inlet to outlet visible. Running a tap or flushing a toilet should display a flow of water etc through the run. From your description it sounds as though the sewerage including solids is obstructed between the last full chamber and the half full one (if that is in fact in the same drain run). Use a decent set of rods to poke through and ensure a clear passage. A decent set will connect together with lockfast connections and fasten with a spanner, rather than the el-cheapo version which only have a screw thread and as commonly happens the unwary try to withdraw or free sometimes by turning the exposed bit anti clockwise resulting in the sections parting somewhere underground with obvious results and may need digging out - a major undertaking! The half full of clean water sounds suspiciously like a problem under the road, possibly due to excess rainfall backing up in the main drain and this should clear as the rainfall contribution ceases or reduces. Commonly however there are foul and clean main drains and this may be the case in your street. Some areas do use combined sewers though this means the hydraulic load on any treatment plant surges during rainfall. Another problem is the habit of householders or even some pro builders and plumbers of sticking surface water into foul drainage systems and vice versa. All in all a crock of shit!
Reply to
cynic
On Sat, 19 Jan 2008 10:24:11 -0800 (PST), a particular chimpanzee, "bruce snipped-for-privacy@my-deja.com" randomly hit the keyboard and produced:
Not necessarily. The only things that are the responsibility of the sewerage undertaker (usually, but not always, the same as the water supply company) are the adopted sewers, and any sewers constructed before 1937 serving more than one property. The chamber or manhole on a sewer is their responsibility, but the un-adopted drains into it aren't.
You can usually get a sewer map from them showing where the adopted sewers are, and if it's one of theirs that is blocked, they should clear it. If it's not adopted, you'll probably have to pay and re-claim part of the cost from your neighbours who also share that drain (good luck with that!).
A brief overview of drainage: Sewerage systems are either combined, partially separate or separate.
-Combined is where everything, foul and surface water, goes into the same pipes. Most common in older urban areas, inner cities, etc.
-Separate is where there are two drains, one for foul and one for surface water. More common in new towns, newer suburbs, etc.
-Partially separate is where the drainage from the houses goes to separate drains, but the two drains will combine at the end of the road or the estate. Mostly on brownfield and infill developments in urban areas.
Unless your drainage is combined, there shouldn't be much rainwater in there. Sometimes it can get in through seepage, or through cross-connections (some rainwater will be 'allowed' into foul drains from small extensions, etc).
If your area is flooded, and your sewers are combined or partially separate, it's possible they could be backing up, but I would have thought that this shouldn't last more than a few hours.
Reply to
Hugo Nebula
Thanks for your reply. I'll try that. But I'm suprised that grease could seal off such a large outside pipe. A sink waste trap inside, maybe. Bruce
Reply to
bruce_phipps
Thanks Edgar. I'll give it a go with the rods to ensure my drains are not blocked. Then call in the water company.
Bruce
Reply to
bruce_phipps
Thanks Roger. The road sewer is a public sewer as far as I know. I think my drainage system is Combined. In fact, I just looked at the outlet under the fall pipe. It is full. And the forecast for tonight is heavy rain. Oh dear. Bruce
Reply to
bruce_phipps
...snip...
FWIW I found that rodding my drains with a "plunger" cleared the blockage which returned a few weeks later. This repeated for sometime until I eventually rolled up my sleeves, put on the rubber gauntlets and gently used the "spiral" attachment. I then proceeded to remove a carrier bag fully of baby wipes that had got stuck.
Eventually nothing more came back but I could not get the rods any further down the drain. It might be a bed, it might be a tree root, but whaever it was the wipes were building up on it.
Having removed all thus gunk, the pipes have (fingers crossed) been clear for months now.
Paul DS.
Reply to
Paul D.Smith
Had a similar problem in an ditch that was undergrounded.
Only my miothers house was it suill open, so it fl;ooeded there.
They went down about 50 meters with a spiral, and pulled out a plastic childs toy.
Now at the time my mother was in her 70's, and no child had been in the house for YEARS.
I guess someone threw it over the hedge from next door.
Reply to
The Natural Philosopher

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