Realty Glimpse 40

Danny Rolling
Distribution/Collection Lead Hand

Mark – Danny, how long have you been doing this?

Danny – I’ve been at Aquatera now for about 8 years.

Mark – this is an extra inspection, above and beyond the regular property inspection what is this inspection called?

Danny – This inspection is generally is a CCTV inspection, a lot of people don’t think to get this done before they purchase a home, or whatever they’re doing, whether is property or whatever, generally this gives you a little bit of insight into the service itself and any problems that could be existing in or something that could occur in the near future.

Mark – because something could be wrong with the pipe?

Danny – Absolutely

Mark – so we have some real cool props here, real stuff, stuff you’re actually using, what does it mean to get your pipes scoped then?

Danny -to get your pipe scoped, basically, if you’re a home owner, or you just bought a property, and you’re kind of wondering how the sewer service is, it’s one of those things that it’s out of sight, so it’s out of mind.  Most often when people want to get their service scoped, the reason they’re doing it is just basically for peace of mind.  You never know when you buy a place what could have happened in the past, what’s about to happen with it, and basically, it gives you some insight.  Getting a video kind of tells you a story.

Mark – As opposed to something just written for example.

Danny – exactly – it kind of gives you a look at if there are structural defects in the pipe, if there’s cracks maybe, or maybe a build of of just grease or other products, toys can end up down there, so basically it gives you a good idea of what’s in there and what to expect after you purchase the home.


Mark – So what kind of challenges can occur, so maybe this is good time to introduce us to this [CCTV] machine, because that’s what you’re going to be looking at.

Danny – absolutely – so this gives us a zoomed in video, basically what your pipe looks like, this zooms in to, not feet away, but inches away, so it’s right in front of your face, so you can really have a magnified look at what is going on in the pipe.  At the end of the day, the pipe is only a 4” pipe, so it can be kind of easy to miss something, maybe under water or what not, and this [CCTV] gives you a good self leveling view, it’s colour and it’s all high def as well, so you really get a good idea of what’s in there.

Some of the things that can definitely be a problem in some of these house is, you can end up with cracks in your pipe, you can end up with separations, you can end up with calcium build up over time, or even grease build up.  Grease build up can build up can occur from anything like pouring grease down your drain.  Another problem we can have too is toys end up in [the pipe].  Now it’s not just adults and home owners that need to be aware of what’s going down your sewer line, you have to make your kids aware as well.  They have to know that they can’t be shoving things down there.  If you shove a toy down there, and it can’t possibly make it back to the main, and our tools can’t grab it, you end up grabbing one of these things [a back hoe], and digging a hole.  Now that’s not cheap.  It can end up costing you a lot of money just to get a toy car or a ball out of there that is completely blocking off the house or what’s even worse, if that’s the problem and you end up backing up you entire house, due to a little bouncy ball, well that’s not going to be very good either.

Mark – so you were talking about a 4” pipe, and here is a 4” pipe.

Danny – you bet

Mark – and this is what’s under the ground.  I just always thought that when you flushed a toilet, it just magically disappeared, but it turns out, it actually goes down a pipe.

Danny – so I will run this camera down the pipe, just to give you an indication of what it looks like down there, and to give everyone else a look.




Mark – so I just bought a [brand] new house pretend, so now I’m immune to this,  I don’t need to worry about this, is that right?

Danny – that’s not always the case.  Plastic pipe in these new houses is definitely the least susceptible to root, erosion, and stuff like that, but it really comes down to the quality of the install, and basically the compaction around it.  With the newer homes, you can end up with construction debris down your pipe and end up clogging it off before you even move into the place.  Now most of the time, it’s just a peace of mind thing.  Whether you just bought the house, or you moved in a while ago, or you’re just wondering, it’s just basically a peace of mind for the home owner to get it done, and it lets you know there are no pending issues, or if there is, it gives you chance to plan for the future.  If you see a problem that could be something down the road, but isn’t quite yet, well at least it gives you some time to save up some money and to figure out what you’re going to do.

Mark – At least you know what you’re getting into…


Mark – so you talked about toys, but as long at the blockage happens on your side of the property line, I don’t have to worry about it.  Is that right?  If it happened on my side, that would be expensive, but you’re side, phew!?

Danny – That happens all the time, and in most cases you’re correct, in a city of more than 50,000 people, there are so many houses, and these kinds of things happen all the time.  And you are somewhat correct.  If there’s a problem outside the property line on the city side of things, it has to basically structural, something like a broken pipe, or collapsed, or cracked, or a misalignment caused at initial install, then it’s Aquatera’s problem.  Now if you shoved down hygiene products, toilet paper, toys, any thing you put down there that is not a structural defect, it’s not going to be covered by Aquatera.

Mark – you mentioned earlier grease.

Danny – Grease is definitely one of those things that is caused by the home owner themselves, so is going to have to be one of those things that they’ll have to pay for if they need it removed.  Calcium build up is another one of those things, kind of like grease, but it doesn’t always necessarily come from the home owner.  It can leach in from the ground and start to build up in the pipes as well.  So basically we offer the [repair] service free of charge when it’s on our side, like I said, if it’s structural, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t come out and help all our customers.  If they have problems on their private sides, we’re more than happy to come help them, absolutely.


