The Evolution of Drainage Systems | Proseptic

How Your Drainage System Works

white drains pipes on the side of a residential property

Our household drainage system keeps our taps running and toilets flushing, but many of us still don’t know how our drains really work.

Most common problems with your drainage systems (blockages, FOGs and clogged pipes) can be avoided by having more knowledge of how your household drainage functions – keep reading to find out more!

What Does Your Drainage System Do?

Modern drainage works by transporting wastewater away from your property to where it can be safely processed – either via a commercial sewage treatment plant connected to mains drainage, or by a smaller sewage or septic system.

There are two different types of drainage systems commonly in use: surface water drainage and foul water drainage.

Surface Water Drainage

All the water collected through rain is classed as surface water – everything which collects on roofs, falls on pavements and driveways, or creates the puddles on our patios.

It is important to keep surface water drainage well-maintained to avoid flooding and other water-related damage, as surface water can be connected directly to soakaways, rivers and streams – due to the fact it has not been contaminated by household use.

Foul Water Drainage

Any water which is used by our utility systems like sinks, showers and toilets is classified as foul water.

Because this water has been exposed to chemicals, oils, fats or cleaning agents, it is contaminated and requires processing before it can be released back into the environment safely. 

How Your Drainage System Works

Your household drainage system consists of all the pipes and plumbing responsible for ensuring your wastewater is removed from your property, and it is crucial that it works by gravity to avoid any problems with pressure differences.

Because your drains rely on gravity to function, the closer your pipes are to vertical, the faster and easier wastewater will drain.

Although vertical piping is ideal, most modern house construction doesn’t allow for vertical pipes to be installed very easily, which is why the majority of pipes are at an angle instead, keeping the flow of wastewater consistent.

Parts Of Your Household Drainage System

Fixture Drains – You’re probably already familiar with these visible sections of sinks, baths and shower drains. They are the beginnings of the drainage system within your home, letting wastewater through from the site of its use and frequently plugged with a rubber cap.

U-Bends & P-Traps – U-bends and P-traps are sections of pipe named after the letters they resemble. They are located directly next to fixture drains, and collect standing water whilst blocking out any escaping gases from within the drainage system.

Toilet Traps – These are very similar in design to the P-trap. They keep nasty sewage gases from flowing back up and stinking out your bathroom.

Mains (Primary) Drain Lines – All the wastewater from your property is carried to a sewer or sewage treatment plant by the mains drain line, sometimes called a primary drain line. You can think of it as the spinal cord of your household drainage system.

Branch (Secondary) Drain Lines – Connecting your fixture drains to the main drain line are the branch drains, or secondary drain lines. They carry water along nearly-horizontal pipes to the mains pipe, often hidden inside walls and floors where they can’t be seen.

Dealing With Common Problems

Drainage systems keep our wastewater flowing safely and efficiently, but when problems arise, it can be difficult to know what to do.

Now you know how your drainage system works, you stand a better chance of being able to identify where issues might occur and how to prevent them in the first place.

Fats, oils and greases (FOGs) can build up in your drains over time and cause fatbergs, so make sure that food or cooking waste goes into the bin rather than down the sink.

Hair is another common cause of drain blockages, so try to keep fixture drains clear and ensure you clean them regularly.

Flushing waste and sanitary products down the toilet can also lead to blockages, and since they travel along pipes at shallow depths, they can quickly lead to your drains becoming clogged up – dispose of waste correctly to avoid this issue.

Next Steps

Taking steps to prolong the health of your drainage systems is important to maintaining safe and effective wastewater disposal, but should the worst happen, Proseptic are here to get you out of a mess.

Being able to identify key warning signs ensures the long-term functionality of your drains and plumbing systems, so if you think you’ve spotted a problem, don’t hesitate to take action.

Our experienced team can help get your pipes unblocked and keep things flowing smoothly – if you have a drainage issue, or if you want to find out about our sewage treatment services, contact us today to discover more!

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