Sewage backup in basement Open hole in sewer line Toilet gurgles!

gio17vaniSeptember 22, 2007

The previous owner drilled down 2ft or so into the cement floor and tapped into the sewer line in my basement. No hookups or connections were made...just a big hole so that they could install a laundry basin tub and for the washer to drain. The hole has started backing up and with it raw sewage. The toilet that is upstream in the line has started to gurgle and when I turn on a faucet upstream, there are 2 one in downstairs bathroom and kitchen sink right above on the main level, there is a rush of air or blowback at first b4 the water will flow. Can all of this be caused by a blocked vent?

The 3 fixtures that have blowback or gurgling are connected the toilet that gurgles is 15ft upstream of my "hole". I have also had my main line snaked twice in the last year and last one was a week ago. I also had my washer rerouted to tap into the smaller cast iron stack 15 ft upstream of the hole and it is trapped and I believe vented(have to check to see if blocked). The temporary fixes just aren't working anymore and I can't afford to spend the 4k to dig up and replace my line to the street especially if it could be something else.

There is a vent directly above the smaller stack where these fixtures come together which i will check right now but I still want to fill/fix/cap the hole that is backing up it is nothing but a pita and a constant source of bacteria and raw sewage. I have the original cleanout that is accessible and usable 15ft further upstream from my "hole" and have had to take a plunger to it to stop the rising water/sewage.

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Snaked the main line or Roto-Rooter? A snake in a 4" line is not going to make a very large hole. A cutting tool on the end of a cable will clear your main line.

If you can see sewage in the main line in the hole, your line is plugged.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2007 at 8:30PM
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Was the big heavy electric rooter thing at home depot with cutting tool and 100' of cable. Both times it was snaked it cleared the line but it only stays that way for a little while and then it starts backing up again. I have a neighbor who had to replace their outside line because it was clay tile that had been crushed. The 1st time I ran the root cutter I got all kinds of roots and the lines stayed clear for 6-7 months but lately its backing up every week or so and I had a guy come in and do it again from the smaller stack which is inline with where the backup occurs(my main stack is about 10ft to right and must meet up but where I don't know. So is my only option to replace the line from the house to the street with pvc? Is it feasible to do most of the work yourself with a 2man auger or mini excavator and just hire a master plumber to hook it up to the main? Difference being about $3000 in labor cost at $75/ft which I don't have.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2007 at 10:24PM
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In most communities the homeowner is responsible for the line from the house to a point within about 3 to 4 feet of the municipal main.

Once the line is in place and inspected the municipal service provider will send their crew to make the final connection.

In some communities there are local plumbers who are certified by the municipal provider to make the final connection.

In most instances the homeowner may lay the line however in some regions they require that the line must be laid by a licensed plumber.

Only your local inspection dept could give you a correct answer here.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2007 at 11:51AM
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"The 1st time I ran the root cutter I got all kinds of roots..."

Once roots have entered running a cutter is at best a stopgap.
In many cases the cut off roots simple sprout millions of threads and the line clogs again.
Running coper sulphate down the line can drive the roots back, but it is very hard to fill the line with enough chemical to be effective.
At the very least start saving some $$ for the line replacement that is in the near future.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2007 at 3:54PM
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It is ok for me to do everything but the final connection and I am quite comfortable with doing it all but the city will not let just anyone connect to their line which I understand and am fine with. What I am unsure of is the best way to dig a 30-40ft trench possibly up to 7ft deep to expose the old pipe and replace it.

I can rent the mini excavator at around $250/day which isn't bad but I believe it only goes 5.5ft down. The auger is alot less at $250 for a week but I do not know which would do the best or better job. I am going to also see tomorrow about finding someone with a backhoe that will do it on the side. If I can get the digging done for $750 or less I can get it done this year since the materials and permit should be around $200. Any other possible solutions to digging the trench are welcome as this is an area I am not familiar with at all.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2007 at 4:38PM
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larger mini excavators will go deeper. Couple plumbers around here use em for sewer lines. easier to get into tight areas than a backhoe.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2007 at 4:51PM
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First thing to do is call Miss Dig to stake all the lines in the area, if you have a Miss Dig.

A shovel works too but not too popular nowadays. For our business the Poco had to run a 60' line underground . Half was dug with a backhoe and the other half by hand because of the proximity of gas and phone and cable lines. Took the guys about the same time to get done.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2007 at 12:11AM
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I found a place near here that rents everything big and small concerning excavators, so I will definitely check out what they have.

We have a miss dig and they are scheduled to come out. The water line runs under the driveway and the sewer line is marked at the street and is only a few inches off from my cleanout so it shouldn't be hard to follow. The gas meter is on opposite side of house but still called the miss dig just to be sure since that would not be fun to hit.

I thought about by shovel but the ground is mostly clay, old brickyard, and I would rather pay a little bit more to avoid that heavy mess. Could also be a reason for the poor drainage everyone seems to have on the block.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2007 at 7:08AM
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We experienced a sewer backup yestserday and were lucky enough to have a plumber come out to help us. He found roots in the line and reading this makes me feel a little ill. I guess a line replacement is in our future. I do not know where the outside clean-out is located and am going to try to find that out this week. If anyone has thoughts on how to do that I would really appreciate it. Also, about how much of an expense should I be planning on to do this? I'm also thinking we need a backup prevention device installed. Any suggestions on what type? Thank you for all the great information.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2008 at 5:32PM
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you replace your line yet? Hope not!!! I am a pipe inspector ( I stick cameras in sewer line) If you have not write back there are a few option. It sounds like tree roots if you clean it with a sewer snake and 7 months later you back up again it is because all a sewer snake does if give the tree roots a hair cut :). There is also chemicals you can put in the line. Now i am registered with the EPA and what my company does is put vaporooter in the line. It is metame sodium with dyclorbinal as a adjuvant. The metame sodium kills the roots and dyclorbinal is a root growth inhibitor stops the roots from growing. Now this is a foaming pesticide so it touches every inch of the pipe. Only some one licensed with the EPA can put this in. The up side to this is it is guaranteed for 2 years. The is also a general use pesticide you can use called ROOTX anyone can put this in. It is also a foam but does not stay active as long as vaporooter.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2008 at 10:00PM
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I live in Chicago and have a condo in a 6-unit complex. We just had our main lines and side gangway all rodded out about a month ago but we had sewer back up come up in our boiler and laundry room drains. Anyone have any idea why it would be backing up? Do we have to put a backflow preventer down by our catch basin to prevent this from happening again? Where does that water go then, stay out by the city sewers?
Besides for our drains backflowing our whole building has problems with the back area flooding. Our roof tilts towards our backyard. There are 2 downspouts which flow away from the building. I guess we had the downspouts directly into the catch basin but that always overflowed our laundry and boiler rooms. Heavy rains still flood our basements; through walls, through drains. We have no idea where to put this water until it has time to drain slowly through the catch basin out to the city sewers. Any suggestions at all would be appreciated.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 10:06AM
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1) I have a mobile home. There is a T in the sewer lines under the home. I believe that it may be an overflow. Should this have a cap on it? 2) I have a septic system. Water is draining into the septic while there is no water running in the home. I checked both toilets, and neither seems to be leaking. Any suggestions of what else I can check?

    Bookmark   July 11, 2011 at 3:50PM
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