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Vaporooter in Melbourne

Longbeach Plumbing uses a non-systemic chemical root control in Melbourne’s Metropolitan area to control tree roots in sewer drains. As the sewer system ages tree

Blocked kitchen sink?

Blocked kitchen drain? Longbeach plumbing regularly clears drains where there has been build up of grease in drains, that has caused a major blockage in

Blocked sewer

Longbeach plumbing regularly clears sewer & storm water blockages throughout the week. In general, most blocked drains are caused by tree root incursion through cracks in the drain, whether it is a storm water drain or a sewer pipe. The standard drain blockage is cleared within the hour. Weekends & Mondays are our busiest days for sewer blockages. The fixtures within the house are used more frequently on the weekend which causes the sewer to overflow into the garden when my clients tend to notice when they are gardening.
This week we were called to a blocked sewer with a difference in Cheltenham.  One of our regular clients called us to a sewer blockage, which a standard sewer machine could not clear. The site was a commercial property which refines honey on a small scale. After hydro jetting the boundary trap for several minutes we noticed that the sewer blockage was discharging a wax like substance. We continued jetting for 20 minutes & were able to piece the obstruction & the sewage discharged into the sewer main.
As the sewer discharged out into the sewer main, a solid clump of honey residue could be viewed on the pipe camera. It was attached to tree root incursions at the base of the boundary trap. We continued to hydro jet, with the aid of the pipe camera, removing the remaining tree roots & honey residue.
Having cleaned the site & packed the equipment away.  We surveyed the site to investigate where the honey residue had come from. We found a fixture which should have had an interceptor trap to collect the residue before it entered the sewer. We recommend that it be fitted before any more refining was done & that the boundary trap be treated annually with Sanafoam Vapoorooter to control the tree root incursions.

What drain pipes are you responsible for?

What is a house connection branch HCB?

  • A house connection branch is the sewer branch from the authority’s sewer main that enters into the property to connect to the HCD.

What is a house connection drain HCD?

  • A house connection drain is the sewer system within the property, connecting the sanitary fixtures to the HCB.

Who is responsible for the HCB & HCD?

  • If the sewer blockage is in the house connection drain (HCD), the property owner is responsible.
  • If the sewer blockage is in the house connection branch (HCB), or beyond, the sewer authority is responsible.

What is a Property Sewerage Plan?

  • A Property Sewerage Plan 9PSP) is a sketch of the drain & fixture locations on a property.
  • The sewer authorities have copies of the property services plan on their files which can be purchased online.
  • It will assist Longbeach plumbing in clearing the sewer blockage by having a copy available on site

How do I know where the sewer blockage is?

  • It is difficult for the lay person to assess the location of the sewer blockage as the sewage overflow is rarely located at the discharge point of the drain blockage.
  • Longbeach plumbing can assess the site to for the layout of the H.C.D & confirm the position of the HCB.
  • If the location of the sewer blockage is unclear, Longbeach plumbing can make an assessment by using a hydro jetter or pipe camera to determine if the blocked drain is in the HCD or the HCB.

Why are Inspection shafts and boundary traps important?

  • If an inspection shaft (IS) or boundary trap (BT) was originally constructed in the HCD, the plumbing code states this point should remain at surface level at all times.
  • An IS / BT at surface level allows for easy, quick inspections & cleaning of the sewer pipes.
  • The inspection shaft or boundary shaft should be located & inspected to enable the sewer blockage to be cleared effectively.
  • The sewer authorities will not attend to clear a sewer blockage in the HCB until the IS or BT is exposed.

What if I call a plumber & the sewer blockage is in the sewer authority pipe?

  • The sewer authorities require the property owner to indentify the location of the blockage.
  • Longbeach plumbing offers a service which is chargeable to the property owner for hydro jet or rodding of the HCD, which is necessary to determine the location of the pipe blockage.
  • If Longbeach plumbing determines that the pipe blockage is in the sewer authorities section. Longbeach plumbing will notify the sewage authority about the pipe blockage in the HCB& arrange for the sewer authority to attend at no additional cost to property owner.
  • If Longbeach plumbing clears the HCD pipes or digs to find your inspection shaft / boundary trap, the property owner is responsible for the cost of this work.

What is Combined Sewer?

