A drainage engineer operating a tanker unit in an industrial estate.

For industrial properties, the drainage problems can quickly turn into an incredibly expensive mess. In this article, we look at some the most common drainage issues facing commercial properties and industries.

Food, fat and grease blockages

Restaurants and the food industry are among the businesses most likely to experience blocked drains. This is usually because of the sheer volume of food waste that goes through their drainage systems on a daily basis.

Restaurants can serve hundreds of customers every day, generating an equally large amount of washing up. This means that an enormous amount of fat and grease can end up going down the sink into the drains. If the restaurant also uses a food waste disposal then there is even more food waste that can clog the drainage pipes.

Leaving this issues unresolved can result in the creation of fat burgs in the sewer system, which can have disastrous effects on your own and other local businesses.

Blocked toilets

At home, most people are very careful about not flushing too much paper, nappies and sanitary products down the toilet. When it comes to public toilets, however, this concern seems to go out the window. This can be especially problematic if you are responsible for a large commercial property like a shopping centre or hospital.

Even if non-flushable objects don’t clog the pipes immediately beneath the toilet, they can still end up clogging the sewer system. Unlike homeowners, when the rubbish makes it to the sewer at the end of the street, it might still be your problem.

If you have a blocked drain, first check to see who is responsible for looking after that particular section of a drain – you or the water control board. If you find that the area that has the blockage falls under your jurisdiction, then you will need to bring in professionals to remove the blockage for you.

Hard water damage

We’ve previously discussed the effect that hard water can have on industrial and commercial properties which can be devastating. Hard water can impact a range of areas within a commercial property, including:

Energy consumption

Hard water area can have a major impact on the energy consumption of a commercial or industrial property. Over time, the minerals found in hard water can build up on the heating elements and internal surfaces of boilers and other heating machinery. This reduces the efficiency of the heating elements, meaning they need more energy to heat the surrounding water. Unless this is treated, it can end up increasing your energy bills.


Hard water can dramatically reduce the lifespan of your equipment. The minerals deposited by hard water can harden on most appliances they come into sustained contact with. Over time this can cause equipment to fail and require repairing or replacing.

Equipment can be salvaged by periodically flushing impurities to the drain and changing the water in the boiler. But this means using water, energy and chemicals, which means more using even more resources.

The environment

Although hard water doesn’t have a direct negative impact on the environment, it can cause issues further down the line. As an example, soap and detergent are much less effective when used in hard water. So in order to get the same cleaning results as a soft water wash, you’ll need to use twice as much detergent. More detergent going into the system can end up causing damage to the local environment.

Industrial tank cleaning

Tanks are an important part of many industrial businesses but can cause serious problems if they aren’t maintained properly. When poorly maintained, harmful substances such as acids, alkalines and toxins can build up, potentially clogging the system. This can make vessels dangerous, compromising their efficiency and affecting product quality. To combat this, regular tank cleaning and maintenance is vital.

Tank cleaning is the process of removing blockages and preventing contamination. Often, the best cleaning solution involves using ultra-high-pressure water jets to remove the traces of the substances.It’s important to be conscious of the type of tank your business uses as different types of tank will pose different challenges. The risks involved will also depend on the structure. Any situation that requires the person to physically enter the tank will pose a significant risk and so should only be carried out by qualified personnel.

When tank cleaning, you want to make sure that you’re using a professional company that can provide you with a safe solution. Improper cleaning by an untrained or poorly equipped person can lead to serious health and safety issues and so should not be attempted.

Cesspit & Septic Tank Waste Removal

Commercial septic tanks are large-scale sewage treatment plants capable of dealing with wastewater and sewage generated from commercial developments such as hotels, schools and caravan parks. They’re generally needed where there is no public main sewer available for development but can also be used when the existing public sewers are not equipped to deal with the level of waste.

Because these units deal with such a high volume of wastewater, it is important that they are well maintained and regularly emptied. Failure to do so can lead to wear and tear on the unit and, eventually, flooding of the surrounding area. A thorough cleanout of both the primary and secondary compartments of the septic tank will eliminate all solid and liquid waste from the system. In addition, a clean-up service will be required if businesses experience serious plumbing system backups. If there has been a backlog or leak, it’s important to have the soakaway cleared safely and effectively to avoid any potential health or environmental issues.

Concrete blockages

On building and development sites, it’s very easy for concrete to get into the drainage pipes and cause serious blockages. What frequently happens is the concrete will stick to the sides of the pipes as it drips down, reducing the diameter of the pipes and therefore the flow rate. If the concrete reaches a bend in your pipes it will settle at the bottom, making it near impossible for wastewater to move past the concrete. This will cause waste to back up the pipes, potentially leading to a backflow of wastewater back into the property,

To loosen up the build-up of concrete, high-pressure water cutting jets are used to put excessive force on the solidified concrete. Once broken down, the debris is removed using a tanker to vacuum out the loose portions. This can generally be done without too much disruption to the drainage system but this will vary on a case by case basis.

What to do if you discover a drainage issue at your commercial property?

If your commercial or industrial property is experiencing any of the above drainage issues then you need to call in an expert drainage team. Ignoring the problem will only end up costing you more time and money in the future so it is best to act now. Drain 247 has over a decade of experience in fixing commercial drainage issues and has worked with some of the biggest names in the UK. Drain 247 are members of the National Sewerage Association (NSA), Construction Line, CHAS, the Environment Agency, the SSIP, Achilles, UVB, NADC, Association of Drainage Authorities (ADA) and are fully compliant with UKAS standards for 9001 – 14001.

Contact Drain 247 for Commercial Drainage Services in London & Hertfordshire

If you require any more information or have any queries regarding sewer cleaning or commercial drainage services and what to do, then please contact our drainage experts. Call us on 0800 612 8038 or you can complete our quick enquiry form to get your free, no-obligation quote