Water and Plumbing Series – Part 1
I grew up in a modest house located in a very small town. The population of the town is roughly the same as how many people we have living inside this Condominium tower. The tallest building in the town was no larger than three stories high.
I remember my Mother constantly telling my brother and I, “scrape your plates into the garbage, rinse them in hot water and put them in the sink to be washed”. She was adamant that we be extremely careful about food stuffs in and around the drain of the sink, because she didn’t want anything to go down it. To be honest, as a kid with very little patience for rules, I didn’t understand what all the fuss was about.
Flash forward to my young adult years - I moved to Toronto to go to college and I lived in a mid-sized apartment complex. The notion of community living was very new to me and it wasn’t exactly easy for me to get used to it. You see, in my small town inside that modest house, if the drain in the sink became clogged, there was a very short distance between the sink, the drain pipe and the septic tank. All you needed was a strong drain cleaner or a quick snake and the clog would easily disperse.
In an apartment complex or condominium, there is a lot of pipe that extends not just to your sink but the sinks of those above and below you. One of my neighbors in the apartment complex decided to dump a very large amount of used oil from a deep fryer down their sink. Sure, they ran hot water and it seemed to go down without a struggle… out of sight and out of mind. I came home to water all over my floor, and I wasn’t the only one because the kitchen line had backed up, affecting 12 units. All I could think of at the time was my mother telling us to be very careful and to not put anything down the drain. It made sense to me during the backup; something that seemed insignificant now had caused a lot of grief.
Recently, we had a kitchen line back up here at Emerald City One and it has caused a good deal of damage. I am writing from personal experience because my Superintendents’ was affected (twice now!). The unit that flooded due to the back up is situated directly above me.
Drain pipes are designed to carry water, or at the very least, water-based liquids. Although it seems that other things can manage to be pushed down the drain and disappear without a trace, it does not mean that the solids or oiled based waste that you flush down the drain make it to where the pipe exits without getting stuck. Sure, it might take awhile for the pipe to be completely blocked (it could even take years), but when it does it can cause a backup, resulting in flooding and water damage.
So, at the risk of sounding exactly like my Mother, please be careful. Don’t put anything solid or any kind of oil down the sink.
Here are a few suggestions:
There are catch basins that sit in the drain and collect solids. You may visit the Security Desk any time as of May 2, 2018, to receive yours (one per unit).
If you feel like perhaps the sink is not draining properly, purchase some drain cleaner and help keep the line clear to prevent future problems from arising.
It is also a good idea (see Tool Tip #4 on the blog for more information) to keep a wet vacuum handy for easy clean up in case water gets onto the floor.
If you have any (work-related) questions or concerns, you are welcome to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can also follow us on twitter: @Ec1Super
• Douglas Carney, EC1 Superintendent