  • Combined sewers are common in unit developments & older areas of Melbourne. A combined drain has two or more dwelling connected to the HCD with one HCB connection to the sewer authorities main.
  • When a sewer blockage is in a combined sewer. Longbeach Plumbing will require access to the yard with the IS or BT, if there is one on the property.
Typical Sewer Connections
A Selection of Typical Sewer Connections

Still the one You might have noticed tha…

Still the one
You might have noticed that the team at Longbeach Plumbing are big fans of a little product called Vaporooter.
That’s because we believe it’s the most effective root inhibitor on the market today.
But did you know that Vaporooter is no new-comer to the world of blocked pipes?
For more than more than 40 years, Vaporooter has been the go-to solution for sewer cleaning for both the domestic and municipal markets.
We thought you might like to know a bit more about this amazing product and why it’s still the best way to remove roots from your blocked pipes and keep them out.
What is Vaporooter?
Vaporooter is a foam-based herbicide formulated to keep root growth out of your pipes. It works by penetrating the root cell walls and bursting them, causing the root to die and decay.
It contains a root inhibitor that attaches itself to any organic material inside the pipe and sterilises the soil wherever roots have previously gained entry. It’s safe to use in your garden – in fact, its main ingredients are also found in herbicides that are used to control weeds around food crops.
Back to its roots
Vaporooter was developed in 1967 when the County of Sacramento in California decided to seek outside help for the area’s increasing tree root damage to sewers.
City and county officials called on botanist Oliver Leonard at The University of California-Davis to conduct a study to determine why their cutting efforts of sewer roots were not successful and to find an alternative to rid their infrastructure of roots in pipes once and for all. The county’s records noted that frequent cutting was only making the problem worse, causing the roots to reappear thicker and stronger than before the cut.
In the end, the researchers found that the physical environment within a sewer is an ideal growth environment for roots. Since the mechanical root cutting only intensified the problem, the use of chemical treatments was chosen as an alternative solution.
After testing various ingredients, scientists discovered a unique chemical that’s very effective at killing roots without harming the plant itself. It dissipates quickly without leaving any harmful residue behind and, when combined with a second compound, inhibits root regrowth.
Vaporooter was patented and went on to become one of the world’s most effective formulae for unblocking pipes, eliminating roots and preventing re-growth for years to come.
Still going strong
Fast forward forty years and today Vaporooter is used successfully to unblock drains in both domestic and commercial applications throughout the world.
With a proven product and continued development, and by keeping their eyes open to the latest trends in controlling roots in pipes, the company has been able to maintain its position as the market leader in root inhibitor products.
Talk to us today about removing roots from your blocked pipes and keeping them out.

An informed decision rather than an educated guess.

I am regularly called in to clear a blocked drain that has been cleared by other plumbing firms, on a regular basis. I will generally recommend the use of a drain camera /pipe camera in combination with the hydro-jetter because  it is a significantly more efficient method of clearing a blocked sewer. A drain camera will operate submerged in water during the cleaning process. The hydro-jet cuts through obstructions, (generally tree roots), at approximately 35,000 kpa with minimal water usage & without damaging the drain, unlike mechanical methods such as “Electric eels”, which hack at the obstruction, which is the most common method used by other plumbing firms.
Click on TV Longbeach for vision of the hydro-jetting . http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwhLPEfJkCM
The majority of the time, a pipe camera will reveal multiple tree root incursions that an electric eel has only trimmed to encourage renewed growth. The pipe camera enables the hydro-jet operator to place the jet head on each tree root incursion, so it can be completely cut to the inside diameter the drain. This leaves the sewer system free of obstructions so any structural faults are visible.
Pipe camera inspection is conducted with the aid of a colour, self-levelling push rod camera and the information recorded to a DVD on site. The vision can be reviewed at a later date for further interpretation and analysis.  There is a sonde located in the camera head that identifies the position & depth of the camera to map the position of the blockage, obstruction, structural failure or to simply map the drainage system itself.
With the CCTV drain inspection completed my client then as the ability to make an informed decision on the method preventing ongoing sewer blockages. There are many solutions available, ranging from replacement of the sewer, relining the sewer, regular clearing of the drain or treating the sewer with Sanafoam Vaporooter. (Click on TV Longbeach. For vision of vaporooter treatment of a sewer main in Toorak http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXULc5BzE-8 )Longbeach plumbing has work in Parkdale, Cheltenham, Mentone, Sandringham, Hampton, Brighton, Beaumaris, Highett & Moorabbin in the last week.

Relief when you need it most.

Relief when you need it most

We tend not to think about the impact blocked pipes might have on our home – until it happens!

The reality is that all sewer systems are prone to occasional blockages, be it from roots in pipes or waste that has been inappropriately disposed of down your kitchen sink or toilet.

If your sewer pipe was to suffer a blockage, you should remember that what happens next is a matter of physics.

The waste material has to escape somewhere and if you don’t have a properly functioning Overflow Relief Gully (ORG), the most likely outcome is that you’ll find it bubbling up from your shower base or toilet and cascading along your floors.

Not a pleasant thought, is it?

What is an ORG and why is it important?

