I Found an Alien in My Pipe

There is one thing the Portuguese appear to have difficulty working with. Length – like this – L E N G T H as in long. But bless them for their attempts. So if it’s electric cables or pipes, you’re going to have problems. This leads me onto the question, what is the connection between a bucket of shit, soft toe nails, plant roots and pipe or tube and hair? It equals a blockage.

I find it so much easier to cut my toe nails after having a shower and with there being a small amount of warm water swishing around my little tootsie, it’s a doddle. But then when the water level start to rise more and more with each and every shower, it become evident that there is a waste flow problem.

A short time after I purchase my Portuguese property, I had a few drainage problems from the kitchen sink and it needed to be plunged on a regular basis. Eventually, the plunger failed to clear the blockage so I tried a long thin flexible rod and this cleared the problem to some extent, but became jammed due to the kinks in the pipe. As this happened I decided to investigate further and the only other place to look, was at the drain outside.

You would think drain inspection would be simple, just lift the lid and inspect within. Not so as the builder had incorporated a concrete cover adhered to bricks supporting it. The bricks were in turn, fixed to the drain sides. Not clever and even less so when the marble walkway was fixed tight against the concrete cover making lifting it, impossible. What could have been a simple job, should a proper removable metal style cover been incorporated, became a major task. 

With the cover being made to a non standard size, it was not possible to just break it and then replace with new. It became necessary to break a few of the surrounding marble slabs so that I could leaver up the cover. Eventually I did so and cleared the drain. All worked well after much work. That was then, now is now.

Interior of Drain

A year on, and there is again, drainage problems. The plunger failed to rectify the problem and opening the interior inspection trap, revealed that somewhere between the trap and the outside, there was a partial blockage. Having easier access to the exterior drain I lift the still concrete cover and discover there is a heap of crap in there. Equipped with a gas mask, a few garden tools and a hose I cleared the shitty stuff out. Immediately after, I felt confident that the drain was clear so again ran the bath tap only to find, nope, it was still not running freely. A closer inspection outside revealed that some plant roots had started to creep into the pipe and I managed to remove them. Again I go inside and try the tap. The water is still not magically disappearing.

The Alien Lives in the Pipe

It's Fixed - It's Killed

This latest problem is becoming a mystery. What else could be blocking the pipe. Next, I forced flexible plastic conduit through the drain pipe from within and it managed to make its way to the outside part. Okay, that should have fixed it. No, it was still not working correctly. So, outside again and this time on my hand and knees with glasses on for a very, very close inspection. Ah, I see the problem. A little bit of plant root is there. I pull on this inoffensive piece of root and it started to come out and out and out and out some more.

It transpired that the blockage was due to a metre long (almost) piece of root that had grown within the pipe and resided there like some alien creature more appropriate to the film of the same name. Now, I’m feeling very confident that the blockage is clear so do another test. Presto, it works, the water is running away faster than an Olympic athlete. Ain’t I brilliant at DIY and satisfied as a customer of myself.

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