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Old 05-06-2008, 10:59 AM   #1
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Broken Drain Pipe - Outside of House - Explative Explative Explative -


So, I was washing some windows outside today and I noticed a hole in the ground outside of my house - I peered into it and discovered a opening (3x4 inches) broken in the top of a pipe.

It is the cast iron drain line from my house.

The pipe drains my only two working toilets, shower, and one sink. The rest of my plumbing appears to drain out on the other side of the house.

Part of me wants to put a piece of plastic and dirt over it, put my fingers in my ears and hum mary-had-a-little lamb until June when I planned on working on the plumbing. But as I sit here typing, my dogs are using it as a water dish (damn leaky toilet). So, I figure I probably have to do something about it.

How much of an emergency is it? How much of a nightmare is it? ARGGG!! I assume this is outside the realm of a DIYer, what will the plumber I hire have to do? ARGG! ARGG! Oh, and in my county a HO cannot pull a permit for plumbing work. ARGG!

What's the smiley for crying my eyes out?

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Old 05-06-2008, 11:40 AM   #2
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Personally, I'd cover it with a hunk of similar sized PVC and wait until you were doing your plumbing work next month.

Probably not good advice though.

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Old 05-06-2008, 12:42 PM   #3
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I'm assuming that you have access to this pipe somehow? Is it not buried very deep?

You could always do a band-aid fix with a chunk of PVC pipe and a couple furnco rubber hose clamp connectors, provided you can get at the pipe. If you can't, time to hire a plumber and backhoe. Better think about a long term fix either way.

That really stinks that your county won't let you pull your own plumbing permit. As an inspector, I hate inspecting DIYers' work because of the fact that most of them don't know the code, but at least I have the opportunity to inspect it to make sure it turns out right. Your county's silly policy simply encourages people to do their work without a permit.
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Old 05-06-2008, 01:13 PM   #4
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Unfortunately Mary had a little lamb is not an option. If its not too deep I'd try to band aid the leak as thekctermite suggested. If unable to temporarily fix it get a plumber, you have raw sewage leaking and that poses a possible health hazard.
If you don't like the two options I suggested you could change the tune to row-row-row-your-boat.
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Old 05-06-2008, 01:19 PM   #5
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Broken Drain Pipe - Outside of House - Explative Explative Explative -


The drain is draining properly right now. It does not seem to be leaking into the surrounding soil. It just has a skylight. People like skylights right?

Row-row-row.
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Old 05-06-2008, 01:47 PM   #6
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If the waste is not leaking out, another band aid may be to cut a fernco in half (length wise), then put the split coulper over the pipe and secure it with the clamps. You would then cover the hole with a scrap of plywood and monitor until ou get the plumber. If your skylight is that big, you will get soil and other objects into the pipe and they could cause a blockage.

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Old 05-06-2008, 03:57 PM   #7
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Tree roots will find that opening with that nice water supply, and they won't thank you for it.
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Old 05-06-2008, 05:09 PM   #8
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My question is just how deep is the pipe? You said your dogs are drinking out of it courtesy of a leaky toilet that keeps water in the waste line (come on over here Fido and give little Jimmy a big doggie kiss on the lips).

Either that pipe is WAAAYYYYY too shallow, or your dogs are half giraffe. If it's the former, then I can imagine a few scenarios as to how the pipe was broken to begin with. I'd be equally concerned about protecting that pipe from future damage.
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Old 05-07-2008, 10:15 AM   #9
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Yeah, so the pipe is max 6-10 inch deep. Is that not code? I need to re-grade around the house anyway - after 200 years the soil around the house has settled a bit. I could just fill in over it, no?

Seriously, how deep should it be?
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Old 05-07-2008, 10:35 AM   #10
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I believe 313.4 of the UPC calls for minimum 12" below grade.
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Old 05-07-2008, 08:51 PM   #11
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Broken Drain Pipe - Outside of House - Explative Explative Explative -


I wouldn't replace the entire line because it isn't buried at the correct depth. You could try band-aiding it with some ferncos and a piece of pipe. Be sure to pack the ground underneath the fercos and put a little cement under them. If you continue to have problems with stopages or find more breaks in the line then it's time for a new line.
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Old 05-08-2008, 12:00 AM   #12
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I wouldn't suggest replacing the line either. I'm guessing that lowering it would probably result in some slope problems somewhere anyway.

I would, however, see what I could do to protect it. If it's in a planter maybe replace with sod so shovels, tillers, etc. are less likely to damage it. Maybe consider placing flatwork over it if appropriate. You get the idea.
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Old 05-08-2008, 03:11 PM   #13
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My neighbor suggested what he termed a 'farmer's fix'. I should cut the top and bottom off a 2 liter bottle split the bottle and wrap it around the pipe, secure it with some straps and protect it from damage. I'm going to cap it somehow, probably with a section of PVC and shield it with landscape cloth, and some bricks. I know this is only a temporary band-aid. I will address the issue further down the road, when I am ready ($$) to re-do the plumbing on that side of the house.

Any bets on what will be next? I'm having a termite inspection next week.
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Old 05-08-2008, 03:38 PM   #14
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If you're going to go to that length, why not fix the broken area properly? The pipe is shallow, so just excavate 4 or 5 feet along it's length ( 2 or 3 feet on either side of the break), rent a no-hub snapper at your local rental yard for $10.00, break the pipe, buy a short piece of no-hub, 2 no-hub couplings, and splice it in.

Since the pipe is already broken, you could propably even forego the snapper and simply complete the break with a hammer and smooth the edges by nipping with pliers (which you'd probably need to do using the snapper anyway).
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Old 05-08-2008, 04:23 PM   #15
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Broken Drain Pipe - Outside of House - Explative Explative Explative -


You're not allowed to bury no hub clamps, thats why I suggested using a Fernco. Do not attempt to break the pipe with a hammer, you will crack it and end up replacing the whole section. Try using a ratcheting chain snap cutter. If you can't get your hands on one there are special sawzall blades for cast iron. It will take a while a a few expensive blades but it can be done.

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