An overflow relief gully (ORG) is a drain-like fitting located outside the home that’s designed to release any sewage overflow away from the interior of your home and outside to the garden – well clear of your home and valued possessions.

ORGs are usually located at the end of the house sewer pipe, close to the dwelling. From the gully, the sewer line heads straight for the sewer main connection. On a large house with several bathrooms there may be more than one ORG.

If installed correctly, an ORG works because it is fitted at a depth that is lower than any other waste outlet in the home. If the sewer pipe becomes blocked, it will overflow outside your house, NOT IN YOUR BATHROOM.

Over flow relief gully

ORGs protect our properties

It’s your responsibility to ensure your home is fitted with a properly designed and operational ORG.

Why not take a moment now to work through this handy checklist?

Your ORG should NOT be:

  • Covered by landscaping and/or garden beds
  • Covered by any object, such as a pot plant
  • Unable to pop off because it is corroded, filled with silt or concreted in

This last point is really important. The plastic grill that sits in the concrete must be loose, so that if a blocked pipe causes an overflow, the pressure will lift the lid off enabling the waste material to be directed away from your home, not back into it.

A final word about ORGs

ORGs are a critical part of your sewerage system, and as such should not be altered by the homeowner without checking with a licensed plumber, or the authorities.

Does your ORG pass with flying colours? If not, talk to us today about converting your old gully trap into a fully-operation ORG.

In the event of a blocked sewer, you’ll be glad you did!

Grease is the word

Do you remember the funny scene from the movie Stuart Little 2 where the plumber, trying to retrieve Mrs Little’s diamond ring from the kitchen sink drain pipe, comments “You people sure like your meatloaf”?
How did he know that? It’s because the walls of the drain pipe were coated in a layer of cooking grease. As Stuart himself put it, “There’s a lot of slimy stuff down there.”
Where does this slimy stuff come from?
Grease enters sewer pipes from household drains.
When food scraps, cooking fats, oils and grease are washed down the drain, they tend to collect and stick to household plumbing and sewer pipes.
Over time, it can build up, harden into a plug, and block an entire pipe, causing blocked drains and sewer pipe overflows and backups.
Blocked pipes can cause major problems such as:

  • Raw sewage backing up into your home or your neighbour’s home
  • Expensive and unpleasant clean-up that, often, you must pay for
  • Raw sewage overflowing into gardens, parks, and streets
  • Potential contact with disease-causing organisms from the sewage overflow

Fats, oils and greases
Fats, oils and greases (FOGs) are expected by-products of food preparation, whether on a large scale as found in the food industry, or the incidental amounts caused by residential cooking.
FOGs from cooking should NEVER be put down any drain. This includes meat fats, lard, oil, shortening, butter, margarine, food scraps, baking goods, sauces, and dairy products.
Manufacturers of some detergents claim that their products dissolve grease, but domestic detergents are simply not powerful enough to clear pipes. Instead the detergent may pass the grease down the pipeline and cause problems elsewhere.
Even regular drain cleaning will not remove the FOGs from blocked pipes. They need to be emulsified to effectively clear pipes.

What can I do?

  • Scrape grease and food scraps into a can or the directly into the rubbish bin.
  • Whenever you have a greasy pan to wash, wipe it out first (while it’s still warm, not hot) with newspaper or paper towel.
  • Put baskets/strainers in sink drains to catch food scraps and other solids, and then empty them in the bin.
  • Encourage your friends and neighbours to keep their sewer clean by keeping grease out of drains.
  • Have your grease trap cleaned and inspected regularly by a by a licensed service provider.

If my pipes are already blocked, what then?
Grease Release is a product that can be applied to blocked drains using a high-pressure water jetter. The Grease Release penetrates the FOGs, breaking them down into small particles that will not re-solidify. It also coats the pipelines with a FOGs repelling barrier to minimise future build up.
At Longbeach Plumbing we recommend a yearly maintenance program to prevent untimely blocked pipes.
Click here to learn more about Grease Release.

Part two Longbeach Plumbing talking about about tree roots.

Other types of roots
The roots, or parts of roots, of many plant species have become specialised to serve many adaptive purposes besides the two primary functions that fine and coarse roots have.
Here are just a few different types!

Adventitious roots arise out-of-sequence from the more usual root formation of branches of a primary root, and instead originate from the stem, branches, leaves, or old woody roots. In some conifers adventitious roots can form the largest part of the root system. You won’t find these in your pipes!
Aerating roots rise above the ground and even above water in the case of mangrove swamps. Again, we don’t come across these in suburban Melbourne.
Aerial roots grow entirely above the ground, such as in ivy. They function as prop or anchor roots. One to look out for.
Contractile roots form bulbs or corms. Examples of plants that have contractile roots are hyacinths and lilies.
Haustorial roots rare roots of parasitic plants that can absorb water and nutrients from another plant, such as in mistletoe. Look up to find these in your tree canopy.

