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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
These two books are the perfect starting place to help you get to grips with one of the most vitally important aspects of our society - our homes and living environment.

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    • CommentAuthorRex
    • CommentTimeNov 12th 2019
     
    What ho one and all,

    The nature of my question is probably along the lines of, how long is a piece of string?

    I live in a private road and am on the road committee. Because I built my house, I am seen as someone how has all the answers!

    One elderly neighbour has a very wet patch appear in his garden, just off the edge of the patio and about 4m from his back door. Affinity Water (potable water supplier) came, checked this and that and told him there is no water leak. Thames Water came, checked the various grey water / sewerage pipes, using cameras and dye, and also reported, no issues. Owning to the age of the property, they suggested relining, which was done a few months ago.

    However, the patch is growing and TW have analysed it as sewerage water!

    At the rear of the house, there are only two grey water out-flows (kitchen and bedroom wash basin); sewerage from the f/f bathroom and g/f toilet, are at the front of the house and run to the centre of the road, where the main sewerage pipe is situated.

    The house is on a slight slope with the road being higher. The fall from the main road sewerage pipe to the rear garden wet patch is probably around 1.5m – 2m.

    If it is not potable water, and if it is sewerage water, and if the sewerage pipes inspection shows no problems, where could this water be coming from?

    Toodle pip and thanks

    Rex
    • CommentAuthorgyrogear
    • CommentTimeNov 14th 2019
     
    Hmmm...

    What is on the other side of the road from this property ?

    I am wondering if there is phantom leaching of sewage from either a leaking sewer, or a cesspit / septic drainage field ?
    that is "borrowing" the line of HIS drains, to get into the back garden ?

    He needs to get some lime down quick !

    gg
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeNov 14th 2019
     
    Posted By: RexThames Water came, checked the various grey water / sewerage pipes, using cameras and dye, and also reported, no issues. Owning to the age of the property, they suggested relining, which was done a few months ago.

    However, the patch is growing and TW have analysed it as sewerage water!

    If they've checked all his drains, then either this sewage is coming from a lateral, a shared drain or a sewer, which are Thames responsibility or it's coming from some other person's private drain.

    I'd suggest he asks Thames Water to come and do whatever is needed to identify the source. They're the ones that have the maps, other knowledge, tools etc to do the job and are most likely responsible for the eventual repair. Make it clear that he expects them to identify the source of the problem at their expense, not his. Involve the council's environmental health team if there's any reluctance - they have powers to enforce a solution.
    • CommentAuthorphiledge
    • CommentTimeNov 14th 2019
     
    If theres a 1.5-2 metre fall from the sewer in the road to the wet patch in the back garden, how is the grey water at the back of the property getting into the sewer? Is there some pumping going on that the owner doesnt know about?
    • CommentAuthorgyrogear
    • CommentTimeNov 14th 2019 edited
     
    Posted By: philedgeIf theres a 1.5-2 metre fall from the sewer in the road to the wet patch in the back garden, how is the grey water at the back of the property getting into the sewer?


    That is a very good point !

    If no lift-pumping, then is there a soakaway involved ?

    Also, does he by any chance have an (unmentioned) WC with a waste-disposal unit, in his bathroom, dumping (so to speak...) into the soakaway ?

    gg

    (edited for "unmentioned" vs "undeclared")
    • CommentAuthorphiledge
    • CommentTimeNov 14th 2019
     
    The possibility of unknown drainage features reminds me of some friends of my wife who lived in house for 5 years with an electrical box on the wall of the utility room. Only when the submersible pump that pumped their sewage up to the road got blocked, did they find out they had a deep sump at the side of the house and the eldctrical box controlled the pump!!
    • CommentAuthorgyrogear
    • CommentTimeNov 15th 2019
     
    On holiday in the Yucatan, we signed up for an excursion to the local "cenotes" (shallow flooded caverns with religious significance for the Maya).

    The trip included a stop at a travel lodge complete with bar, souvenir shops and posh toilets.

