Don’t flush our drinking water?

As the summer of 2021 approaches, our water consumption is back on the menu.

Even though our borders have been closed to tourists and immigration and Australians returning home to sit out the pandemic have had their numbers slashed, our water consumption continues to rise.

During our current building boom, its not unusual for every new home to have at least two bathrooms with his and hers showers and hand basins’. And even the most modest Sydney home has at least two toilets.

Australians have been world leaders in water conservation with water saving taps and showers now the norm. If you didn’t know the dual-flush toilet cistern is an Australian invention.

Don’t be surprised but the dual flush toilet is still a big water user. Here in Sydney, with a few exceptions like urban domestic rainwater harvesting that uses rainwater to flush our household toilets and fill the washing machine, most of the water flushing our toilets is from our potable water supply. That’s our drinking water!

I grew up as one of six kids in a NSW country town of 13,000 people and our home in town had a metered water supply. But our family had a weekend shack on acres out of town where every drop of water we used was caught in rainwater tanks. The toilet was flushed with water piped from a dam over 300 metres from the house. It was a simple gravity system that piped muddy dam water across a paddock to the toilet cistern and flushing the toilet with the dam water left a brown stain on the toilet bowl.

There was a time when we didn’t go to the shack for a few weeks and what started as a simple toilet cistern leak that went unchecked, drained the farm dam down to a muddy sludge by our next visit. That weekend, as we flushed the toilet with our drinking water from the tank, I learned that our drinking water was way to precious to waste on flushing a toilet.

So, what does that mean here in Sydney?

Simply put, if you have even a slight toilet leak DO NOT IGNORE IT otherwise it will drain our dam.

Raw sewer overflows to Coogee Beach.

During the Stay at Home orders we’ve been doing emergency plumbing repairs like hot water, leaking pipes and Blocked drains.

The blocked drain that got my interest is the one taking the waste from 28 houses on Raleigh Street and Carrington Road, Coogee.

The filthy waste water has been bubbling up through the ground about 50 metres down the hill from the houses and running across the footpath in front of other homes not connected to the service, into the street gutters that drain into the creek at the north end of Coogee beach for most of July.

Apparently the 28 home owners are unaffected by the blockage because it’s not in their backyard and a Sydney Morning Herald article reports Sydney Water and Randwick City council cannot force the home owners to pay for any repairs.

It’s well known that every home owner is responsible for the maintenance of their waste water pipes up to where they join the Sydney Water sewer main out in Carrington Road.

This pipeline is known as a common sewer and the costs for any maintenance should be shared equally between all those home owners connected to it.

Come on Randwick Council, Stop this river of sewage running down to Coogee Beach!

Get a contractor to fix the problem and split the costs among the 28 property and home owners.

Click here to read our earlier post on Common Sewer lines.

Clean your gas room heater

Since June 25th 2021, we are being asked to stay at home with the latest COVID-19 outbreak.

Greater Sydney is settling into winter and it’s wet! So, if you have a gas room heater, now is the time to clean it!

Dust is the thing that diminishes the efficiency of a gas room heater. The simple thing to do is clean and vacuum the air filters and ensure the fans are turning freely.

Most heaters have a service manual that demonstrates how to dismantle, clean and reinstate the relevant parts.

Please remember Safety First.

If you don’t feel confident, call us on 02 9664 4990 for help or arrange for our gasfitters to do a gas heater health check.

How to Stop a Blocked drain in Coogee

Stop Tree Roots in Drains

Vaporooter Stops Tree roots in Drains

Hi, It’s Dave Conroy here from The Lone Drainer and Pronto.

I am in Coogee today and we are applying Vaporooter to a house in this tree- lined street. The people who own this house have had problems with their sewer.

Tree roots from this Hills weeping fig (ficus microcarpa) have been growing in their clay sewer pipes for over 10 years and we had been clearing blockages regularly.

We have been applying Vaporooter in those same pipes now for about four years and they haven’t had a blocked drain since. Those are great results!

If you live in a street similar to this, where there is a beautiful canopy above but underground, the tree roots are getting into your sewer pipes, then you should consider Vaporooter to Stop tree roots in your drains.

If you would like to find out about Vaporooter, call me on Sydney 02 9664 4990.