Propagative roots are roots that form adventitious buds that develop into aboveground shoots, termed suckers, which form new plants.
Stilt roots are amazing adventitious support roots, common among mangroves. They grow down from lateral branches, branching in the soil.
Storage roots are modified for storage of food or water. Carrots and beets are examples of these.
Structural roots are large roots that have undergone considerable secondary thickening and provide mechanical support to woody plants and trees.
Surface roots are our main trouble makers when it comes to blocked pipes. They proliferate close below the soil surface, exploiting water and easily available nutrients. Where conditions are close to optimum in the surface layers of soil, the growth of surface roots is encouraged and they commonly become the dominant roots.
Tuberous roots are a type of storage root, but with tuberous roots only a portion of the root swells. A sweet potato is a good example of this. You’re more likely to find these on your dinner plate than in your pipes!
Why roots invade pipes
When a seed germinates, it adds one cell at a time toward the best environment from which it might extract nutrients and moisture. The growing point of the root most easily through loosely cultivated soil and because the most common practice to lay pipes is by open trench, there’s usually plenty of back-filled soil lying around.
Another reason that roots find their way into pipes is because of vapour leaks. Because the water flowing through the pipe is warmer than water flowing through the soil, condensation appears on the crown of the pipe. As the warm moisture from the sewer pipe evaporates up through the soil, the vapours offer an excellent trail for the root to follow. If even a single vapour leak exists in the pipe, the root concentrates its efforts at that point.
In addition, since some pipe joint compounds are made of nutrient material, the root may entirely girdle the joint before entering the pipe. Once inside the pipe, the root takes on the appearance of either a “veil” or a “tail” type structure. If flows in the pipe are fairly constant, the root mass hangs down like a veil to the normal flow level where they accumulate deposits of grease, slime and other debris.

The low-down on roots At Long Beach Plum…

The low-down on roots
At Long Beach Plumbing, we spend a lot of time talking about tree roots. Adventitious roots, contractile roots, structural roots − you name a type of root and we’ve got something to say about it.
That’s because roots are the most common cause of pipe blockages; something else we know a fair bit about. The potential of tree roots to inhibit flow within your pipes, create blockages and damage can’t be underestimated.
Roots do have a vital role to play in your garden, of course. Without roots, there would be no foliage as roots provide your plants with a secure supply of nutrients and water as well as anchorage and support.
We thought you might be interested in knowing a little bit more about these amazingly clever, yet potentially destructive, organisms.
Root architecture
The pattern of development of a root system is termed root architecture. The architecture of a root system can be considered in a similar way to above-ground architecture of a plant in terms of the size, branching and distribution of the component parts.
There are two types of roots which are commonly found in suburban gardens around Melbourne: fine roots and coarse roots.
Fine root are primary roots (usually less than 2 mm diameter) that have the function of water and nutrient uptake. They are often heavily branched and support fungi. These roots may be short lived, but are replaced by the plant in an ongoing process of root ‘turnover’.
Coarse roots are roots that have undergone secondary thickening and have a woody structure. These roots have some ability to absorb water and nutrients, but their main function is transport and to provide a structure to connect the smaller diameter, fine roots to the rest of the plant.
Having a balanced architecture allows fine roots to exploit soil efficiently around a plant and the plastic nature of root growth allows the plant to then concentrate its resources where nutrients and water are more easily available. A balanced coarse root architecture, with roots distributed relatively evenly around the stem base, is necessary to provide support to larger plants and trees.
Tree roots normally grow outward to about three times the branch spread. Roots on one side of a tree normally supply the foliage on that same side of the tree. Thus when roots on one side of a tree are injured, the branches and leaves on that same side of the tree may die or wilt.
Root depths
The distribution of vascular plant roots within soil depends on plant form, the spatial and temporal availability of water and nutrients, and the physical properties of the soil. The deepest roots are generally found in deserts and temperate coniferous forests; the shallowest in tundra, boreal forest and temperate grasslands.
Some roots can grow as deep as the tree is high but the majority of roots from most plants are found relatively close to the surface where nutrient availability and aeration are more favourable for growth. Rooting depth may be physically restricted by rock or compacted soil close below the surface, or by sewer pipes.

Sewer Pipe Cleaning prevents blockages f…

Sewer Pipe Cleaning prevents blockages from occurring, such blockages being a leading cause of pipe damage. Longbeach Plumbing’s licensed professionals conduct CCTV drain camera inspections to determine the condition of a pipe and ascertain whether sewer pipe cleaning is necessary.