I've had two instances in which water was backed up from the city sewer line into my basement. The first time - quite a while back - involved someone's excrement backing up and ending on my basement floor. By the time I noticed it, the drain appeared clear.
The second time occurred last fall during a 5-7" rainfall during which my sump pump was overwhelmed, the water tried to exit through the floor drain, and rose 6-8" above the basement floor before the fire dept came over and pumped it out. My gas water heater wouldn't restart, and a circuit board on the furnace was fried.
I had a plumber over and and he insisted that the problem was not in my lateral, but in the city's main sewer line, as the problem spontaneously solved itself after we had pumped the basement almost dry.
Today I inspected the basement floor drain and discovered that there is water standing in it to within 6" below the basement floor!
What do you think, and who would you call first to solve this problem?
Thanks for your help.
Depending on the geometry of the street sewer, it is possible for sewage to back up into buildings if there is too much water including storm water going into the sewer (pipe).
You may need a backflow preventer just before your sewer lateral to keep sewage from coming back into your basement.
One thing you can do is put a cap or plug on your floor drain. This will keep sewage from coming up from there but it could come out of the next lowest opening such as a laundry sink in the basement.
There is supposed to be a trap in your floor drain and the water you are seeing 6 inches below the floor is suposed to be there.
The sump pump should discharge outside the house some distance from the foundation and where the water flows downhill away from the foundation.
If the sewer lateral is cracked, sewage that would back up would enter the ground and add itself to the ground water that your sump pump is trying to get rid of.
If you notice the water rises in the floor drain when you flush the toilets or run water in the house, that would indicate you have a blockage in your lateral.
If it rains and you back-up, it's due to inflow from groundwater either as a combination of problems, i.e. cracks, breaks, offsets, from you private lateral and/or the city main. Storm water and sanitary sewer however, should not be connected.
If you haven't already, and you're concerned with the condition of your lateral, it would be wise to have it video inspected. That's the only way to know for sure what's really going on down there. Otherwise it's simply speculation.
A Clean Check Backwater valve would be a good investment for your lateral.
When was the house built?
You're not on a shared line with your neighbor are you?
What type of system do you have for diverting ground water?
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