Is it O.K. to take a longer shower?

As Sydney and most of New South Wales is knee-deep in floodwater I had a friend ask me this morning, “is it OK to take a longer shower?”

I encouraged him and his entire family to take a longer shower over the next few days. Using the water may actually help those that are living downstream from Warragamba Dam where the residents and farmers are flooded by the water running over the dam spillway and overwhelming the Nepean and Hawkesbury river systems downstream.

Just over twelve months ago we were in the grip of a drought that was choking our country cousins and dust storms were commonplace across New South Wales.

The rain won’t last forever, in fact, it’s forecast to clear up this afternoon and deliver a 29° hot sunny day tomorrow.

The rain has exposed many blocked drains and stormwater pits and pipes. So when the sun comes out, make the most of the abundant water in our catchment dams and clean out those pits, grates, drains and the rainwater down pipes blocked with leaf debris.

World Plumbing Day 2021

Today is the 11th of March 2021 and it’s World Plumbing Day!

I just wanted to remind you that twelve months ago today, which was also World Plumbing Day, that we had a pandemic declared in Australia. While we’ve all had our lives changed over the last twelve months, the trees that you can see around me here are still growing in the drains in this house.

We have come back for our annual application of Vaporooter to STOP tree roots growing in the sewer pipes of this beautiful home.

Enjoy World Plumbing Day. Thank your local plumber, enjoy his company. Make him a cup of tea or coffee.

World Toilet Day 2020

Today is World Toilet Day 2020.

I’d like you to take a minute today and think about the Toilet. Imagine if you didn’t have one?

Spare a thought for the 4 billion people worldwide that don’t have access to a flushing toilet.

Its astounding BUT there are more people with a mobile telephone than a toilet and clean water to wash themselves.

Now, telling your workmates and classmates is a simple way to raise awareness of a sometimes very private subject.

Another way to help is stock up on toilet paper like Who Gives a Crap.
They donate half of their profits to improve sanitation for those less fortunate.

Woollahra Council trees are blocking my drains

Many of the blocked drains we attend to are caused by the trees that line the streets managed by Woollahra Council.

At street level, the trees’ canopy brings summer shade and all kinds of birdlife.

Contrary to belief, tree roots don’t go in search of water. They are stimulated as moisture levels, and the surrounding soil temperature reaches a point that is appealing to them.

Sydney suburbs managed by Woollahra Council: Bellevue Hill, Darling Point, Double Bay, Edgecliff, Paddington, Point Piper, Rose Bay, Vaucluse

In most circumstances, the tree roots enter through leaking pipe joints and damage the sewer drains and stormwater pipes that take wastewater off your property. Many homeowners hold Woollahra Council responsible for their blockage and expect they will clear their blocked drains for free because the Council own the trees.

Well, in some cases they do!

But, Woollahra Council gets their income from you the ratepayer, and as you would expect, they have guidelines for spending ratepayers money to fix your blocked drains.

If you live in one of the suburbs managed by Woollahra Council, click here to see the Woollahra Council Wastewater Policy.

The top points are that you the homeowner:

Must have a sewer service diagram for your home.
Must maintain your sewer pipes.
Must prevent sewer blockages.
Must prevent sewerage from escaping into the environment.
May be entitled to the Council plumber clearing your blocked drain.

What if Waverley Council trees cause my Blocked Drain?

Did you know 85% of blocked drains are caused by tree roots?

In Waverley Council’s jurisdiction, blocked drains are cause quite often by the roots of the trees that line the streets.

They can block drains and sometimes damage the sewer and stormwater pipes that take wastewater off your property.

Many homeowners hold Waverley Council responsible for their blockage and expect they will clear their blocked drains for free because they own the trees.

Well in some cases they do!

But, Waverley Council gets their income from you the ratepayer and as you would expect, they have guidelines for spending ratepayers money to fix your blocked drains.

If you have a Blocked drain and live in one of these suburbs managed by Waverley Council including Bondi, Bondi Beach, Bondi Junction, Bronte, Charing Cross, Clovelly, Dover Heights, North Bondi, Queens Park and Waverley, click here to see the Waverley Council Sewerage Stormwater Drain Blockage Policy.

