Category Archives: Blocked And Damaged Drains

What is a Cesspit NZ?

A cesspit or catchpit is a drainage system used primarily in stormwater management. Whether it is sewerage or stormwater, a cesspit is designed to prevent blockages and water contamination in a drainage system. A cesspit is a chamber that allows debris and sediments to settle to the bottom of a pit. For this reason it is advisable to regularly maintain your cesspit by emptying and cleaning at least once a year.

Why do you need a cesspit?

A cesspit is typically found upstream of a drainage system. This way the cesspit can collect all debris before it enters public or private stormwater pipes.

Cesspits are most commonly found in gardens, driveways or roadways. These environments typically collect large quantities of debris and sediment which if allowed through would cause blockages in a public drainage system. A blockage could cause flooding, water to return back up a pipe or worse damage property. Therefore a cesspit is vital when managing surface water in any of these environments.

By law all channels and subsoil drainage must flow into a cesspit to ensure no debris can flow into the private or public stormwater lines. For example, a driveway channel may be a vector for debris to collect, and so all water must be filtered before it can be discharged into the stormwater line.

How does a cesspit / catchpit work

Basically, a cesspit works by providing a sump where sediment and debris can fall and collect. Water overflows at the top level of the cesspit leaving debris behind at the bottom of the pit. The clean water then exits through the outlet pipe, which sits just lower than the inlet pipe.

To protect the outlet pipe against potential floating debris, a baffle can be fitted to the outlet. This can help filter leaves and twigs, stopping them from entering the pipe.

Because silt, sediment and debris build up in the sump of the cesspit, regular maintenance and cleaning of the cesspit is required. Typically the average cesspit should be cleared out annually to prevent a build up of debris. Such a build up could cause the cesspit to become ineffective, increasing the likelihood of damage from unmanageable water.

Types of cesspits

The most common form of catchpit is a roadside catchpit. Catchpits can be found intermittently alongside Auckland roads. What is unique about these types of catchpits is their design. Roadside cesspit openings must not allow objects greater than 100mm in dimension to pass through. Openings must also be small enough to prevent sizable debris from entering the system that may cause damage. These cesspits are typically larger than ones found on residential property. Under New Zealand building code these cesspits are known as a type 2 surface water sump.

A type 1 cesspit is no larger than an office paper bin. These cesspits are commonly used in residential applications such as in a driveway or garden.

There are many different names for a cesspit, such as:

  • Catchpit
  • Bubble up chamber
  • Receiving chambers
  • wet chambers
  • Dry chambers

Regardless of the name, the principles are the same. Incoming water is filtered to remove contaminants before entering a larger drainage system. This now clean water can then be confidently reused, recycled, or safely discharged into our oceans or environment.

Cesspits come in a variety of materials. The physical sump is typically made of:

  • Concrete
  • Polyethylene plastic

The top grate of a cesspit is typically made of iron. Iron grates are extremely durable and heavy. This prevents the grate from blowing away in strong weather.

With the increasing popularity of bicycle lanes, a newly designed cesspit finish is becoming more common. This new design is a flat stainless steel grate. Unlike the normal curved iron grate, this cesspit finish is designed to prevent accidents on bikes and scooters. More traditional curved grates can act like a pothole, dismounting commuters off their bike.


Because a cesspit is a static installation designed to filter stormwater it can quickly become full. If Debris and sediment pile up it will cause a blockage, damage and even flooding. Therefore it is necessary to regularly maintain cesspits by clearing excess waste. Ideally this should be done yearly.

Every homeowner should be concerned whether their cesspit is functional or not. One quick test you can do at home is to look down into your cesspit. If you cannot see an outlet pipe then it most likely means your cesspit is overflowing or blocked.

We at Drainage NZ offer our own regular maintenance service. Book with us and receive annual maintenance on your cesspit. We’ll turn up at the same time every year to empty and clean your cesspit with no fuss and at a competitive price.

Give us a call on 0800 372 465 or contact us online to organise maintenance on your cesspit.

Drain Unblocking Remuera

We got a call from our client in Remuera as they were experiencing, blocked toilets, blocked shower drains, blocked sinks and even sewage backflowing through the shower drain. With our team of blockage experts and specialist unblocking equipment, our client was in safe hands.

