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Old 04-27-2012, 12:53 PM   #1
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Main Line Question


So we are a family of four that lives in a fourplex apartment building. (two apartments downstairs, and two upstairs).
Apparently, the main line backed up, and I just had some questions here.
I think I was the one that did it, as we had a really bad clog that took me forever to clear with a plunger and I think it just moved the clog down the line, even though it was flushing normally afterwards.
The apartment complex fixed the clog today, but last night, before it got fixed, some water came up and flooded the area where we have our water heater, as well as the apartment next to ours.

My big concern is health issues. I am very poor in plumbing knowledge, and I don't know what kind of water it would be backing up. I dont see any actual sewage, but I didnt know if this would be clean water backing up, dirty water, etc.
We have a steam cleaner too get it cleaned up, I just dont want to be walking around in it if it is dirty water, and tromping it to other areas of the home.

So essentially, my questions are (for anyone willing to help and answer):
Is it dirty or clean water?

With it being a four apartment building, would I be getting water from all apartments or is it just water from my own apartment that leaking back into ours?


Thank You

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Old 04-27-2012, 12:59 PM   #2
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Main Line Question


Quote:
Originally Posted by AptDweller View Post
So we are a family of four that lives in a fourplex apartment building. (two apartments downstairs, and two upstairs).
Apparently, the main line backed up, and I just had some questions here.
I think I was the one that did it, as we had a really bad clog that took me forever to clear with a plunger and I think it just moved the clog down the line, even though it was flushing normally afterwards.
The apartment complex fixed the clog today, but last night, before it got fixed, some water came up and flooded the area where we have our water heater, as well as the apartment next to ours.

My big concern is health issues. I am very poor in plumbing knowledge, and I don't know what kind of water it would be backing up. I dont see any actual sewage, but I didnt know if this would be clean water backing up, dirty water, etc.
We have a steam cleaner too get it cleaned up, I just dont want to be walking around in it if it is dirty water, and tromping it to other areas of the home.

So essentially, my questions are (for anyone willing to help and answer):
Is it dirty or clean water?

With it being a four apartment building, would I be getting water from all apartments or is it just water from my own apartment that leaking back into ours?


Thank You
The term you are looking for is grey water. Yes it is sewage water and best cleaned up right away.

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Old 04-27-2012, 01:06 PM   #3
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Thank you for the quick response.

We are definitely trying to clean things up. Glad that I bought a big steam carpet cleaner a bit ago.

Found out that it wasnt me, yay
Apparently, some of the lawn care people cut the lines. There were apparently two lines. One leading to my apartment, one leading to my mom's which lives next door. After the lines were cut, some kids came by and shoved rocks and sticks inside the lines. So this caused things to backup.

I know there may not be a big was to tell or be sure (at least that i can think), but the backed up "grey water"....would it be from just my own apartment, or from others in the building?
Considering that I got the impression that there was a specific line to our apartment that was clogged up, separate from the line to the next door apartment that was clogged up. They had to fix both pipes.

Both my wife and I are a bit OCD, and it wouldnt bother us cleaning up our own sewage (although, not the happiest job in the world), but would bother me if it was sewage from other people in the building, or, worse yet, from more people in the complex.


Anyone have any thoughts here?
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Old 04-27-2012, 01:09 PM   #4
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Lot's of thoughts.

here is one. Why are you cleaning this up?

If it was someones else responsible ask them to clean it up. If afterwords you want to clean more, do so.
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Old 04-27-2012, 01:20 PM   #5
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Lets just say that I dont really trust my apartment complex to do it. I wont go into some big long explanation, but they have a very bad track record with me.

Ive had them blame stuff on me (like when they blamed cigarette butts in the grass behind our apartment on us and tried to fine us for it, and nobody in this apartment smokes, it was the apartment above us chucking them down), come in when they are not welcome (like when I was just getting outta the shower and they wouldnt even leave to let me get dressed in peace), and the last time we had a pipe bust we actually had them make more of a mess (they took down closet doors and never put them back, etc). The only reason I live here is because its so close to my work, and I can come home on lunch and eat with the family.


Being that it is just a little big of water in the hall and around the water heater area, its not a big mess to clean up, anyways. I just dont want to be trudging around in someone else's urine and feces while I am trying to clean it up. So I am thinking that, from the impression I got, any water backed up would be from our own apartment, and not from the 'grey water' of others in this building. I was giiven the impression that the apartments have their own line into the sewage, and that the line to my apartment, and the line to the next door apartment was cut. So they never really did intermingle, but were checked separately and had separate clogs (although from the same source).
My biggest concern here is that it may be sewage from other's apartments on top of our own. I know it may sound weird, but its easier to feel significantly less grossed out if it was just water from our own apartment backed up vs water from others as well.

I appreciate the feedback, thank you.

Last edited by AptDweller; 04-27-2012 at 01:27 PM.
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Old 04-28-2012, 02:32 AM   #6
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Please let me assure you, you and your family are perfectly safe.

If the issue was in the main line for the house, fresh water that was added to the house plumbing could not drain out to the sewer, and this fresh water backed up out of your plumbing fixtures. This is not a sewage backup, but as framer52 said, a greywater backup. Grey water is water unsuitable to drink, but not sewage. Grey water would be the discharge of a clothes washing machine, sink water. Cleaning the moisture is necessary and a light spray of bleach will be more then enough to kill any bacteria.

So while you probably have water from other apartments, the fact that this happened more then 24 hours ago means that most of the bacteria has died already being exposed to the outside environment. Trust me there is no serious health concern, I have gotten plenty of splatters of the real nasty raw sewage in both my eyes and mouth when I first started the plumbing trade (you learn very quickly to wear goggles and keep your mouth shut) and according to my physical last week I'm healthy.

Dry and spray the area once with bleach. Then relax
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Old 04-28-2012, 09:48 AM   #7
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plumbdumb hit it right on the "head"
little joke there

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