Chocking of drains is a common occurrence experienced at many premises, be it homes, hotels or hospitals. Often hair and silt tend to choke the drains if not unclogged periodically. Cleaning of drains at the commercial level – hospitals, hotels, industries or any other commercial establishment – comes under the preview of the housekeeping department.
Drains are directly connected to the sewer lines, which are divided into indoor lines and outdoor lines. The maintenance of artillery sewer lines or the outdoor lines running from the said premises to the main sewer line of the municipal corporation are the responsibility of the owner of the premises. These lines are usually 9” diameter and are linked through manholes lying 30 metres apart or whenever they change course. Many of the housekeeping companies, including Sanjay Maintenance and Lion Services have bought machines to clean such drains.
Silt accumulates in the manhole and if not cleared periodically goes down the sewer line, leading to choke ups. Mechanized cleaning using a grab is one of the best methods to clear these manholes. A mechanical grab can be introduced into a manhole that opens a bucket and traps the silt into the bucket, which can be later pulled out of the manhole.
Once the manhole is cleared, the next step would be to clean the sewer lines by combining force and high speed drilling to puncture the blockage; unlike the conventional method of using force with iron rods or bamboo sticks to clear the block. The machines used for clearing tertiary sewer lines have flexible drilling springs that are attached with different cutting tools to address various kinds of problems like roots, scales, stubborn blockages and oil cakes inside the sewer lines.
The cleaning of indoor lines, usually between 2-4” wide, involves clearing traps. These lines are laid with a P-trap or a nani-trap or an S-trap or bottle trap. The lines have bends to maintain certain water levels, which help block the foul smell. Machines used for cleaning the indoor lines are capable of taking the bend and hence have smaller and flexible springs that are either hand powered or motorised.
These springs clear blockages in toilets, mostly due to sanitary waste; in the bathtub due to hair and soap particles; and in kitchen floor drain due to oil, vegetable waste, rice, etc. Today, even marble powder is being added to washing soaps, which does not dissolve in water. It settles in the pipeline leading to blockage.
The indoor lines are concealed either underground or inside the walls making it inaccessible. Thus, the use of machines that can travel down the bend, go inside these lines and drill is inevitable.
Often, people resort to cleaning drains only when it gets blocked. Preventive maintenance is important which can be carried out periodically. Like hotels could run these machines three to four times a year. Housekeeping company should maintain a schedule for unclogging drains at every premise to ascertain clear drains.M. Krishna, MD, Kam-Avida Enviro Engineers Pvt.Ltd