What does a drainage engineer do?

Drainage engineer: a profile

A drainage engineer is responsible for designing systems that move water or sewage from one place to another, as safely and efficiently as possible, obeying any required legislations or guidelines.

Some of their work will involve visiting sites to scope projects, as well as designing and overseeing the installation of systems. Other work is related to troubleshooting problems or identifying and repairing any faults in a system.

Tasks may include site visits, inspections, surveys, permissions, and proposals.

Why are drainage engineers important?

We all need clean water and safe sanitation. The work drainage engineers do is vital in keeping our water supply flowing, removing and treating sewage, preventing flooding, and conserving water resources.  

A day in the life of a drainage engineer

There is no, one typical day as the tasks set will vary from client to client. However, it could involve:

  • Visiting sites to advise on what system is needed or troubleshoot problems.
  • Inspecting drains for faults and damage.
  • Investigating problems to determine whether there is a blockage or leak.
  • Surveying drainage systems using CCTV.
  • Repairing and unblocking pipelines.
  • Preparing costs and schedules.
  • Helping clients with Water Authority paperwork.
  • Keeping up to date with changing legislation and codes of practice to ensure compliance
  • Answering technical queries.
  • Visiting the site during construction to make sure the works are completed to specification.
  • Maintenance and repair of drainage pipelines such as sewage and wastewater, as well as septic tanks and sewage pumping stations.

How to become a drainage engineer

There are several routes to becoming a drainage engineer. You could hold a university degree, complete a college course or apprenticeship, or apply directly to an employer if you have relevant experience.

What skills does a drainage engineer need?

There are a variety of useful skills for this job. Problem-solving and thinking on your feet are two of the most important. Other important skills that could be required are:

  • Being practical – the ability to work hands-on and problem solve.
  • Adaptability – flexible thinking and the ability to weigh up different solutions.
  • Communication – being able to explain clearly to a client what the problem is, or how long a repair will take is essential.
  • IT skills – in relation to CCTV surveys and reports.
  • Project Management – paperwork, time management, Water Authority application all require good organisational and administration skills.
  • Drawing – when creating plans or sketches.
  • Physical fitness – some elements of this work can be physical and involve climbing ladders, time spent underground, etc.
  • Plumbing or construction skills.
  • It is also essential that you have a full UK driving licence and have completed your Certificate of Professional Competence.

What qualifications does a drainage engineer need?

According to the Local Heroes campaign, there is no required formal qualification to start a career in drainage engineering. However, there are qualifications that employers may request such as NVQ Level 2 in Plumbing and Heating and a CSCS Card (Construction Skills Certification Scheme). Other recommended ways to prepare include:

  • Enrolling on a NADC-approved course. The training will teach you about drain design, common problems, how to assess and fix a drainage problem, repair techniques, and more.
  • Complete a confined space certification.
  • Gaining experience through plumbing and drainage jobs, using high-pressure jetting equipment, and obtaining your high-pressure water jetting certificate will all stand you in good stead for a role in the profession.
  • You can also complete a New Roads and Street Works Act (NRSWA) training qualification to boost your skillset.

Can I work with Premier Drainage Solutions?

If you’d like to work with us, have questions about how we recruit, or you’re interested in a career in drainage solutions, drop us a line at: [email protected] and we’ll get back to you.

I need help with drainage

If you’re looking for help with public sewer connections, diversions, or adoptable drainage, we can help. Collaborating with us means benefitting from our 40+ years of industry experience and friendly, professional service. We are certified to connect to public sewers and have reached ISO 9001:2015 standards.

Premier Drainage Solutions has the knowledge and experience to fully support your drainage works from project design and planning to sign-off. Our 40+ years of experience means your project runs on budget and on time.

Contact us now, and we’ll be happy to help.

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