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Old 11-21-2012, 06:28 PM   #1
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Black water backup after roto-rooter cleared drain


We were having water leaking from our laundry outflow pipe, so we had Roto-rooter come and clear a drain for us today. The tech informed us we had a partial clog, which he fixed, but he said our grey water tank was full causing the back up. (we just had it pumped in June) After he left we noticed he left a FULL TUB of black water back up in the tub.... Now, every once in a while, we had a little backup in one tub & sink near the laundry but the backup was never this bad. Now Thanksgiving is tomorrow and we are travelling. Needless to say, we put a stop payment on the check. I wish I saw the tub before the tech left but it I didnt even think of it and he never mentioned that it was left like that.

For starters, how do I get the water down so I don't have to gag anymore when I use the bathroom.

Also as important, what the heck happened?!?!

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Old 11-21-2012, 06:33 PM   #2
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Black water backup after roto-rooter cleared drain


Use a plunger---then have someone run water upstairs and see if the water returns to that sink.

Did you call them and tell them about the water back up and give them a chance to fix their work?

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Old 11-21-2012, 06:33 PM   #3
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Black water backup after roto-rooter cleared drain


You need to have the tech come back and clear the line. Did he have a guarantee?
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Old 11-21-2012, 09:07 PM   #4
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Black water backup after roto-rooter cleared drain


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Originally Posted by tukka View Post
We were having water leaking from our laundry outflow pipe, so we had Roto-rooter come and clear a drain for us today. The tech informed us we had a partial clog, which he fixed, but he said our grey water tank was full causing the back up. (we just had it pumped in June) After he left we noticed he left a FULL TUB of black water back up in the tub.... Now, every once in a while, we had a little backup in one tub & sink near the laundry but the backup was never this bad. Now Thanksgiving is tomorrow and we are travelling. Needless to say, we put a stop payment on the check. I wish I saw the tub before the tech left but it I didnt even think of it and he never mentioned that it was left like that.

For starters, how do I get the water down so I don't have to gag anymore when I use the bathroom.

Also as important, what the heck happened?!?!
if he open up the drain..why is water still backed up in tub...it should have drained down...call tech back job was not done right according to your explanation..ben sr
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Old 11-21-2012, 09:18 PM   #5
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Black water backup after roto-rooter cleared drain


Many moons ago my landlord called Roto Rooter for a stoped up drain.
They went trough a cleanout in the basement.
They had poop from one end of the basement to the other, it was even all over the clothes in a clothes basket and on the washer and dryer.
The cleanout was not even close to that side of the room.
When they left the drain was still plugged up and there was a layer of poop on the floor about an inch thick.
I called the city and they cleaned the drain from the house to the street in about 10 min.
Roto Rooter had the nerve to charge the landlord over $300.00 for doing nothing more them making a huge mess.
They even had the nerve to say it was not them that made the mess.
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Old 11-22-2012, 07:14 PM   #6
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Black water backup after roto-rooter cleared drain


We called and said we wanted to speak to a manager because the job was not done right (not guarantee), but "not manager was working". We had to travel for the holiday but we got home tonight and not even a little of the backup has drained. We will call in the morning and have someone else come out to fix it. I am Livid!

I never had a septic before, so this may sound like a stupid question... If our septic was backing up, wouldnt it back up in all the toilets and showers on that floor? We have 2 of each on the lowest floor. The so called "septic backup" is only in that one tub. And when I say its full, I mean full like I ran a bath! I want to make sure I sound like I know what I am talking about when I call them tomorrow.

I am not well versed in plumbing so I am thankful for all your advice.
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Old 11-22-2012, 07:34 PM   #7
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Black water backup after roto-rooter cleared drain


I just called back and they are coming tomorrow... Still a little concerned about how they are going to blame my septic. I dont mind having it pumped if it needs it but I cant accept that as the root cause if the backup wasnt happening before the tech came. The backup started after he cleared a clog in the laundry. I just dont get it..
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Old 11-22-2012, 07:38 PM   #8
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Black water backup after roto-rooter cleared drain


There is something going on---you can run other fixtures on that level and they drain well?

I asked if you have run any upstairs fixtures to see if they cause the water in the tub to raise---did you try that?
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Old 11-22-2012, 07:50 PM   #9
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Sorry I missed your question. Yes we have actually used the shower and it raised the water in the tub. We have 2 other showers in the house and they are fine, one upstairs and one downstairs. All toilets are ok. All sinks are ok too.
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Old 11-22-2012, 08:29 PM   #10
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Black water backup after roto-rooter cleared drain


There is a blockage between that branch of the house system and the main drain----If the rest of the house is draining properly without affecting the water level in that tub---the septic is fine---a blockage exists on that branch only----

Good news---Good luck----
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Old 11-22-2012, 08:54 PM   #11
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Black water backup after roto-rooter cleared drain


I think Mike is on top of this one. Is this tub located near the laundry? The tub is on the same line as the laundry. As the water discharges from the laundry it backflows to the tub. There is a slim chance the your greywater tank is the culprit- I don't have the details to form that opinion tho.
I bet RR will try to charge you again for the return trip. Hold your ground.
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Old 11-22-2012, 09:01 PM   #12
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Black water backup after roto-rooter cleared drain


Totally makes sense. He probably pushed the laundry clog further down the pipe when he was here. I would expect the water to be clear if that is the case, but its black. Thats one reason why I am asking too many questions about this. My husband checked the grey water tank just before and its full but I read that is normal (we just had the hurricane here too... High water table?) Remind me to get a house with no septic next time. You guys are great... Thanks so much. I am not paying them until I know they did the work right.

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Old 11-24-2012, 11:31 AM   #13
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Here is an update: they came back yesterday (twice) and said it was a clog in the main line. They couldnt do anything because the pipe where the clog is 3", our cleanout is 1 1/2 ". And the tool they have to clear it is too big to fit through the smaller pipe. We cant find a cleanout near the septic, which would be between the septic and the clog.So we siphoned the dirty water out of the tubs ourselves last night and are waiting for thr guys to come back today at 11am. Im sure it will be more of the same and at the end of the day I will still have the clog.

We just had the tank emptied yesterday at roto rooters suggestion (they said the tank was full and to have it emptied) so we may haveit jetted from the greywater tank if theycant clear it.

I already spent $300 too much to have this septic pumped when I didnt have to! I feel like I should give roto rooter that bill.
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Old 11-24-2012, 11:50 AM   #14
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Black water backup after roto-rooter cleared drain


Rotten luck that you chose that outfit----Rodding from inside the tank may be an option---changing the t where the cleanout attaches might be----

I wish we could see the piping----a good rodding company is worth the call---however,as you are finding---this one is only good at the simple clogs----
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Old 11-24-2012, 05:49 PM   #15
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My experience is to stay away from any plumbing/drain cleaning company with the word "rooter" within the name. A good local plumber can do a much better job. This does sound as if the tech (?) pushed some type of clog just further into the piping instead of removing the clog, and that the clog is within a branch line and not the main drain to the septic system. I know you have already spent some monies on this but I would call and talk to a couple of local plumbers who have been in business quite some years.

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