Before Unblocking

Thanks to our team of expert drain unblockers in Remuera, we were able to clear the line so that the occupants can use everything! when it comes to a block like this, as it is very uncommon for a line to block this intensively without there being something to cause it, we recommended our drain unblocking and CCTV combo deal. We put the camera down the line to investigate what could have caused the blockage, what we found was a number of cracked sections, with tree roots coming is, as well as a completely collapsed buchan trap, but even then we still got the line free-flowing so that it can be used before the appropriate repairs are completed which were quoted the same day.

After unblocking

Don’t just get a drain unblocker in, get Drainage NZ, we don’t just unblock the line, we make sure its not going to block again, give us a call or leave us a message and well get it sorted for you

Unblocking A Stubborn Drain – How Experts Deal with Clogged Pipes

Dealing with blocked drainage can be very cumbersome. However, it’s important to get it done as soon as possible to avoid paying for expensive repairs. With a clogged sewer line, waste water can’t flow down the line drain. Instead, the water flows back into the pipes inside a house or a commercial building. For many people, this means trouble, especially when the waste water starts damaging the property and leaving an undesirable scent.

Causes of a clogged drainage

Clogged drain pipes are perhaps one of the most common issues faced by many property owners. And there are plenty of reasons why this happens. Here are some of the common causes of a blocked drain:

  • Hardened grease, oil, fats and decaying food particles
  • Chemical buildup from bathroom products such as toothpaste, soap, and shampoo.
  • Flushed toilet paper, paper towels, wet wipes and sanitary napkins/tampons
  • Soil or construction debris during a home renovation project
  • Deteriorating plants or leaves during autumn
  • Offset drain pipes, especially in old properties
  • Mineral buildup inside the pipes because of hard water

Signs your drain is blocked

It’s not easy to figure out when a drain pipe gets blocked, mostly because the system is underground. Most of the time, people don’t even know that they have blocked drainage until the damage is beyond repair. Thankfully, there are some key telltale signs that your drain is blocked:

  • Unpleasant smell coming from the drain – One of the most obvious signs that you have a clogged drain pipe is foul sewage odour. Organic matter breakdown releases unpleasant smelling gases such as carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide and nitrogen.
  • Toilet won’t flush or the water level is too high – You know there’s something wrong with the drain pipes when the water in the toilet bowl looks abnormally high.
  • You hear a gurgling sound from the pipe – A gurgling noise coming from the plug hole, drain and toilet bowl can also denote that there is a buildup of grease, dirt or other material in the drain.
  • Water keeps on backing up to your tub, sink and shower –
  • Water on the kitchen, laundry or bathroom floor –

Dealing with a clogged drain

If you see any of the signs enumerated above, you need to act fast. It might be worth it to use DIY remedies to unclog the pipes, especially when the problem is not that serious. After all, who doesn’t want to save a few dollars on a survey.

However, most of the time, it’s more practical to call in a drain unblocking professional. It saves you time and money, plus you don’t need to figure out your problems on your own. With the help of a trained plumber, you get to the bottom of the issue fast and you prevent other expensive problems to arise.

Here are some of the ways that experts use to unblock drain pipes:

  • Mechanical unblocking – The standard process to deal with a blocked drain involves the use of equipment such as motorised drain snake. The service charge starts at $295.
  • Camera inspection – There are some instances where plumbers need to use a camera to inspect drain. With CCTV drain survey, plumbers get to identify what is blocking the drain.

Hydro blasting – Hydro- jetting or hydro blasting is a technique used to clean or clear out surfaces or pipes. It involves the use of highly-pressurized water to dislodge materials.

For severe cases, you may need to avail additional services such as pipe excavation. The process involves the removal and replacement of the blocked pipes. The service can cost around $229 if its a basic dig up and replace.  

Besides dealing with the blockage, you should also consider having your pipes cleaned on a regular basis. You can book a sucker truck service for $207 so you can get rid of organic matter accumulating inside the drain pipes.

You can also install sediment water filter cartridge to minimise the amount of soil, rocks, and silt accumulating in the drain.

