Lanes for Drains Engineers take on Victorian Ingenuity – and Win!

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Lanes for Drains engineers based in the Portsmouth area have been praised for their skill and professionalism in averting a major problem caused by a blocked drain at a large residential home.

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When they got there, they found that a drain interceptor had contributed to the problem. This is a cover installed in many sewers during Victorian times to help stop rats from climbing up pipes into properties. - Tony Cutajar (Lanes for Drains)

Oaklands Residential Home in Southsea, Hampshire, called Lanes for Drains after a bad smell in the basement led them to discover a manhole full of sewage.

Blockage Engineer Jason Othen and apprentice engineer Craig Cairns from the Lanes for Drains’ South Central Depot in Eastleigh, which covers Portsmouth and surrounding areas, were on the scene within the hour.

And they found that Victorian ingenuity in keeping rats at bay had contributed to what could have been a nasty problem.

Angela Kish, manager of residential home in Merton Road, Southsea, which has 43 bedrooms, all with en-suite bathrooms, said: “Our kitchens and offices are in the basement and we noticed a nasty smell.

“I got our handyman to check the manhole and he found it was full of sewage. But he couldn’t do anything about it because there was a step over the drain. He said we needed expert help to unblock it so I called Lanes for Drains.

“It was a potentially big emergency for us. We are a large residential home and if the drain wasn’t unblocked quickly our premises, including the kitchens, could have been flooded with sewage.

“Many of our residents are frail and have chronic medical conditions, including incontinence, so the impact on our service to them could have been very significant.

“Lanes for Drains were highly professional. We were told an engineer would be on site within the hour and that is what happened. The team went straight to work, identified the problem and had the blockage cleared within the hour.”

Tony Cutajar, South Central Regional Manager, said: “Lanes for Drains deals with hundreds of blocked drains in Portsmouth and surrounding areas every year.

“When we got this call, we realised straight away the importance of responding as quickly as possible. With the size and nature of the property, there was a real risk of a serious flood.

“The team allocated were, at the time, on a job in Eastleigh but said they could be on their way to Southsea within 15 minutes.

“When they got there, they found that a drain interceptor had contributed to the problem. This is a cover installed in many sewers during Victorian times to help stop rats from climbing up pipes into properties.

“It was a sensible precaution for the times, but now, because of the additional demand caused by modern lifestyles, these interceptors cause more problems than they solve and there is a move towards taking them out.

“As part of our service to the customer, we carried out a camera survey of the sewer line serving the residential home and will be providing the client with a report of our findings.”

Angela Kish has now asked Lanes for Drains to provide her with a quote for work required to remove the Victorian interceptor. She said: “I was very impressed with Lanes for Drains’ service, but I would rather solve this problem so I don’t need their help to clear a blocked drain again in the near future!”

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Michelle Ringland
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