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zazz 02-14-2010 07:19 PM

Broken clay(?) sewer line
I am brand new here and i think i am going to enjoy this place a lot. it looks great.:thumbup:
I have searched, but not found what i am looking for.
I have a broken sewer pipe ( house lateral i think is the term)
It is the red ceramic type, possibly 100 yrs old.
Goes to a city sewer.
The break is total. Upon digging I found ragged end of pipe, where sewage comes out, and have not yet found the downstream part of the break. pipe just "isnt there".:huh: (only looked about 1',18" )There has been No evidence of trouble until quite recently. The open edge in fact seems to be pointing up somewhat...
I'm thinking, frost heaves?:001_unsure:

Anyway, I am hoping to be able to expose all of the crushed/missing section, and "upstream" untill i hit solid pipe and the repair it by replacing a section with pvc using some sort of rubber connector.
Is this right?
I could do this myself, i believe, IF I can find solid pipe within a few feet of the break.
I have a few questions.
First of all, Is this realistic thinking? How likely am I to find a lot more of the pipe is crumbly?
Secondly, the line is only maybe two feet below surface at the break. Is there something that pushes pipes up over the years? If the whole pipe is that shallow, i dont understand why it wouldnt
have frozen/cracked before... also, how steeply do these things run? It broke like 20 ft from house and 40' from where it hits the main line.
The break is Very near the sidewalk. Under the sidewalk, it belongs to the city. Does anyone knows what the deal is, if It needs some pipe replaced that is partly mine/partly cities?
I hope this is understandable. I could really use some feedback.
Thanks in advance,

Leah Frances 02-14-2010 08:27 PM

First, put your location in your profile so we know where you are writing from.

Second, contact your utility - in my town the utility has a program for replacing clay sewer drains....

plummen 02-14-2010 10:45 PM

if its close to the house you might want to consider replacing a big enough section to installdouble cleanouts as long as youre digging a hole anyway.when you buy your fernco couplings make sure they say plastic/cl on them,the clay is much thicker than plastic so the end for the clay will be bigger inside :thumbsup:

zazz 02-14-2010 11:17 PM

Thank you
Leah Francis:
I am in Missouri, I'll fix up my profile now.
I can't get ahold of anyone at the water /sewer depts until Tuesday. But I'll be sure to find out all I can from them.
(Pipe broke friday evening of course.)

Plummen: Thanks for the name/tip about the couplings.
it's not close to the house. I don't see a vent anywhere either. Should I put a vent/cleanout in the new section, It would be out in the yard about 1/3 of the way to the Main sewer.
( if code allows)

plummen 02-14-2010 11:21 PM

vent goes through roof of house,unrelated to cleanout in yard. :)

SULTINI 02-15-2010 06:27 AM

Yes put one in we know what you meant. A clean out a lot of people call them a vent.

zazz 02-15-2010 04:55 PM

Follow up question
I appreciate the clarification, plummen, and the response, Sultini.

I have looked further and I am wondering,

Would an old ceramic line have a ceramic cleanout?

Could what looks like a broken lateral line be an old cleanout with sewage backing up it?

The reason I ask is, it is Less than a foot from the surface,2) #5' away, the drainline meets the city sewer at about 7' down, and 3) I still cant find any other pipe in the whole i am digging.

If there is a chance i could be looking at a cleanout, I will snake it, otherwise it's time to call in the pros.

SULTINI 02-15-2010 05:27 PM

I have to step back because I am not a Master Plumber and do not want to steer you in the wrong direction.

However I will still be checking to see this through to the end maybe I will learn something, keep posting there's a lot of great Plumbers and guys that really know there stuff they will probably walk you through it.

How bout that plummen??

Keep the buckets handy.

plummen 02-15-2010 10:12 PM

can you post a picture of what youre finding? :)

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