Lastly, if you make use of an underground grease trap, see to it that you have it cleaned every once in a while. Without a clean grease trap, more fat, oil and grease or FOG end up in the drain. And overtime, they accumulate and cause plumbing mishaps aka blockaghes. 

How to prevent clogging of drain pipes

Clogged drains are quite annoying but at the same time, preventable. After a plumber restore it to good condition, your next priority is to keep it that way for a long time. It will help you avoid trouble plus paying for additional or follow up services. Here are the simplest and most practical ways you can keep your drain clear:

  • Never dump leftover food in the sink
  • Allow liquid grease to cool and have them disposed properly
  • Do not pour fat or oil in the kitchen sink
  • If the main line supplies hard water, use a water softener to prevent material buildup
  • Utilise hair catcher on the drain to prevent hair from getting into the pipes

Book a drain unclogging service today!

Notice signs that your drain is blocked by material buildup? Have your drain pipe inspected fast! Find out what’s causing the issue so that you know the best approach to use with the help of Drainage NZ. Failure to unclog your drain on time can cause all sorts of issues that can cause long-term and expensive damage to your property. Start mitigating the issue today!

Flushing Tampons Down The Drain, What A Pain!

Flushing a used tampon seems like the most convenient course of action – it’s totally mess free and you won’t have to go looking for a nearby rubbish bin. However, in this case, the easiest option isn’t the best.

It’s not a secret that flushing tampons down the loo can clog up the plumbing system and harm the environment. Even tampon brands have these warnings explicitly written on their product packaging.

The problem with flushing tampons

Tampons are designed to be super absorbent. Once they go down the drain, they absorb all the water they can hold and expand like crazy. In fact, they can expand up to ten times their original size. And since they cannot be processed by wastewater treatment facilities, drains are bound to get clogged up by years’ worth of used tampons. Need proof? Have a look at what we found on our recent drain unblocking and CCTV drain inspection work.

Sure they are ‘flushable’ in the sense that they go down the drain without any problems. But the truth is tampons don’t break down in seconds like tissue paper does. Even the biodegradable options take months to break down, so they remain practically intact while they’re making their way through the pipes or the sewage treatment system.

When all those tampons accumulate in the pipes, they can cause blockage which is both problematic and costly. This costs utilities billions of dollars in repair and maintenance costs each year. And you can bet it will cost you a fortune if it happens on your property. If you have a septic tank, the tampons will sink to the bottom and impede the tank’s ability to function.

The result? Blocked drains can cause flooding, health risks and damage to property. It can be very costly to fix these problems.

Aside from causing blockage, flushed tampons can get into clean water sources when the sewer pipes back up and the wastewater overflows into our creeks, rivers and streams. In some instances, they bypass sewage treatment facilities altogether and end up directly in waterways. They not only become an eyesore but can also harm wildlife. In fact, thousands of marine animals and seabirds die from ingestion of marine litter, which include tampons.

Now, if you think flushing tampons down the drain instead of throwing it in the bin is keeping them away from landfills, hold that thought. Any waste that gets caught in the sewage are eventually strained out and sent to – you guessed it – a landfill. So that’s basically just taking the longer route.

What can you do about it?

For starters, follow the 3P’s rule, which is to flush only pee, poop and paper (sparingly). Wrap your used tampon in tissue and throw it in the rubbish bin where it belongs. It’s that simple.

How about the ones that are already down the drain? If water from your pipes is starting to back up or if your drains aren’t working as well as they should, call our team for a drain unblocking and CCTV survey. During inspection, we’ll send a tiny camera down your pipes to locate the source of the blockage before attempting any treatment. This saves a great deal of your time and money, since we can provide the right solution based on concrete evidence and diagnosis. It also means we won’t have to go digging around in your property to find the problem.

For more information, don’t hesitate to call us on 0800 DRAINLAYER (0800 372 465).

What To Do If Your Drains Are Not Draining

Are your drains slacking on the job? Maybe you’ve noticed that your drains are not draining as quickly as they used to, or maybe they are even flooding! If that is the case, you most likely have a blocked drain, and this is not as uncommon as you may think.

