drain inspection

When to know you need a waste management company to unblock your drain instead of a plumber

Blocked drains can be a homeowner’s worst nightmare. They’re not only a major inconvenience, but if left unaddressed, they can lead to significant and costly damage. You might think calling a plumber is the go-to solution for a blocked drain, but there are times when a waste management company is better equipped to handle the issue.

In this article, we will guide you through the signs that indicate you need the services of a waste management company over a plumber, and explain the differences in services offered by each.

Understanding the Difference Between Plumbers and Waste Management Companies

Before we delve into the signs, let’s understand the basic difference between what a plumber does and what a waste management company offers.

The Role of a Plumber

Plumbers are the professionals you call for the installation, repair, and maintenance of the plumbing systems within a building. This includes pipes, fixtures, and other apparatus required for water distribution and wastewater disposal. When it comes to blockages, plumbers can handle simple drain unblocking that doesn’t involve the main sewer line.

The Role of a Waste Management Company

On the other hand, waste management companies offer a broader range of services beyond fixing the immediate plumbing system. They can manage large-scale and complex drain unblocking, sewer cleaning, and repairs, including dealing with the public sewer system. They have the heavy-duty equipment and expertise required for comprehensive wastewater system management.

West Wales Waste engineers inspecting a drain

Signs You Need a Waste Management Company

Knowing when to call a waste management company instead of a plumber is crucial in effectively addressing your blocked drain issue.

Recurring Blockages

If you’ve had a plumber unblock your drain, but the blockage keeps returning, it might be a sign of a deeper issue within the wastewater system. Waste management companies have the tools and expertise to diagnose and fix problems within the broader sewage system that could be causing recurring blockages.

Multiple Blocked Drains

When several drains in your property are blocked at the same time, it’s a strong indicator that the problem is with the sewer line rather than the individual drains. A waste management company can conduct a comprehensive assessment of the sewer line to pinpoint the problem and unblock your drains.

Foul Odour and Slow Drainage

A persistent foul odour coming from your drains, along with slow drainage, could suggest a blocked sewer line. This is a job for a waste management company, as they have the capacity to clean and unblock the sewer system, not just the individual pipes.

Water Flooding in Your Property

Water or sewage backing up into your property is a clear sign that there’s a significant blockage in the system. This is an emergency situation that requires the immediate attention of a waste management company, which has the necessary equipment to deal with such extensive issues quickly and efficiently.

Signs of Pipe Damage

If there are signs of pipe damage such as ground movement, sinkholes, or visible cracks and fractures in exposed pipes, then it’s time to call a waste management company. They can provide pipe repair services and ensure that the entire wastewater system is functioning correctly.

Benefits of Hiring a Waste Management Company for Drain Unblocking

Comprehensive Services

Waste management companies offer comprehensive services that cover the entire wastewater system, not just the immediate blockage. This ensures a long-term solution to the problem.

Advanced Technology and Equipment

Waste management companies use advanced technology, such as CCTV drain surveys, to accurately diagnose blockages and other issues. They also have the heavy-duty equipment necessary for thorough cleaning and repairs.

Environmental Compliance

Waste management companies are knowledgeable about environmental regulations and can ensure that the methods used for unblocking and cleaning drains comply with local laws.

Preventative Maintenance

Beyond just fixing the immediate problem, waste management companies can offer preventative maintenance services to avoid future blockages and issues with your drains and sewer lines.

When to Still Consider a Plumber

While certain situations clearly call for a waste management company, there are still scenarios in which hiring a plumber is appropriate.

Minor Blockages

For minor blockages that are isolated to one drain, such as a clogged sink or bathtub, a plumber should be able to resolve the issue quickly and efficiently.

Plumbing System Repairs and Installation

A plumber is the specialist you need for repairs confined to your property’s plumbing system, such as fixing leaky faucets or installing new fixtures.

Regular Maintenance

For regular maintenance of your home’s internal plumbing system, a plumber can provide the necessary services to keep everything running smoothly.

Choosing the Right Service Provider

When deciding whether to call a plumber or a waste management company, consider the severity, scope, and recurrence of the problem. A plumber will suffice for simple, one-off blockages. However, a waste management company is your best bet for complex, recurring, or multiple-drain issues.

Choosing a reputable and experienced service provider is essential, regardless of whether you’re hiring a plumber or a waste management company. Look for licensed professionals with good reviews and a track record of solving similar problems to yours.


Understanding when to call a waste management company over a plumber can save you time and money and the headache of recurring drain issues. By recognising the signs and knowing the capabilities of each professional, you can ensure that you’re getting the right help for your blocked drain problem.

Remember, while plumbers are perfect for quick fixes and maintenance within your property, waste management companies are equipped for the more extensive work required when the problem extends beyond your home’s immediate plumbing system. Make the right call, and you’ll have your drains flowing freely in no time.