Lewis Maclean - February 2020


Rain, Rain, Go Away


If I told you rain was in the forecast, you might say, “What else is new?” All over the lower mainland, the new year has been defined by rainfall, mixed with a little snow here and there. While rain in the forecast isn’t anything new, we are getting a lot of it, which can mean drainage issues for some people. And that’s what we’re talking about this month: drainage! I bring it up because it seems we’ve been getting more calls about drainage issues lately. We’re clearing out more drains, replacing pipes, and even replacing entire sewer mains. In fact, at the time of writing, we’re getting ready to replace an entire sewer main for a customer. Drainage issues are caused by all sorts of things, but heavy rain can be an especially major burden on drain and sewer systems. Sometimes it’s up to the city or municipality to take care of the problem, but sometimes it’s up to the homeowner, especially when the issue is on their property. This is why it’s so important to take care of your plumbing and drainage system. If there’s an issue in the line and it needs to be dug out of the ground or replaced, it can be very costly to take care of. Not to mention that it’s inconvenient, because no one likes to see their property torn up. Another issue we see year after year has to do with both old and new trees. It’s not uncommon for developers and landscapers to use fast-growing trees. This allows them to fill a property with good shade within a couple years, rather than four or five. Plus, fast-growing trees add to the curb appeal for homeowners interested in selling their homes. However, fast-growing trees like hybrid poplar, weeping willow, or birch trees come with a trade-off.

While they grow fast and look great, their root systems grow just as quickly, and they can cause major headaches later on. It’s because many people don’t know where their water or sewer pipes run under their property, and they don’t always check before planting. Then, as the trees grow, their roots wrap around nearby pipes (and even those that aren’t near the tree). Roots can damage pipes and cause major backups. The other problem is older growth. A tree may have been planted away from pipes when the house was built, but over time, its root system made its way over to the pipes. Now the roots can be gumming up the system and causing slow draining or constant clogs. We get calls from people who can’t figure out why their drains aren’t clearing as fast as they used to, or they don’t understand why they’re getting more clogs than before. They may try everything from using drain cleaner to snaking out the drain with no luck. When we check it out, we often find roots blocking the drainage pipe. Unfortunately, this is often when we have to dig up the property to get to the pipe and clear out the root. While there isn’t much that can be done about older growth, homeowners can replace their pipes preemptively. If you’re thinking about planting new trees, make sure they’re planted well away from your water and sewer lines. Don’t give yourself (or any future homeowners) that kind of headache. And while we’re on the topic of drainage, always be aware of what you’re putting down the drain. While many of us have a garburator attached to the kitchen sink, you should use it sparingly. You never want to scrape leftovers into your sink. It’s meant for smaller particles. All that food and gunk can lead to buildup in your pipes, which can lead to slow draining and clogs over time. The same thing goes for oils and fats, like bacon grease. When grease is poured down the drain, it starts to cool and solidify. Over time, you can end up with a major clog. If you experience slow drainage, or all this rainfall is leaving huge puddles on or around your property, you may have drainage issues that need to be addressed. Don’t wait to call until after it becomes a headache. We’re always standing by the phone 24/7 ready to take your calls for any of your drainage, heating, cooling, or plumbing needs.

1 604-532-9625 • –Tyler Dillon


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