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Old 05-16-2014, 10:18 AM   #1
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gray water drain clogged, fix or re-route to black?


My house's original sewage solution appears to have involved both gray and black water drainage. I've had a history of issues on the gray water line as it exits out to the city line close to a tree on my property and is prone to root issues. But that is not my immediate problem today.

The first floor bathroom (only sink and tub) drain via a branch of this line that I have determined has bad interior corrosion. A backup that proved impossible to snake led me further downstream until I uncovered some surprises.

The cleanout on this line just before it goes into the basement floor was capped with A PIECE OF WOOD SURROUNDED BY PUTTY, wrapped in duct tape. I'm serious. I thought I had seen it all. Here it is:



There was always so much duct tape around that particular cleanout that I had it noted as a future trouble spot, but never did I dream that if I pulled the tape, it wouldn't even be capped properly.

Anyway, with that cleanout open I could tell that my clog was above, not below this point. That's some relief as below this point we disappear into the concrete and eventually reach the part of the line that I know had root issues last year. So that is NOT the problem. The problem is the vertical run of pipe above this point is so badly corroded that I can't even get my middle finger up through the hole. And I can feel the root cause of my clog sitting right there -- a gathered accumulation of small debris like bits of caulk and stuff that's made its way down the tub and sink over the years. I can push it with my finger, get some drips of water to come by, but there's no cleaning or snaking this. From above my tiny household snake just stops dead because the pipe has become so restricted it can't pass through. So I at least need to get rid of this section of pipe.



So far as I can feel with my fingers, below the cleanout the pipe is less corroded and apparently open.

My question is, should I go for the quick fix and replace this vertical run of corroded pipe with ABS or PVC? Or should I consider re-routing this drain into the black water system that's right beside it.

It may be worth noting that there is a 2nd floor bathroom in this house that was remodeled by a previous owner, and at that time they routed all drainage from that bathroom to the black water line.

If I do decide to route into the black water system, is it wrong to utilize the cleanout you can see there as my entry point? What would the proper way of accomplishing that routing look like?

Thanks in advance for all responses,
Jeff
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Old 05-16-2014, 12:03 PM   #2
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The plumbers are busy, please give them time to respond to your post. Thanks.

That section of cast iron/galvanize pipe for the gray water looks pretty bad and imo should be replaced. Snaking probably will just finish breaking apart the pipe.

Not sure what the best option/per code would be in your case. Tie into main vs replacing gray water drain. You are dealing with very old cast iron and galvanize pipe which is very heavy.

Please wait for the plumbers to respond with more advice/suggestions, they see this kind of stuff everyday and will know what to do. Thanks.

Last edited by jmon; 05-16-2014 at 12:12 PM.
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Old 05-16-2014, 05:45 PM   #3
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Since you mention your line exits out to the city line can we assume you are on city sewers? If that is true there is absolutely not advantage to having grey and black water systems. It is all going to the same place anyway. The two systems made sense when you had a septic that could be overwhelmed by the grey water.
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Old 05-16-2014, 06:06 PM   #4
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I am guessing your black water is going to a septic tank. If that is the case can the septic handle the extra water. Do you have a leach field. I would call the county health department to find out the answer to you question.
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Old 05-16-2014, 09:42 PM   #5
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You absolutely need to route the gray water to the sewer. It is a EPA violation to do anything other then that. Fish do not care for soap.
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Old 05-21-2014, 03:30 PM   #6
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Sorry I wasn't clear in my original post: the house's gray and black water lines BOTH route to the city sewer. This was confirmed by camera inspections in each line last year. Even the inspecting plumber was surprised that I had two separate routes connecting to the city sewer. Perhaps the house originally had septic, or perhaps it was just cool in 1950 to do redundant stuff like this.

The pipe seen in the pictures is not as bad externally as it might appear -- some dimwit who owned the house before me painted most of the pipes with the same concrete paint used to coat the walls. Some of what you see that seems to be ancient corroded pipe is actually ABS with rough paint on it!

I have since replaced the vertical run of blocked-up galvanized pipe with a vertical run of PVC. This has the bathroom up and running again.

My question still stands as far as whether a superior solution would be to re-route this to the black water line, and whether I can utilize the cleanout depicted as my entry point for doing so.

Thanks!
Jeff
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Old 05-21-2014, 05:13 PM   #7
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If they both connect to the sewer, I don't know if it will gain you anything by tying them together. Except- you'll only have one sewer to service in the future.

If you tie them together, you can use the wye for the connection point, but you also need to keep the clean out. So, stack a clean out tee on top the 45- it needs to be the same size as the main line.
On top of the CO tee you can then reduce in size to match the other line.
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Old 05-21-2014, 05:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheEplumber View Post
If they both connect to the sewer, I don't know if it will gain you anything by tying them together. Except- you'll only have one sewer to service in the future.

If you tie them together, you can use the wye for the connection point, but you also need to keep the clean out. So, stack a clean out tee on top the 45- it needs to be the same size as the main line.
On top of the CO tee you can then reduce in size to match the other line.
Perfect. That makes a lot of sense. I'll go this route in the future if I have additional issues with that gray water setup.

Thanks!
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Old 05-21-2014, 05:50 PM   #9
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Yes you can use a wye but you will need to add a vent to the lower sink.
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Old 03-03-2016, 07:38 PM   #10
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plugged


we have a septic and a leach field, out grey water drain is plugged and flooding out cellar, snake won't go through, is there a product that you can put in the drain to dissolve the plug???? Like industrial liquid plummer LOL
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Old 03-03-2016, 09:54 PM   #11
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If a snake won't go through then no chemical is going to do it.
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Old 03-04-2016, 08:38 AM   #12
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If the snake is hitting a block and not pulling out any roots it could be a broke pipe. Measure how far the snake goes in and dig a hole. If the snake is pulling out roots keep trying. If there are no trees in the area then.? What type of pipe? How far to septic? Last time septic was emptied?

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