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Sundial Cottage, Shenstone, Lichfield

All the events in this blog are true events that have happened over 30 years of business and experience in all types of underground drainage works.

Flooding cellar, flooding basement, saturation, flooded garden, rainwater flooded car park rainwater flooded garage, fusty smell, damp smell, horrible smell, rotten egg type smell, smells like rotten eggs, smells like stagnant water.

We had an emergency phone call over 12 years ago now from the owner of a well known Bowling Alley and Leisure Complex. The building had suffered from major flooding and he seemed to think it was to do with the underground drainage system. I went over there to meet the owner and could clearly see there was a level of water all over the specialist flooring that bowling alleys have. I’m sure a lot of you reading this that have been bowling know that you have to change your footwear to a soft pair provided by the bowling alley purely to protect the floor. This particular floor was underwater and the owner wanted answers pretty quickly as to why. I asked for as much information as possible and was told that the water flooded underneath the doors through airbricks anywhere it could get in basically, following a major flood from a car park.  When they had experienced heavy rain or flash flooding, we carried out major CCTV camera surveys to the existing stormwater underground drainage system whereas the system wasn’t perfect we had to take into consideration the fact that it was nearly 100 years old. This was quite a big site so it took us some time to survey and sonic detect the individual network of pipes.  We discovered that all of the pipes go to one large pipe owned by the local authority and nothing was really getting past that. After further investigation, we had no alternative but to excavate to expose this extremely large pipe. Once this was auctioned, we could clearly see what the blockage was.  It was a 10-meter length mass of tree root. This root was so intense that we had to tie a chain around it and pull it out using a JCB  (see http://www.wicklen.co.uk/gallery/) following the use of all our specialist drainage equipment  we worked out that all of the rain water was going into the drains from the building and car park but could not get past this root, so it all backed up and eventually flooded inside the building.

Upon explaining everything to the owner, he said some of the staff had mentioned that on some occasions following rain there was a musty smell even like rotten eggs in certain parts of the building so this would be coming from the rainwater not being able to get away quickly enough and unfortunately, it would only be a matter of time before it flooded. All these works were repaired and areas made good to prevent or eliminate any future growth of root. Several sections of the old drain from the building were either replaced or structurally relined purely as a precautionary measure. In addition to this story the, Insurance Company for the building insisted on having a defence system around the building so the installation of Industrial surface gullies were installed all the way around the property.

we regularly go back to the building following recommendations from ourselves just to check everything is working fine and email the owner so he can keep it on record, in fact, we were only there last week and following our inspections proved that the system and all our works are working perfectly.

Flooding cellar, flooding basement, saturation, flooded garden, rainwater flooded car park rainwater flooded garage, fusty smell, damp smell, horrible smell, rotten egg type smell, smells like rotten eggs, smells like stagnant water .

We had an emergency phone call over 12 years ago now from the owner of a well known Bowling Alley and Leisure Complex. The building had suffered from major flooding and he seemed to think it was to do with the underground drainage system. I went over there to meet the owner and could clearly see there was a level of water all over the specialist flooring that bowling alleys have. I’m sure a lot of you reading this that have been bowling know that you have to change your foot wear to a soft pair provided by the bowling alley purely to protect the floor. This particular floor was under water and the owner wanted answers pretty quickly as to why. I asked for as much information as possible and was told that the water flooded underneath the doors through airbricks anywhere it could get in basically , following a major flood from a car park.  When they had experienced heavy rain or flash flooding, we carried out major CCTV camera surveys to the exisitng storm water underground drainage system where as the system wasn’t perfect we had to take in to consideration the fact that it was nearly 100 years old. This was quite a big site so it took us some time to survey and sonic detect the individual network of pipes.  We discovered that all of the pipes go to one large pipe owned by the local authority and nothing was really getting past that. After further investigation, we had no alternative  but to excavate to expose this extremely large pipe.Once this was auctioned, we could clearly see what the blockage was.  It was a 10 meter length mass of tree
root. This root was so intense that we had to tie a chain around it and pull it out using a JCB  (see http://www.wicklen.co.uk/gallery/) following the use of all our specialist drainage equipment  we worked out that all of the rain water was going into the drains from the building and car park but
could not get past this root, so it all backed up and eventually flooded inside the building.