Why do drains block?
Common caused for drains getting blocked include:

  • Rubbish stuck in pipe
  • Leaves or other substances blocking the pipe
  • Damage or collapsed pipe
  • Tree roots which have grown into the pipe and blocked it
  • Silt and dirt build up after years of drainage service

Blocked drains are actually a common problem and can cause serious issues if left untreated. Blocked drains can cause health issues and property damage. If you have noticed a blocked drain, you would be wise to act on it.

What to do if you notice a blocked drain
If you notice a blocked drain, you should pick up the phone and call a drain unblocker. The best and fastest way to see what is causing the blockage is by means of a CCTV drain inspection. The drain unblocker will put a CCTV camera down the drain to see what is causing the blockage, and once this is known then appropriate action can be decided.

Here is an example of a CCTV drain inspection:

Once the blockage has been identified, it can now be decided how to best tackle the problem. The solution will depend on whether it’s a blockage or whether the drain is damaged.

If the problem is a blockage, the most likely course of action wiull be to unblock it by means of Hydro jetting. This involves putting a jetting hose down the drain, which sprays water through a water jet at very high pressure to clear any blockages. This method is faster and cheaper than all other drain unblocking solutions, and can be used on all sizes of drain pipes.

If the drain has been damaged, whether it’s by tree roots, burst pipe or otherwise, the solution will involve repairing the broken section of pipe. This is more complicated than a drain unblocking but is necessary to get sorted.

If you are having drainage issues, contact us today by calling 0800 372 465 and let us solve your drainage problem!


Drain Unblocking and CCTV Inspection

Blocked drains can be a huge pain. Aside from the unpleasant smell and mess caused by the water backflow, you also have to deal with repair costs and the potential health hazards that may arise from it. While small blockage can be resolved using a drain snake or other home remedies, water backflow, leaks home remedies, chances are your drains, stormwater pipes or sewers need to be looked at by a professional.

At Drainage NZ, we have a team of master plumbers and repair engineers as well as modern equipment required for any drain-related jobs, including drain unblocking and CCTV inspection.

Drain clearance involves a two-step approach. First, we’ll carry out an inspection to identify what’s causing the blockage and where it is located. Then, we’ll prescribe the best technique to clear out your pipes.

Causes of Blockage

Blockage rarely happens since modern pipes and sewers are now manufactured to demanding standards. And if your pipes were installed by skilled drainlayers, the chances are even slimmer.

However, blockage does occur due to the following reasons:

  • Accumulated leaves and debris from trees
  • Tree roots that grow into the pipes through a crack of failed joint due to ground settlement
  • Badly aligned or broken pipes (usually there’s a lip obstruction where materials in the sewage flow get caught)
  • Tissue, sanitary pads and other products that are flushed in the toilet
  • Foreign objects that were forced down the drain
  • Accumulated food scraps and cooking grease

If water drains at a slower rate than normal or the toilet bowl fills to a higher level than usual after being flushed, chances are there’s already partial blockage. It’s best to call an engineer at this point to avoid a bigger headache later.

CCTV Inspection + Drain Clearance

To work out where the problem lies, first we check the disconnector trap (DT), the ground floor toilet bowl, the interceptor traps and the sewer pipes for any signs of blockage.

If the problem cannot be determined  by this process of elimination, we will conduct a CCTV drain survey. Using this technology ensures a speedy analysis, accurate diagnosis and minimal disruption as we no longer have to carry out a large excavation to locate the blockage. This also means less inconvenience and costs on your part.

We’ll locate a suitable entry point for the CCTV camera, inspect the condition of your underground pipes and determine the best way to go forward.

In some cases, we find that blockages are caused by the public drain/sewer failure and the liability is not yours. In such situations, we will advise you to ask your water company or the local authorities for recompense.

At Drainage NZ, we use waterjetting or hydro blasting to clear away debris, thaw frozen drains or break up fat deposits. If the blockage can’t be resolved this way, an excavation will be required to ensure the blockage is thoroughly cleared and won’t happen occur again in the future.

For more information about our drainage services, contact us today!

Toilet Unblocking Does Not Have To Be Expensive

Anyone who has seen this sight knows the feeling of horror that comes along with it:

The good ol’ blocked toilet. The problem no single person wants to have to deal with. Why do toilets get blocked in the first place?

