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Old 01-17-2012, 04:10 PM   #1
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My plumbing bill. Taken or not?


Need help or advice from plumbers out there!
After moving into our new home after 4 weeks (home is 25 years old on septic) we got a visit from the city and was told we were using too much water and had a leak. Not knowing what to do, I called my realtor and she gave me the number a plumber that she trusted. He came out and showed me were the standing water was in my yard. (It had been there since we moved in but I thought it was due to rain.)
Long story short, (I was at work, wife took care of this) he found the leak with a “leak detector.” What was leaking was a 4 inch drain line from house to septic (10 ft). It was almost up against the house. It was about a 3 by 3 foot hole.
He said that he had to get the back hoe out there then left. Came back late in the day for about 2 hours. (maybe 3 hours in all). Here is our itemized bill:

Replaced 4 inch drain line from house to septic (10 ft).
1. Leak detection 350.00
2. Back hoe, dump truck, and trailer 800.00
3. Material 100.00
4. Labor for 1 plumber and 2 helpers 450.00

Total 1700.00
I have searched all over the internet and could not find a back hoe for more than 100 an hour with a 3 hours minimum. I called the owner and he said “this is a very reasonable price since we are licensed and insured, blah, blah, blah. He also offered to take 200.00 off the price.
Of note, the plumber who was there suggested to my wife that we replace the entire septic system that would cost $5000.00. I was on the phone with a septic guy and he told me NO and that he would be there the next day to pump my tank. He looked at it and said that he would have charged 400.00 for the entire thing AND the pumping……. (it was 300.00 to pump my tank).
Did I get taken? Should I take the 200.00 and be happy?

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Old 01-17-2012, 04:17 PM   #2
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My plumbing bill. Taken or not?


How would the city know how much water is leaking from a drain?

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Old 01-17-2012, 04:20 PM   #3
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My plumbing bill. Taken or not?


based on water usage and meter readings.

I am SURE that the leak was there when I closed on the house, but I can't prove it.

You can't tell me a guy lives in a house for over 20 years, moves out, then a major water leak happens. He needs to go to Vegas!
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Old 01-17-2012, 04:26 PM   #4
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My plumbing bill. Taken or not?


I don't get it.... water 'leaking' from a drain into the lawn consists only of water you already paid for and it went down the drain. The city only knows what amount water you USE, not how much goes down the drain.

Sorry, I still don't understand how they could tell you had a drain leak....
an INLET pipe, yes, a drain? No, I don't think so.


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Old 01-17-2012, 04:28 PM   #5
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You got me.....I thought about that as well. I thought it was a leak from the "city" and then on the invoice it said only one. Maybe there were 2 pipes above each other? One from the city and one from my sewer?

What do you think about the bill?
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Old 01-17-2012, 04:38 PM   #6
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My plumbing bill. Taken or not?


Quote:
Originally Posted by DangerMouse View Post
I don't get it...I still don't understand how they could tell you had a drain leak....
When every other comparable property uses no more than X cubic feet...
and another uses 4X cubic feet... it's reasonable to assume that the water isn't all going down the drain.
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Old 01-17-2012, 06:44 PM   #7
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My plumbing bill. Taken or not?


The DRAIN only handles the water that is going to it.....in other words, what goes in must come out.....

While the price is 'kind of high'....not totally outragious.....chances are you can negotiate......

But I still think you have a problem. The drain has nothing to do with how much water you are using.

You should have a bill that shows your water usage....look at that....

Also..you have a water meter....go out there and see if it's turning with everything turned off. If it does, you have a leak somewhere. If not......I think you are being scamed and the realtor is part of it.

BTW....I put realtors in the same class as lawyers....
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Old 01-17-2012, 06:50 PM   #8
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My plumbing bill. Taken or not?


ddawg is spot on, the "leak" you described is a leak in the septic system piping, which of course has absolutely nothing to do with your water usage, which is measured at the meter. Are you sure those were "city people" who came out, and not some sort of urban scam artists?
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Old 01-17-2012, 08:00 PM   #9
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My plumbing bill. Taken or not?


