Blocked Drain Clearing Process

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Blocked Drain Clearing Process In Detail


On arrival we will carry out several assessment processes. 

  • Discuss the blocked drain symptoms and history of drain blockages

  • Visually inspect the blocked drain symptoms you are experiencing

  • Determine the location of your sewer system on your property

  • Locate where your sewer connects to the Sydney Water Sewer Main Line

  • Estimate the location of the blockage within your sewer system

  • Look for suitable cleanout access to your underground sewer line

If suitable access to your drains is available, we will start the drain clearing work. If suitable access is not available or existing access is not suitable further work to access your drains underground may be required.



Once we have gained access to the underground sewer line, we will setup our high-pressure water jet and CCTV drain camera equipment at the point of entry into the sewer line and proceed to clear the blocked drain using high pressure penetrating and flushing nozzles to clear all backed-up waste material to allow for a CCTV drain camera inspection. 

How long this will take will depending on whether we are clearing one line or multiple lines, how many metres of drain we are servicing the design of the sewer system and whether we are dealing with a simple waste blockage, or a more complex tree root blockage.



After the drain has been cleared of all backed-up waste material, we will carry out a CCTV drain inspection of the sewer line to confirm the following.

  • Confirm the drain is clear and if further flushing is needed

  • Determine if the blockage was caused by tree root intrusions

  • Inspect the drain for any faults or damaged sections

If our CCTV drain inspection shows a clear drain with no tree root intrusions our work is finished.

Clearing a waste blockage is a 3 - step process.



If the blockage was caused by tree root intrusions the first 3 steps must be carried out first to prepare the drain for root cutting and removal. Root cutting is performed by visually positioning a tree root cutting nozzle at the point of root entry inside the pipe with the aid of our CCTV drain camera then cutting and removing the tree roots from the drain. We will then carry out a final camera inspection to confirm with you a clear drain. How long it will take to complete the root cutting process will be determined by the individual circumstances of each job and influenced by the following.

  • The length of the tree root affected drain - Are we clearing only 5 metres of drain or are we clearing 50 metres of drain? 

  • The number of tree root entry points - Are we dealing with only 1 or 2 tree root entry points or 20 or 30 tree root entry points?

  • The number of drain lines that need clearing - Are we clearing the main drain or one branch drain from one access point or are we clearing the main drain and multiple branch drains from multiple access points? 

  • The diameter or size of the pipe - Are we clearing only 100mm or 150mm diameter pipes or are we clearing both 100mm and 150mm diameter pipes?

  • The structural condition of the drain - Are we dealing with a drain that is in reasonably good condition with only 1 or 2 defects or a drain that is extensively damaged and failing with multiple defects?  

  • The design of the drainage system - Do we have to negotiate multiple bends and vertical shafts or are we working only inside straight pipes? 

  • The degree of tree root impact - Are we removing a few small light roots from 1 or 2 locations or are we removing extremely heavy multiple root intrusions from 20 or 30 locations? 

  • The species or type of tree - Are we cutting and removing small diameter or soft tree roots or are we cutting and removing large diameter or wiry tree roots?  

Clearing a tree root blockage is a 4 - step process.


Before Root Cutting


After Root Cutting

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water jet sewer drain cleaning sydney nsw


Penetrating and flushing nozzles are designed for clearing backed-up waste material such as sewage, grease, toilet paper and other waste that has been flushed down the drain by penetrating through the blockage and flushing the waste material downstream to the Sydney Water Sewer Main Line and must be used first. If the blockage is only a waste blockage in most cases penetrating, and flushing nozzles are all that is needed to clear the drain. A CCTV camera inspection is then carried out to confirm a clear drain with no other issues.

If the blockage is caused by tree root intrusions penetrating nozzles will create a pathway through the tree roots to enable the waste material to flow to the main sewer line and allow a clear enough drain to carry out a CCTV drain inspection however penetrating and flushing nozzles are not designed to cut and remove tree roots. Once a pathway through the tree roots has been achieved and waste material cleared, a CCTV camera inspection will show us the extent of any tree root problem before root cutting nozzles are used to remove any tree roots growing inside the drain.

blocked drains tree root sydney nsw


Root cutting nozzles are designed for cutting and removing tree root intrusions from the inside of drainage pipes and are used after penetrating and flushing nozzles have created a pathway through the tree roots and flushed away all backed-up waste material. Once the drain has been cleared of all waste material, CCTV camera and root cutting equipment can then be used to cut away and remove any tree roots which will be flushed downstream to the Sydney Water Sewer Main Line.

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Drain location work is not considered an essential part of blocked drain clearing unless we need to find hidden or buried access points to gain entry into the sewer line or for some other essential reason. For waste blockages or regular drain servicing to remove tree root regrowth, location work is normally not required. For tree root blockage's location work is beneficial if the homeowner wants to carry out any drainage repairs or renewals due to damaged pipes, when cleanouts need to be found or installed, or locating buried inspection openings to access another part of the sewer network or sometimes the homeowner just wants to know the location of the issue for curiosity's sake. For whatever reason it is we can supply accurate location, depth, and direction information if requested.

We carry out drain location services for sewer lines and stormwater drains for a variety of reasons for Sydney homeowners.

  • Locating drainage for renovations, extensions, and new pools

  • Locating drains for granny flat connections

  • Drain relocations and alterations

  • Installation of pool backwash gullies

  • Diagnosing and locating damaged or defective drains

  • Locating tree root intrusion points

  • Locating foreign objects flushed down drains 

  • Installing or locating hidden sewer cleanouts

  • Locating buried inspection shafts and openings

  • Locating sewer reflux valves and boundary shafts



CCTV drain inspection video and picture recording is not considered an essential part of blocked drain clearing. For waste blockages or regular drain servicing to remove tree root regrowth recording video of the work is not normally required. For whatever reason, if you require video recording of any CCTV drain inspection we carry out, we will record our work and supply the video recording and pictures on USB flash drive if requested.

cctv drain camera inspection video sydney nsw
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Who Is Responsible For A Blocked Sewer?


The Sydney Water Corporation owns, maintains and is responsible for its own sewer wastewater network (Sewer Main Line). Sydney Water provides homeowners with a point of connection (junction) to Sydney Waters Sewer Main Line for each property. Where your private sewer pipes connect to the Sydney Water Sewer Main Line can be located anywhere on or off your property - In your front yard, back yard, side of house, in your neighbours' property, parkland, reserve, bushland, under the footpath or road or any other public area. The homeowner owns all of their private wastewater pipes and therefore is responsible for any maintenance, drain clearing, repairs or renewals needed to maintain a proper functioning private wastewater system including all internal branch drains under the home and all external main drains that run all the way to and including the point of connection with the Sydney Water Sewer Main Line even if that point of connection is beyond the property owner's land boundaries. If a blockage is anywhere within a private sewer line it is the homeowner's responsibility to contact a Licenced Plumber to clear the blockage in their sewer pipes. If you are not sure if the blockage is in your private sewer pipes or Sydney Waters wastewater network, you can call Sydney Water on 13 20 90 and they will ask you some simple questions to help you identify the location of the blockage. You can follow the link below to Sydney Waters website for more information on wastewater blockages.

If you require more information about our blocked drain clearing process, call us anytime!