Drainage 1930s

11 Sep 2014
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United Kingdom
I have dug my drive up and am trying to work out where the rain water runs? The foul waste all runs to my man hole but I cannot find where the rain water runs as the gully traps are blocked and have wet areas. It's a 1930s house. All the drain pipes are clay. Near the man hole I found a length of 1 meter clay pipe that didnt lead anywhere? Someone mentioned it could have been a vent pipe? I take it they didnt use soakaways in 1930?


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is that clay gulley somewhat below the level of the paving, or does the concrete around it appear to be patched or repaired? What about your other gullies?
I thought most old houses had a shared system. Ours certainly does - the rainwater gully went to the sewer.
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Hi Ash, soakaways we’re very much used in the building of properties in the 1930s . However section 24 sewerage law for properties built before October 1937 might help you.Is your property taking a neighbours surface water or foul waste through your drainage system ? If so can you send a photo of the point of connection to your property. This will be the roofline or the manholes.
Hi the gullet is below as I have dug down for a drive to be fitted. There is concrete around it as I guess that was to protect the clay pipe and gullet.
My house is detached J Allround, its interesting what you put as whilst digging to fit fence posts i found a clay drain pipe that went from my drive to his. I found this odd. I asked my neighbour but he has his drive done years back and could see all his drain pipes run over to the oppersit side from my drive.
I have run the hose down the gulley and the water is not running to the man hole?
It’s quite possible there is evidence of section 24 one way or the other it’s good for one of you. The gully you have run the water down is that the one you suspect to be a soakaway.
Tbh I am not sure. I didnt even know they did soakaways on 1930 propertys until today. So all I can do is dig and trace the pipes?
It may well have had a separate rainwater drain, either to a soakaway or a nearby pond or ditch. IIRC in areas I've lived though, 1930's have been combined drain.

But my point about the clay gulley is that they are (almost) invariably cracked, broken and leaking. When this happens, over time the ground around the gulley is washed away and it sinks, so the top of the gulley is lower than the original ground level, and any concrete or paving is cracked and sunken and/or repaired and/or patched.

When this happens the only solution is to dig it out and renew in modern plastic. While you are digging you can follow the old clay pipes (they are probably also broken and leaking, mostly at the joints) so you will find out where they go.

It is not complicated work, and not unpleasant in summer.

There are lots of similar jobs on here, many with photos, if you "search" "clay gulley"

here, for example
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Good point JohnD. Depending where you are in the country the systems are different, United utilities are combined and take all the waste water to sewerage plants to recycle. Severn Trent water have mainly separated foul run at the rear of properties and surface water that run at the front. I would think in Surrey it’s Thames water? . However by finding out if your property is section 24 then the responsibility of the drainage is that of the water company and could save you much time and money. Just a suggestion.
After further digging .... the 2 gulleys lead into my neighbours drive. He has now told me that they join with his and run into his man hole or a soakaway( he is v old so didnt remember when inasked him before) Like you have noted mine are damaged and cracked. (What worrys me now though is my foul waste pipes that are much lower could have collapsed ‍♂️.
I take it the best thing for me to do is run new plastic pipe and gulleys to my man hole?
You only need a gully and short length of pipe. You can join to the clay with an AC4000

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