    Down at the bottom of the spiral staircase, the guide invited people to go for a swim in the "crystal clear waters", and many did... including my son... despite my vehement exhortations...

    Back upstairs, after a couple of beers, I availed myself of the facilities with a certain mixture of trepidation, indifference-apathy and laisser-faire...


    gg
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeNov 15th 2019 edited
     
    Could it just be a blocked soakaway? If that's been ruled out..

    Posted By: RexThames Water came, checked the various grey water / sewerage pipes, using cameras and dye, and also reported, no issues. Owning to the age of the property, they suggested relining, which was done a few months ago.

    However, the patch is growing and TW have analysed it as sewerage water!


    Sewer pipes are frequently bedded in gravel. This can act as a French drain and carry water for some distance. One possibility could be a leak in a property up hill that is flowing into their garden through the gravel. Not sure how to identify if this is happening. May have to dig a holes near the boundary to expose the pipe to see what's flowing in the gravel around it?
    • CommentAuthorborpin
    • CommentTimeNov 16th 2019 edited
     
    Posted By: RexThe house is on a slight slope with the road being higher. The fall from the main road sewerage pipe to the rear garden wet patch is probably around 1.5m – 2m.
    As the Foul water is at the front of the house, that is reasonable if the main sewer is fairly deep on the road.

    However, is that property in a dip relative to the surrounding properties?

    The bit about gravel is an interesting one. If you join the dots between the wet patch, the grey outlet, the foul outlet and the sever connection, are they in line?

    Only answer, dig a hole...
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeNov 16th 2019
     
    I think that the water company should be called back to further investigate this, it must be their water causing the problem.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeNov 16th 2019 edited
     
    Posted By: tonyI think that the water company should be called back to further investigate this, it must be their water causing the problem.

    It's sewage, so I believe it's Thames Water, not the water supplier's responsibility as I already said.
    • CommentAuthorRex
    • CommentTimeNov 17th 2019
     
    Thank you for the various ideas and sorry for the delay in updating.

    TW visited the neighbour on Friday and tested the main sewerage run in the road. All clear; there is nothing wrong with any of his drainage.

    Both TW and Affinity having found no specific issues, have suggested that the problem may be with the neighbour, whose house / garden is slightly higher.

    I don't know one end of a wet patch from the other, but this neighbour had some major renovation / extension work done a few years ago and there is a chance that the extension rainwater outflow is to a new garden based soak-away that is saturating the surrounding area.

    However, I have done what I can, and now it is up to the respective neighbours to find their solution.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeNov 17th 2019
     
    Posted By: Rexthere is a chance that the extension rainwater outflow is to a new garden based soak-away that is saturating the surrounding area.

    I thought you said TW had confirmed that the wet patch was sewage? In which case it isn't from a rainwater soakaway.
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeNov 17th 2019
     
    Unless someone has taken an easy option and joined in a waste pipe to their rainwater
    • CommentAuthorgyrogear
    • CommentTimeNov 17th 2019
     
    Posted By: tonyUnless someone has taken an easy option and joined in a waste pipe to their rainwater


    precisely - such as the unmentioned-undeclared waste disposal unit mentioned previous...

    [aside] why don't the messages in a string have numbers ? !

    gg
    • CommentAuthorRex
    • CommentTimeNov 19th 2019
     
    As I say above, I have done what I can in supporting this elderly neighbour and it is now in his immediate neighbour's hands.

    However, I did meet him this morning and apparently, when TW first took a sample, they said it was fresh water, hence Affinity getting in on the act. After Affinity found no faults, TW returned and did more extensive checking, taking a second sample and dropping some kind of chemical into the sample. The reaction told them it was sewerage, but apparently grey water rather the raw.

    Having seen the jar, it is not clear but it is not filthy either. It smells like stagnant water rather than pure sewerage, but I am hardly a sewerage smell expert! But interestingly, the laying water has a thin film on the surface that tends to look like petrol but presumably, cannot be.
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeNov 24th 2019
     
    Perhaps get the neighbour to pressure test their foul sewer/
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