The most common reasons toilets get blocked are:

  • Too much toilet paper, waste or unflushable items – By far the most common reason, people put too much paper or waste down at once and it just gets stuck. Also unflushable items such as food packets can cause blockage issues quickly.
  • Hard water deposits – Over time, excessive build ups accumulate and can cause blockages
  • The drain line is the cause – If this is the case, an acidic solution may fix the problem. Some people even use Coca Cola, but any chemical containing lye should fix the problem. If not, the issue could be more serious.
  • Hair – Often overlooked, hair can cause toilet blockages too. Usually this can be solved with a chemical solution, but if it is happening frequently, this could mean a bigger issue that needs a professional to solve.

So what do you do if you find yourself with a blocked toilet? If you tried chemical solutions and that hasn’t worked, you can try using a plunger.  The plunger is an extremely effective tool for blocked toilets when the blockage is close to the fixture. The best method to use it is to flush the toilet and begin plunging as the water has started flowing down the drain. Sometimes it takes a couple of goes to unblock the toilet. However, if the water level is high and close to the top of the toilet, do not flush it as it will overflow.

If this doesn’t work, it’s time to call a professional. Dealing with blocked toilets can be hazardous work which can also create bigger problems so if the easy solutions do not fix the problem, you are best off to call someone who knows what they are doing.

We at Drainage NZ deal with blocked toilets on a very regular basis and offer a very affordable toilet unblocking solutions. Our team has machines specifically for the job which ensure no damage is done to your drains and it can be clearly safely and cleanly. No need to make a sewer out of your bathroom, and you can go back to having a free flowing toilet.

Got a blocked toilet on your hands? Contact us today and let us deal with the problem quickly!




Drain Unblockers or CCTV Experts?

blocked_toiletA blocked drain is the last the last thing you would expect when you are relaxing on the weekend. Suddenly your kitchen sink is not draining, your gully trap is overflowing or even worse your toilet decides to throw up!

This is exactly what happened to Sandy in Remuera Auckland over the long Anzac weekend.

After several calls to several drain unblockers Sandy quickly got confused about what service was required, the cost for that service and whether or not it would solve the issues right away. After 1 hour of talking to multiple drain unblocking service providers, Sandy just about gave up and was more confused than to begin with.

Thankfully she came across Drainage NZ!

After only 15 minutes on the phone with Sandy, we identified the issue by asking a series of simple questions. Experience allows us to ask the right questions, go through a simple process of elimination and pin point the problem and quote the correct cost.

Many companies are understaffed and unwilling to service a “simple” drain unblock at a “simple” cost. Like in Sandy’s they company in question would not come to site unless also  CCTV was booked. Having asked the right questions it was quickly determined that the issue was inside the building envelope and not outside.

After arriving onsite, the problem was resolved with a simple plunge! 3 year old Marty put her teddy down the drain causing the blockage. We were able to get our drain unblocking snake down the toilet and pull the offending Winnie the pooh out hence resolving the issue. You can imagine Sand’s relief!

The cost? A simple minimum weekend charge out rate.
Drainage NZ are available 24/7, call 0800 DRAINLAYER for more information or free quotes.

My Stormwater Is Flooding, What Do I Do?

Flooding stormwater drains are a fairly common problem and can be a real pain. Not only does the flood cause inconvenience but it can also cause damage as well. So what should you do if you see a flood, and what can you do to prevent it in the first place?

stormwater_drains_blockedFirstly, if you already have a flood on your hands, it is too late to take proactive action to prevent it. You need to find the cause of the problem. Stormwater drains often get blocked by leaves, sand, dirt and mud. They are usually washed into the drain during rains and storms, which is normal. If you have a blockage, more often then not it’s a simple case of just unblocking the drain, it’s just important to pick it up and get it done as soon as possible to prevent property damage.

It is also possible that a blocked stormwater drain is caused by damage in the drainage system. This can be found by doing a CCTV inspection, and will most likely be the case if unblocking does not solve the problem.

In order to prevent the drain from flooding in the first place, regular maintenance and checking is the first step. Always make sure that drain is clear and there is no build up or dirt, leaves etc. Also always check after heavy rain or storm to ensure that a blockage has not started to build up.