The top points are that you the homeowner:

Must have a sewer service diagram for your building.
Must maintain your sewer pipes.
Must prevent sewer blockages.
Must prevent sewerage from escaping into the environment.
May be entitled to the Council plumber clearing your blocked drain.

Bathroom cleaning tip #2

We plumbers wash our hands 10 or more times a day.

The Coronavirus pandemic is making us all think about the transmission of germs and how the virus is transmitted on the surfaces we come in contact with. Any time we work in your bathroom we more than likely touch the hot and cold taps in your bath, shower or hand basin and the cold water tap to your toilet.

The tap supplying water to the toilet isn’t touched regularly, so, it has a reduced chance of transmission through touch. But, it is near the toilet so airborne germs are a concern.

The simple task of using the toilet and then wiping ourselves is something we all learned as kids, but, in researching this article I’m surprised to learn the number of different methods people use.

No matter how you do it, the first thing we all do is flush the toilet.

Before we wash our hands!

Alarm bells are ringing for you right now. As they should be!
But(t), let’s be practical.

Whether you have a plumber working in your bathroom or not, keep an atomiser spray bottle with a mix of water and disinfectant with an appropriate cleaning cloth in your bathroom. Spray the toilet flush button, the cistern lid, the toilet seat and lid and wipe them over thoroughly.

And if you’re keen to clean the entire bathroom, click here to see another of our easy cleaning tips.

 

Randwick Council trees are responsible for my Blocked Drain

Blocked drains are a large part of our workday; every day! And 85% of blocked drains are caused by tree roots. Our home is Coogee Randwick, in the eastern suburbs of Sydney Australia.

Tree-lined streets in Randwick Council are the reason for a lot of the blocked drains that we attend to. They damage the sewer drains and stormwater pipes that take wastewater off your property.

Many homeowners hold the council responsible for their blockage and have expectations that the council will clear their blocked drains for free because they own the trees.

Well in some cases they do.

But, Randwick Council gets their income from you the ratepayer and as you’d expect they have guidelines for spending ratepayers money to fix your blocked drains.

If you live in one of these Sydney suburbs managed by Randwick Council including Centennial Park, Chifley, Coogee, Kensington, Kingsford, Little Bay, Malabar, Maroubra, Matraville, Pagewood, Phillip Bay, Port Botany and Randwick, click here to see Randwick Council Sewerage Stormwater Drain Blockage Policy.

The top points are that you the homeowner:

  • Must have a sewer service diagram for your home
  • Must maintain your sewer pipes.
  • Must prevent sewer blockages
  • Must prevent sewerage from escaping into the environment
  • Maybe entitled to the Council plumber clearing your blocked drain

Flushable wipes block drains

As you know, up to 85% of blocked drains are caused by tree roots and can be easily managed.

But, there is a growing number of blocked drains that are caused by “hygienic wipes”. Hygienic wipes block up house drains and sewer mains that cost homeowners and Sydney Water a fortune to maintain. So be careful what you flush!

To put it simply, hygienic wipes don’t break down like toilet paper and as many household pipelines have imperfections, the wipes get caught and cause a blocked drain.

If you are polishing your bottom….. and flushing more wipes, you could be in trouble.

This Choice magazine YouTube video shows how wipes don’t break down for up to 21 hours.

Don’t do this in the bathroom!

During our Coronavirus work schedule, I’ve found some fun hints and tips about plumbing and health that are worth sharing.

How germs spread:

  • on your toothbrush,
  • your toilet seat,
  • and the toilet flush button, are just a few examples.

How is water connected to my toilet cistern?

Many modern toilets have a concealed cistern. That’s the tank that holds the water that flushes the loo. Now, they do look fantastic and they do save water.

The small dual flush buttons are the access panel for the internal workings of the cistern. When they need maintenance, the only way to repair them is through that access panel.

The water tap is usually built into the wall and this one couldn’t be replaced without cutting into the wall behind.

Cow gets stuck in sewer manhole

During a long career dealing with blocked drains we have seen some unusual things in the sewer, and this is one of them.

This 1:53sec YouTube clip shows a team of Chinese firefighters, police and vets rescue a cow that has fallen down a sewer maintenance hole.

The pregnant cow looks pretty uncomfortable as she is winched out of the manhole. But she ambles off into the night with her grateful owner as if nothing has happened.