Upon explaining everything to the owner, he said some of the staff had mentioned that on some occasions following rain there was a musty smell even like rotten eggs in certain parts of the building so this would be coming from the rain water not being able to get away quickly enough and unfortunately, it would only be a matter of time before it flooded. All these works were repaired and areas made good to prevent or eliminate any future growth of root. Several sections of the old drain from the building were either replaced or structurally relined purely as a precautionery measure. In addition to this story the, Insurance Company for the building insisted on having a defence system around the building so the installation of Industrial surface gullies were installed all the way around the property. we regularly go back to the building following recommendations from ourselves just to check everything is working fine and e mail the owner so he can keep it on record, in fact we were only there last week and following our inspections proved that the system and all our works are working perfectly.

We  always say drains are boring smelly things until they go wrong. But it is not always drains that take your toilet waste which are referred to as foul or kitchen sink which is referred to as waste water or grey water rain water drains which are sometimes referred to as storm water drains can create havoc as well.  I got a call many years ago from an irate lady asking me if I could go over to her business premises which I did. This lady had a busy hair dressing salon which was in quite an old building with a cellar. The lady explained to me that this cellar had been empty for sometime
and she thought it would be a good idea to clean it up and put sun beds in there. I did say it was many years ago.  

It turned out great, customers had their hair done together with a tan and would walk out of the saloon looking  a million dollars. I always try and get as much information as I can to try and form a process of elimination. She explained to me that some of the customers had mentioned a damp or fusty smell on occasion when they used the sun beds but this smell was about to get a whole lot worse, which it did.  She had opened up Monday morning to a flooded cellar hence why she called me in a state of panic.


Again, by using our specialist camera and sonic detection equipment, we surveyed the rain water drain above the cellar and established there were lots of circumferential cracks and then a section where the system had just collapsed. So, the drains were leaking for quite some time through the cracks which would allow the water to start its journey towards the cellar. This would cause the sub soil to be constantly saturated resulting in a fusty smell. A damp thick smell in the cellar, contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t rain everyday so there would be no water going into these defective drains
so the smell would eventually go. Lo and behold, a heavy down pour, the water gushed down and flooded the cellar. I almost knew this before I even set up the cameras just based on many years of experience. On this occasion there was no alternative but to put a new drain water drainage system in which we did and the hairdresser business is still there to this day with the same owner.

Rain water drains have no limits of creating havoc, usually it’s house business premises but sometimes it can be garages that flood water going under the garage door, it can be car parks that flood but this blog is about a garden flooding. I’m sure you are thinking its only a garden, it’ll do the plants good but this particular garden I am going to tell your about belonged to a retired chap who owned several well known garden centres and when I got to his place, he showed me around this beautiful large garden and he had created 3 different themes, a Japanese section complete with a giant.


Koi Carp fish pond then the next section was typically English country garden and then the third section was like a sun area.  It really was a fantastic garden and you could see so much time and effort had gone in to it. However, the plain fact was it flooded like always. I gathered as much information as I could from him and carried out a suvey of the under ground drainage system. Their were a few defects but I wasn’t entirely convinced that these were causing the saturation, so I carried out a visual inspection. I walked around the front up the road and down the road returned to the rear garden  trying to put this puzzle together. I had established there was a slop from the road down the drive and the rear and there were steps to several areas of the garden. I, therefore, concluded was there was a rise in the water table so would rise and literaly flood the garden. The water simply had nowhere to go so I worked out recommendations for him and believe you me, these recommendations were not pleasant reading. But i thought, here goes, he doesn’t want a flooded garden and the only way to stop it was to excavate the 3 beautiful sections and install a land drain French drain. 

Today we take photographs of every job so we have always got a before and after and quite a lot we use to show new customers. Go onto our web site, it really is quite easy these days with camera phones, but years ago when i did this job you did have today’s technology so i thought before I start it I will get the old Kodak camera out and take photos of all the sections we have got to excavate and removing  shrubs flowers to just know were they will all have to be replanted. Anyway, all the works were done the customer was pretty much old school and there was no alternative and simply let us get on with it. We had Micro diggers in there, turf cutters, all our specialist equipment and we installed a complete land drain system then came the task of putting everything back together again. When we had finished everywere, the customer said I want to congratulate you on your attention to detail, it really is fantastic i have just got one comment , ‘the Rhodedendrum schrub goes over there not where you have planted it’, so I was a bit miffed at this so I got the photos out and showed him we had put the Rhodedendrum bush exactly were it had been which the photograph proved  the customer said I have lived here for over 30  years and I always thought it went there sorry about that. I often think that that job was the start of me taking photographs of every project we carry out. Incidentally,  a few years later i found out the customer had sadly passed away when I bumped into his son but he did mention he had carried on enjoying his garden as it never flooded again.

