Cleaning out a badly designed sewer line

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    • #278764
      Anonymous

      I have a five year old house and have to roto-root the sewer every six months or so. Lately I have run a camera into it and know why it stops up so often, that is, the line from the clean out in the back is about 60 feet long. The first 25 feet is fine, then it takes a down turn, the camera going under water for about 35 feet until it comes back up where the shower and comode are located (and stop up). You can actually see what the problem is, that ‘stuff’ grows on the PVC pipe that stays under water all the time, sluffs off, and toilet paper eventually accumulates sufficient to stop it up. The plumber suggested jetting it out with high pressure water, but that is a complicated, temporary fix. Isn’t there an enzyme or chemical that will put the ‘stuff’ into solution so that with each shower or flush, it will be expelled? Someone suggested swimming pool chemicals or even a chlorox treatment every so often. I can’t afford to dig it up and replace the pipe, but I rather dislike calling for a roto-root job every six months.

      TIA

    • #299255
      fourth year

      As long as the sewer has back pitch, which is why the camera goes under water, there is nothing that is going to help except relaying the pipe. That depression creates a “lake” that prevents the lighter material from proceeding down the pipe. They float on the water at the beginning of the lake and eventually accumulate to the point that the pipe is plugged. Usually the obstucting material is grease from soaps and dishes, but toilet paper can create a good paper mache and do the same thing. Occasionally, the stoppage becomes like Jello and rodding it does not open the pipe. At that time you will have to use a water jet to get the mass moving down the pipe.

    • #299256
      richardwilkins

      fourth, I appreciate your prompt response confirming my understanding of the problem, but I would like further comments on whether there are treatments, like enzymes or pool or other chemicals that will break down the offending substances. And, wouldn’t a periodic effort at putting a lot of fresh, hot water above the lake to help flush it on out be recommended?

      Rich

    • #299257
      fourth year

      I have been involved with many sewers like that and have never seen any which responded to the treatments you are asking about. And it seems when the problem does occur it will be at night or on a weekend.

    • #299258
      TheLocalPlumber

      Richard, I will agree with 4th year, there is nothing you can do to right this problem except dig.
      You mentioned that you video inspected the line. OK then you should be able to locate where the camera started to get submerged and where down the line it was free flowing again. This is what has to be dug up and replaced. If this work is done make sure that you hire a licensed plumbing contractor, so that the trench is prepped properly leaving no room for error when the job is completed.
      What would no more main line sewer problems be worth to you? Just do it and then it is over.
      Good Luck,
      Bill
      The Local Plumber
      Tustin, California http://www.TheLocalPlumber.com

    • #299259
      richardwilkins

      OK, so there is nothing that can be done, except an $8 to $10,000 job. Should I file suit against the plumber before or after I have it fixed? Should I give him an opportunity to do the job? Do plumbers carry liability insurance coverage for such?

      Should I post the name of the company, the owners and the name of the guy who actually did the job?

    • #299260
      Guest

      Richard,

      As another home owner who has had sewer problems, I think you should contact the original plumber who installed the line. Every reputable plumber puts a warranty on his work. These can vary from 6 months to 10 years depending on the job and the plumber. I had a new line installed on my house and a year later my basement flooded. The plumber came back out, put a camera in, and found the problem you are experiencing. He dug the line up and replaced everything at no charge to me. He said the original line was not installed correctly. So, contact your plumber, you may be pleasently surprised.

    • #299261
      richardwilkins

      Gina:
      Thank you for your comment. I do know these guys, they are not exactly reputable, it turns out. Before I file suit i will check out the permits (?) they got. This really is a bad deal. Why can’t I not sue these bankrupt bastards and fix this thing with CHEMICALS? Is not this the American way? Live and let live.

      Rich

    • #299262
      TheLocalPlumber

      Richard, If those bastrds as you call them are Licensed with the state as plumbing contractors you have a claim against their performance bond, up tp $7500.00. File a complaint with the contractors state license board if indeed this house is only five years old. Even though the problem appears to be 35’long, it may very well be the fitting at the water closet and shower is the problem. It will still require a dig.
      Another option is to call your insurance company, file the claim with them and let them follow through with the suit against the bad guy. This is why they are there for you.
      Bill
      The Local Plumber
      Tustin, California http://www.TheLocalPlumber.com

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