Mark – one of the questions I  often will ask on behalf of my buyer is “has there ever been flooding”.  The answer to that question doesn’t necessarily mean don’t buy the house, there could have been flooding, but that could have been a structural thing – that could happen any where in town, absolutely anywhere, and if you buy the house this week, next week there could be flooding in there.  Probably not, but obviously those blockages are unknown. 


Mark – people obviously get into their habits.  I had mentioned one earlier, as a half joke, my wife saying don’t pour the grease down [the sink], are there certain habits, or certain ways of living, that maybe can cause issues that [they] don’t even know.

Danny – as a society, moving forward, now-a-days, we’re getting more and more into the saving water kind of thing, we offer many things, from the screw on taps to reduce your water to the little bags that go in your tank to displace water with air, so you’re not flushing so much water, these can actually be a problem when it come down to getting your solids to the main as well because we’re not getting enough water sometimes with these low flow toilets to get it to the main.  So you could be flushing, potentially, just a little bit of water, and say you have a really long sewer service, well we all know that water travels faster than solids, especially on a down hill, so when you’re not flushing not enough water basically, you’re just not getting [the solids] there.  A big thing people do when they do have these low flow toilets is, we will tell them to flush twice, every time they flush.   And that is usually enough to get the debris out, and it is actually a common problem, because there is a lot of services out there that run over 100’ even, and that’s not even including what runs underneath the floor in your house.  It can be actually quite an issue.

Mark – this really depends on what you’re business is in your bathroom.  I don’t know if I should say #1 and #2, but if there is a #2… maybe that low [water flush], the option of two buttons, maybe I don’t want to do that low [water flush], go ahead and send out the big flush.

Danny. And not only that sort of thing, but people will also pour grease and oil down their drain, and they’ll think it’s hot, it’s going to get down there and it’s going to keep going anyway, but that’s not always the case.  Being long service, and it’s underground, these things are cold, so the minute you flush anything down your sink or you’re flushing it down the toilet, as soon as it hits that water or the pipe, generally it’s going to cool off right away, and it’s not going to make it very far before it starts sticking to the walls, and causing a problem.  If you keep doing it, it’s just going to build up and build up until it causes quite a big issue.


Mark – so you bring in the machine (monitor and scope), you’re going down the 4” pipe, and it turns out maybe there is a toy, or something that’s lodged, maybe grease is lodged in there, but something is lodged in that pipe, it’s a big thing to bring out [a back hoe] like this, and clean it all out, so is there another service that I can maybe pay for that you guys provide, that would actually push on it.  You might not do it with the camera.

Danny – Sometimes we can get really lucky, and we can put [the scope] down there and it’s actually strong enough that it can remove the soft blockages, there’s a little piece we can put on the head and it just attaches, it kind of looks like a plastic star, and you can actually push debris down the line with it.  Now if you have a big slug or plug of toilet paper, and it’s just building up, odds are you’re not going to be able to shove a $12,000 camera through it, and just keep ramming and keep going, so what offer in conjunction with this is we have a machine, it’s also made by Rigid, and it’s got a 1” coil on it, now with that 1” coil, it’s basically a big spring is what it is, it uses the torque from the machine to push it and also the tensile strength of the the spring steel itself to get the stuff out of the hole.  Now It comes with several different tools for the end, whether it’s for root cutting, or for grease cutting, or calcium, generally we can get pretty much anything out.  It is a service we offer to everybody who does need it.  You do need a good access.  Every house has a 4” service basically.  Now if you access is only 3”, and you have 4” of full root in your line, and you’ve got to get all those roots out or all that grease, or anything, if your access is only 3”, which is generally, if you don’t have access to the clean out, then you’re taking off the toilet, which gives you 3” only, if you can only get in there with a 3” tool, you’re only getting 3 of 4” cleaned out, which is 75% of what you need to.  So access is everything with this kind of stuff. But generally we can get the problem fixed within a couple hours.


Mark- You just talked about one service you provide, that’s [more] in addition to the scoping.  Is there another service you provide that you might suggest?

Danny – There is a couple other services we do provide, so you want to install an above ground structure, and you don’t want to put in right on top of your sewer line in case you have issues in the future, say you’re putting in an in-ground pool, or drilling fence posts, you don’t want to be driving those fence posts down into your sewer line or into your water line, then you have big issues, you have big money, and everyone is mad at you.  So in this machine it’s self, like I said before, it has a sond in the head, and basically we can pick that up from above ground with a locator that we have, it gives us the depth, and the general basic area of where it is so you can avoid or stagger your posts or your building so that you don’t come into contact with it.  In addition to that, we also offer CCTV services for new buildings, when contractors install new services, commercial buildings, or residential, or whatever it be, they can call us, and actually check the grade of the line, so what we’ll do at the same time is we’ll simulate flow by running water down the pipe, and that give us an indication of if there is any sags or any build up in the pipe.