We always say drains are boring smelly things until they go wrong. But it does not always drain that take your toilet waste which is referred to as foul or kitchen sink which is referred to as wastewater or greywater rainwater drains which are sometimes referred to as stormwater drains can create havoc as well.  I got a call many years ago from an irate lady asking me if I could go over to her business premises which I did. This lady had a busy hairdressing salon which was in quite an old building with a cellar. The lady explained to me that this cellar had been empty for some time and she thought it would be a good idea to clean it up and put sunbeds in there. I did say it was many years ago.

It turned out great,customers had their hair done together with a tan and would walk out of the salon looking a million dollars. I always try and get as much information as I can to try and form a process of elimination. She explained to me that some of the customers had mentioned a damp or fusty smell on occasion when they used the sunbeds but this smell was about to get a whole lot worse, which it did. 

She had opened up Monday morning to a flooded cellar hence why she called me in a state of panic. Again, by using our specialist camera and sonic detection equipment, we surveyed the rainwater drain above the cellar and established there were lots of circumferential cracks and then a section where the system had just collapsed. So, the drains were leaking for quite some time through the cracks which would allow the water to start its journey towards the cellar. This would cause the subsoil to be constantly saturated resulting in a fusty smell. A damp thick smell in the cellar, contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t rain every day so there would be no water going into these defective drains so the smell would eventually go. Lo and behold, a heavy downpour, the water gushed down and flooded the cellar. I almost knew this before I even set up the cameras just based on many years of experience. On this occasion, there was no alternative but to put a new drain water drainage system in which we did and the hairdresser
business is still there to this day with the same owner.

Rainwater drains have no limits of creating havoc, usually, it’s house business premises but sometimes it can be garages that floodwater going under the garage door, it can be car parks that flood but this blog is about a garden flooding. I’m sure you are thinking its only a garden, it’ll do the plants well but this particular garden I am going to tell your about belonged to a retired chap who owned several well-known garden centers and when I got to his place, he showed me around this beautiful large garden and he had created 3 different themes, a Japanese section complete with a giant Koi Carp fish pond then the next section was typically English country garden and then the third section was like a sun area.  It really was a fantastic garden and you could see so much time and effort had gone into it. However, the plain fact was it flooded like always. I gathered as much information as I could from him and carried out a survey of the underground drainage system. There were a few defects but I wasn’t entirely convinced that these were causing the saturation, so I carried out a visual inspection. I walked around the front up the road and down the road returned to the rear garden trying to put this puzzle together. I had established there was a slop from the road down the drive and the rear and there were steps to several areas of the garden. I, therefore, concluded was there was a rise in the water table so would rise and literally flood the garden. The water simply had nowhere to go so I worked out recommendations for him and believe you me, these recommendations were not pleasant reading. But I thought, here goes, he doesn’t
want a flooded garden and the only way to stop it was to excavate the 3
beautiful sections and install a land drain French drain. 

Today we take photographs of every job so we have always got a before and after
and quite a lot we use to show new customers. Go onto our web
the site, it really is quite easy these days with camera phones, but years
ago when I did this job you did have today’s technology so I thought before I start it I will get the old Kodak camera out and take photos of all the
sections we have got to excavate and removing  shrubs flowers to just know were they will all have to be replanted. Anyway, all the works were done the customer was pretty much old school and there was no alternative and simply let us get on with it. We had Micro diggers in there, turf cutters, all our specialist equipment and we installed a complete land drain system then came to the task of putting everything back together again. When we had finished everywhere, the the customer said I want to congratulate you on your attention to detail, it really is fantastic I have just got one comment, ‘the Rhodedendrum schrub goes over there not where you have planted it’, so i was a bit miffed at this so I got the photos out and showed him we had
put the Rhodedendrum bush exactly were it had been which the photograph proved  the customer said I have lived here for over 30  years and I always thought it went there sorry about that. I often think that that
the job was the start of me taking photographs of every project we carry
out. Incidentally,  a few years later I found out the the customer had sadly passed away when I bumped into his son but he did mention he had carried on enjoying his garden as it never flooded again.

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