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SCHOOL’S OUT


Richard Leigh, Group Development Director at Lanes Group plc, discusses how to avoid blockages and drainage disruption in schools.


When a blocked drain occurs in a school, it can cause widespread disruption, especially if the school is forced to close unexpectedly. Unfortunately, drain blockages and problems with wastewater are among the most common reasons for disruption. This affects hundreds of people studying and working in the schools and colleges, not to mention pupils’ parents who must find alternative childcare arrangements.


Some of these problems are unavoidable, but many are preventable, especially drain blockages that are caused by the incorrect disposal of products down sinks and pipes. Cleaners can play a key role in keeping this kind of disruption to a minimum, by being aware of the most up- to-date guidance on what can and cannot be disposed of down the drain.


THE BIGGEST CULPRITS There are two main strands of activity that we deal with at Lanes Group plc when it comes to cleaning-related school blockages. The first is regarding sinks, with many cleaners unaware that wastewater from tasks such as floor cleaning and maintenance should never be disposed of down the sink.


46 | EDUCATIONAL & SCHOOL FACILITIES


Silt and dirt collects in mop buckets and industrial floor cleaners as surfaces are cleaned, building up a residue in the water. If this water is then poured down a sink, it can build up over time to create blockages. Sinks are not designed to handle this kind of waste and should purely be used for water disposal, rather than any kind of solid substance.


Instead, cleaners are advised to dispose of wastewater down an outside drain, or one specifically designed to carry away this kind of water. Schools should, ideally, have effective sluice chambers in designated areas where cleaning staff know they can dispose of all kinds of wastewater in a safe, efficient manner. The cost of installing this kind of facility is minimal and could potentially save the school a great deal of money – and avoid disruption – in the long run.


The second commonest cause of avoidable disruption is abuse in the toilet areas of the schools, where items such as sanitary towels, tampons and hand towels are flushed down the toilets, causing blockages in the pipes. Pupils, who are unaware of the ramifications of doing so, are most typically guilty of this.


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