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Old 12-02-2008, 07:55 PM   #1
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Please help-main sewer drain is backed up


I hope that someone can tell me how this happened and how I can fix this problem. About a week ago I noticed my drain in the basement had a little water backing up and didn't think anything about it because it went away and I never had a problem since I have lived in this house(5years).

Now a few days ago I come in from work and this awfull smell really knocked me back. So I go down to the basement and look at the catch basin and see toilet paper & feces in the water, about a 3 ft diameter cess pool of filth. I went to the store and bought 2 qts of liquid enzymes and 2 boxes of powdered enzymes. Today I had to clean up the mess down there and I noticed that it is still plugged up. Every time I flush or use any water the darn catch basin overflows.

The same day I picked up the enzymes, I noticed my neighbor accross the street had a plumber come out. He wasn't there very long but he brought in his snake and was finished in no time. I'm thinking that he had the same problem. I never asked him because he's not a social person.

Do you think that I should rent a snake and take care of this mess or what? Nothing has been going down the drain thats not supposed to.


Last edited by Greenman; 12-02-2008 at 08:07 PM. Reason: I didn't know that I needed a reason
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Old 12-02-2008, 11:24 PM   #2
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Please help-main sewer drain is backed up


Your neighbors problem was probably just a coincidence. I would advise you to rent the sewer auger. Look for a clean-out and go in through it. There is usually one near the floor on the main drain before it enters the concrete. You may be able to get it down the drain also.

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Old 12-03-2008, 05:06 AM   #3
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Please help-main sewer drain is backed up


To properly clean out a main you're going to need a bigger machine. These sewer augers can cause serious injury if not used properly. If you do rent a machine and do this yourself be careful. They have alot of torque and the cable can easily break an arm or leg if it gets away from you.

As Majakdragon stated find a clean out and go through that. Getting a 5/8" or 3/4" cable through a 3" trap is "ify" at best.
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Old 12-03-2008, 08:50 AM   #4
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Please help-main sewer drain is backed up


Although the chances are unlikely, when my main line going to the street clogged it was because it developed a dip (from a sink hole, improper original install, or possibly small leak in the line that eroded the sand underneath making a dip). It would take a few months, solids would accumulate in the dip and eventually clog the main line and I'd get a backup.

I would get a company to clean it for you, they can tell you if it's roots, but not likely if it's a dip. If after they leave it backs up again after a few months it's likely a dip in the line. I ended up getting a company that has a sewer camera to find the problem... we watched as it happy went down the line and then splashed into a dip... problem found! The sewer camera head had a homing beacon, he placed it before the dip, we went outside, and he was able to tell me within like 3" exactly where the camera's head was some 7' below ground so when I called a construction crew to repair it they knew exactly where the work had to be done. I ended up just having them replace the whole line, we found my pitch was horrible, it lay on top of ledge for much of its stretch and would require dynamite or days of hammering to get proper pitch (and likely why it wasn't done originally). Switching over to PVC gave me an important extra 1" of pitch and it being perfectly smooth compared to the many small sections of rusty cast iron would be far less likely to clog. I haven't had a backup in 3 years!

Anyway, I'd get the pro's out, and it's very unlikely it's a dip BUT if it is you now know what to look for (cleaning the pipe and not getting roots and have it clog back up in a few months) and what will likely be required.

Last edited by Piedmont; 12-03-2008 at 09:13 AM.
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Old 12-03-2008, 08:35 PM   #5
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Please help-main sewer drain is backed up


Thank you guys, I appreciate your help.
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Old 12-10-2008, 08:46 PM   #6
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Please help-main sewer drain is backed up


Quote:
Originally Posted by Piedmont View Post
Although the chances are unlikely, when my main line going to the street clogged it was because it developed a dip (from a sink hole, improper original install, or possibly small leak in the line that eroded the sand underneath making a dip). It would take a few months, solids would accumulate in the dip and eventually clog the main line and I'd get a backup.

I would get a company to clean it for you, they can tell you if it's roots, but not likely if it's a dip. If after they leave it backs up again after a few months it's likely a dip in the line. I ended up getting a company that has a sewer camera to find the problem... we watched as it happy went down the line and then splashed into a dip... problem found! The sewer camera head had a homing beacon, he placed it before the dip, we went outside, and he was able to tell me within like 3" exactly where the camera's head was some 7' below ground so when I called a construction crew to repair it they knew exactly where the work had to be done. I ended up just having them replace the whole line, we found my pitch was horrible, it lay on top of ledge for much of its stretch and would require dynamite or days of hammering to get proper pitch (and likely why it wasn't done originally). Switching over to PVC gave me an important extra 1" of pitch and it being perfectly smooth compared to the many small sections of rusty cast iron would be far less likely to clog. I haven't had a backup in 3 years!

Anyway, I'd get the pro's out, and it's very unlikely it's a dip BUT if it is you now know what to look for (cleaning the pipe and not getting roots and have it clog back up in a few months) and what will likely be required.
I am in NY state and have a similar problem to yours. It was determined that there was a problem between my cleanout and the connection to the town sewar, a distance of about 15 feet. The plumber managed to open up the connection between the cleanout and the town sewar and so far so good. But he said "something is wrong with the connection" and gave me a quote of $12,000 to run a new 15 foot line. Can you tell me what you paid?
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Old 12-10-2008, 11:59 PM   #7
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Please help-main sewer drain is backed up


I used a manual snake and pulled out roots. That was a pain.

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