An outside surface drain at the Cottage is no longer used by the kitchen (presumably that's what it is located here for - bottom right corner of this picture). The previous owners had rigged up a water-butt, in to which all the rain from the rear half of the property ran... and over spilled on to the floor and down the drain. This is really bad, because the drain goes in to a septic tank and we don't really want that backing up with rain water. So, whilst I was tending the general area I decided to see if the clay/ceramic drain surround, which was cracked, was repairable.
After a little digging (maybe 2cm) I discovered an unexpected horror - the drain pipe itself was just under the surface, and broken.
You can see that the top is completely caved in here, but worse still, a look inside the hole revealed that the drain was cracked all the way through, and the rainwater had been given ample opportunity to spill in to the surrounding soil.
I decided to dig out the drain and see where it went, and how badly it was cracked.
Unfortunately, the drain trap itself was completely smashed and useless. And the first section of pipe was cracked in multiple places. A case of being too shallow and under too much foot traffic maybe?
The way to "repair" old clay pipes is to replace them. So I set about very, very slowly cutting through the old pipe with a stone-grinding disc on an angle-grinder. A reciprocating saw and hacksaw didn't even touch it, so as much as i hate angle-grinders, it was the only way.
You can get a rubber collar which converts the diameter of old clay pipes (136mm) to new pvc (110mm). Jubillee clips and a bit of GT85 get it on smoothly and hold it secure.
A new section of PVC pipe and drain trap in place and tested using a hosepipe for leaks. No leaks, so good to fill the hole back up.
I wanted to leave it as easily accessible for future works, and protected from traffic above, so bridged over the collar and tip of the clay pipe using bricks and a concrete lintel which were excavated from the hole.
The rest of the hole was then filled with pea shingle and tamped down, making sure that the new pipe was supported underneath. Rather than being quite so shallow, the new pipe is at a depth of around 4-inches at its shallowest point.