I would contact your local building department and talk with plumbing official a permit may have been required along with water department, something’s not quite rite with your situation. Have the water company recheck for the water usage. Like everyone says drain has nothing to do with a high water bill.
Guys note a puddle in the ground from a broken sewer line? With no clog related problems? Humm
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Old 01-17-2012, 09:34 PM   #10
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lets cut to the chase...YES YOU WERE RIPPED OFF.....NO WAY TO JUSTIFY THAT AMOUNT>>>>..sorry for you ...ben
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Old 01-17-2012, 10:42 PM   #11
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My plumbing bill. Taken or not?


The reason the city came out is because someone, a neighbor perhaps called the city to complain about the standing water. Furthermore the leak in the drain line would need to be very large for water to rise to the surface. Most of the time there is no water in that pipe, only when you run water is there water in the pipe. So I think the water may have backed up from the septic tank then bled out of the pipe. If that is the case then your leeching field is clogged and most likely will need to be replaced. on The neighbor and seller were in cahoots on the deal together because the neighbor did not complain until after the sale of the house.

Now that the pipe is fixed you will know soon enough because if I'm right the water will either back up into the house or come to the surface of the leeching field. You did not say how large a family you have, the larger your family the more load you will put on the septic system.

I hope I'm wrong about the the leeching field. Didn't the home inspector you hired to check the house warn you about the standing water?

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Old 01-17-2012, 11:21 PM   #12
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My plumbing bill. Taken or not?


I had a sewer pipe replaced under my driveway for $600, which was a really good deal which I got from my concrete contractor because I will be getting a driveway and that's where he's going to make his money. This was about 40' of pipe laid 6' down. They started around 8 AM and when I checked at lunch time, they had the ground dug up and the pipes installed, they were just waiting for the city inspector to inspect before they closed the trench.

Agree that there is no way a city meter based issue would be related to your sewer piping. A leak in the sewer could only leak as much water as was coming from your non-leaking supply system, or if there was a leak in the supply system it would still exist if only the sewer was fixed.

A sewer leak would be found with a camera inspection, 350 might be a bit high but that might vary by region?

Not sure how a supply leak would be detected... I'd think it'd have to be after the meter to be isolated to your house, in which case that wouldn't be underground I think? Maybe the city can detect that it's happenning in an area, then see the standing water..

Agree it sounds a little fishy, you should be able to confirm with the city that they had detected a leak, and the permit.

Maybe there's a misunderstanding about what was fixed?
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Old 01-17-2012, 11:31 PM   #13
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My plumbing bill. Taken or not?


Yeah ,you got screwed!
Im lost also about how a leaking sewer line has anything to do with water usage .
Ive done a lot of backhoe work over the years and your situation makes absolutely no sense at all to me.
He says your yard was flooding because of a broken sewer line?Last time I checked water tends to seek its own level as the old saying goes!
So in order for the water to come out of a break in that pipe and somehow flood that area of the yard would require a broken sewer pipe between the house and septic tank,and the sewer would also have to be plugged past the break or the septic tank would have to be completely full and laterals coming out of tank would have to be plugged which in turn would leave the whole yard like a swamp basically.
Is the rest of the yard soaked also,is septic tank in need of pumping out?
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Old 01-19-2012, 11:05 AM   #14
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My plumbing bill. Taken or not?


Wow, folks.....lots to take in here. I will check more facts here. I will call the plumbing co directly and find out just what was fixed. Even if it was a water line AND septic line it should not have been that much. Again, it was 800.00 for a backhoe for 2 hours of work. They also put on the invoice for a dumptruck and trailer. They pulled the backhoe with the dump truck! Oh, and they screwed up my yard as well! Will update when I know more. Thank you everyone!
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Old 01-19-2012, 11:16 AM   #15
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My plumbing bill. Taken or not?


Quote:
Originally Posted by falbradawg View Post
Even if it was a water line AND septic line it should not have been that much.
I guess everyone thought it was a bigger problem that you paid that much money for a repair that wouldn't solve the problem you described

Personally I agree. The city knocked on my Grandma's door too back in 2004, may she rest in peace. Their info seemed a little more legit though, they said:
"Hey, your water usage is off the charts so we sent a camera down the sewer line and water is pouring into the sewer from where your supply line is - we need to dig up your yard. Take a look at this video footage we brought for you".

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