The toilet itself is fine, no blockage there, and this is a downstairs cloakroom toilet that never has anything flushed down it that shouldn’t. However for the past couple of years this downstair toilet has been intermittent; usually okay but then suddenly without any reason backing up and draining down very slowly.
Also occasional gurgling belches of water in the toilet U bend, and audible acoustics of echo chamber dripping or slashing water emanating from the mysterious depths below…
I’m about to call up the local Dyno Rod guys to investigate (but before committing to the expense) have been consulting with the neighbours - nearest 1 door away neighbour denies any issue, 3 doors away history of gurgling, plus he said the house 2 doors away experienced a flood last year when their toilet backed up to the point of overflowing.
A Dyno Rod call out will incur a fee that i will have to pay, although i will probably go ahead with this very soon, but i’m concerned the cause maybe communal or perhaps an air lock due to water authority neglect, and as such an issue that will return…
Can anyone here share any advise with how to deal with this situation?
This has happened to us a couple of times, caused by the pipe blocking in our next door neighbour’s garden; four houses share the same pipe. We called Southern Water, who are responsible for sewerage. We will set aside their massive fines for dumping raw sewage in Chichester Harbour and in this case thank them profusely for being prompt to arrive and clearing it for free. Be aware that their responsibility ends at the curtilage, so they did it as something of a favour.
When yours gets the gurgles, speak to the neighbours and work out what’s going on. Whoever does it will need to lift all the inspection pit covers to isolate the blockage, so you need to ensure access. You can actually do a lot of the detective work yourself, to reduce the cost or hopefully get it for free.
Curiously the same thing happens about once per year - usually around Xmas - at one of the square concrete manhole covers at the front where about 5 house sewer pipes come into one. Takes about 15 minutes to clear it.
There is obviously just so much cr@p in Lox Eef (I thought I’d get that one in before Nige!).
I believe the manhole-cover in question is situated on neighbours ‘access’ land - private driveway for neighbours 2 & 3 doorways away.
About 15 years ago a high-pressure wash team of two guys worked down this chamber, in the process they managed to flood out the downstair loo of a neighbour 4 doorways away.
The guy that lived there then, a civil engineer, said the underground drainage was very deep iirc i think he said about 5 meters below ground level.
It would be interesting to know what the actually cause is, these properties are 33 years old.
My aunt had issues along her terrace and it turned out someone, most likely a builder, had stuffed a shirt in the drain, probably to block it while doing some benching/other repair works. Of course, trees and other ground movement (tree removals?) are the enemies of drains.
Rodding is better than high-pressure hosing for the reasons you mention.
But stand well back from the empty hole from where you are rodding, as you can get a gusher.
I’d get together with the neighbours and agree to split the bill.
Otherwise you end up with the bill and they get a freebie.
If the blockage is outside your boundary then the local authority should clear it.
Worth calling them first it’s what your council tax is for.
They usually pop a camera down first.
Local authority is responsible for all services outwith the boundary of a private dwelling if it’s blocked before that it’s your problem.
So worth trying this first otherwise it’s get the hat out for a collection or insurance claim.
The sewer from your property likely will be connected in one of two ways.
Either directly into the street / road, or via one or more neighbours property, then at some point into the street, on a collective basis. Perhaps this is a possibility from your description.
If the latter, your deeds should give right of access, to inspect / rectify the issue you have described. Best to have an idea of the route of the drain, before instructing a contractor.
Might be worth, rather than going direct to a national firm, trawl neighbours, friends et al, for a really good local builder, who likely has seen similar before.
They can take a first look, lift man holes as HH suggests if you or neighbours are reluctant to do so, to see if they can indicate where the main drain(s) run(s).
Mutual cooperation by neighbours - not always easy on these sort of issues - before incurring professional costs.
A builder will also be able to have an idea as to whether the fall is adequate, which may be one of the issues and also if the pipe sizing appears ok.
A good builder, pouring a bucket of water into a manhole versus flushing from the wc, will from experience know how well the drain / sewer is functioning and likely have a set of rods to utilise as well.
The sewerage system outside of your boundary is the responsibility of the water company, not the local authority. The highways authority normally has responsibility for keeping the roadside gullies working, but has no involvement with the foul sewage system, which is where the poo ends up.
Either way if it’s outside my boundary I don’t pay.
Where I live if any problem arises within my boundary it’s my problem but if the problem is caused with the sewer outwith my boundary I don’t pay.
If the sewer in my street blocks or a water pipe bursts I phone my local council helpline and they then get whatever service out to fix it I don’t get involved with any contract companies.
I get what you mean but we have a helpline for all local council services.
I don’t care who comes as long as I only pay if I’m due.
Maybe depends where you are but this thread seems to cover three countries.
I would support HH in contacting the sewage authority, they will have maps that show who is responsible where. Despite our drains and access points being in the back garden, Wessex Water accept responsibility for the main drain. Perhaps not always helpful, we have composite pipes and for many blockages pointed out that the occupier at one end of the terrace had driven a fencing spike into the pipe. For some reason they only sent the man with the camera to check after three call outs in a year.
Maybe 12-13 years ago one Easter we had sewage coming out of an inspection cover at the bottom of the garden where it borders a communal rear lane.
Had Mrs AC been flushing unsuitable kiddy wipes down the loo? I have no idea.
Anyhow Welsh Water truck appeared in rear lane, the chap hopped over a wall onto our side of the lane, lifted the inspection cover and decided it was probably a blockage at the boundary. Took him minutes to clear it for free and I was very grateful. Perhpas just check there’s no recent call out charge if they determine it’s likely on your side.
I guess more upstream localised issue such as the loo may require someone else to sort out if everything else downstream is fine.
I once chucked a large sospan (saucepan to those West of the border) of water into the utility loo having forgotten to remove a large cooked ham I assumed Mrs AC had put in the fridge - this blocked the U bend for days!
Where I live, United Utilities are responsible for the maintenance of a shared drain. They’ll come along and look into any drain manhole they want too. No need to ask permission. The last time the drains where blocked, they ripped up part of a neighbours drive, who’d carelessly laid flags over a manhole.
However, if the damage/blockage is in a location in the shared drain that only effects one house, I seem to recall this is the then the responsibility of that house owner.
Where I live there’s no need to involve a contractor unless your property is served by a private (single) drain.