A Garchey Refuse Disposal Unit was originally installed in each kitchen sink. The rubbish is washed through special pipe-work in each building to a central chamber. A tanker empties it every few weeks. The Corporation told me many years ago that they had been notified of about 350 flats where the Garchey has been removed, but they believed the true figure was nearer 700. More may have been removed in recent years.
Smells and worse
The garchey can smell. (See? I am a master of understatement.) But after all, it is for disposing of rubbish. It’s just like a toilet – if you don’t flush it or clean it, it smells. If you have had the Garchey removed, what remains of the system may still smell occasionally. This is the result of water getting sucked out of the U-tube which protects your airspace from the air in the building-wide system. The Barbican Estate Office can solve that for you by installing a device. It happened to me many years ago. I had the device installed and I have had no problems whatsoever ever since.
If your garchey has been removed, it should have been capped off properly. This does not mean sealed off – that would lead to blow-backs further down the building. The capping-off leaves a one inch diameter pipe opening to the garchey system beyond your sink’s U-bend.
It’s worth bearing in mind that some gases build up in the building’s garchey system. (If you think of the result of eating a tin of baked beans and then apply that to a 6 to 43 storey building, you’ll get the idea.) So, if pressure builds up in the system, gases can bubble back through the water in the U-bend and leave an unpleasant smell. There’s nothing wrong with your system – you just need to run the tap at least once a day to put fresh water in the U-bend occasionally.
If you put something valuable into the Garchey by mistake, it’s lost for good once the unit has been flushed. But if you notify the Estate Office before the sink is flushed, they may be able to retrieve it.
Even though you own your flat, the Corporation is still responsible for the existing Garchey pipe work.
If the flat is going to be empty for a while, it’s recommended that you insert the Garchey key provided for dismantling the unit into the slots of the tube, (but do not turn it). Taking these steps will reduce the risk of flooding if there’s a blockage somewhere else in the system.
Consent to remove your Garchey
You should get formal consent from the Barbican Estate Office to remove the Garchey. (See also pages on alterations). They will require you to agree that your service charge will remain the same – we all pay for the estate-wide system whether we use it or not.
The Barbican Estate Office would be grateful to receive the system when it’s removed because they can use it for spares. There are recommended removers – don’t take chances with someone not specifically recommended by the Barbican Estate Office.
Hours of use
According to the lease regulations, you are not meant to use the Garchey between 11.00 pm and 7.00 am to prevent your neighbours’ TVs being drowned out by the fearful din.