Sewer cleanout for backwash

edie_tnSeptember 20, 2009

I think I have already answered my own question, but I don't like the answer.

Anyway, nothing has been done with my pool installation over the last week because it has literally rained 9 days in row.... Hopefully, the rain has subsided and we might get to continue at some point this week.

Issue is that we have two sewer cleanouts at the house, one on the side of the house close to the backyard which would place our pool equipment in a perfect spot and enable pipe to be tied into the clean out there for backwash. The other choice is the cleanout that is on the back of the house behind our bedroom which would place the equipment slightly further away from the pool, cause us to have to trench over/under existing water line and sewer pipe. This spot is less convenient for purposes of controlling lights, etc., as well.

The problem is that although the plumber originally told us there would be no problem tying into the first cleanout (we were worried as this one is cast iron, he has now told us that although the cast iron pipe is 3", He came out the other day to say that it turns out that there is an interior pipe that is only 2" so it will not be wide enough to tie in for backwash. He said that it doesn't matter where we place the equipment, but that we have no choice but to use the other cleanout. With this in mind, our choice is to either move all of the equipment to the less preferred spot and tie in there, or to try to pipe, at a slope, across the yard from the current spot of the equipment to the larger cleanout. Problem is that our yard slopes slightly downward towards where the equipment is now, meaning we would be hard pressed to get a downward slope across the yard and be able to meet up with the cleanout without being too deep. Also, I worry that causing the water to flow that much further might not be the best idea.

So am I correct that my best choice is to move the pump/filter to the less desired location and hold my breath that we don't break a water line or sewer pipe in the process, as well as living the rest of my life trudging further to get to my panel? Not to mention, although we have electric panels on this other side of the house as well, they are in front of the house, and he will not have to wire further through the attic in order to get his job done. Basically, everything is having to be changed because of the sewer cleanout.....

Any thoughts?

Also, can someone tell me why, if the pipes from the pool to the pump are 2", then why can't the pipe going to the main sewer be 2" as well? The plumber said it could possibly cause our toilets to back up.

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Correction.... sorry, I noticed a mis-type in my previous message. The electrician will "now" have to wire further through the attic to get to the other spot.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2009 at 10:00PM
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edie, any time you connect a pressure line to a gravity sewer line it should be an indirect connection to eliminate the potential of pumping sewage into the house or sewage into the pool system. This is a case where size doesn't matter. Any county health dept should not allow this type of cross connection. I have never heard of a 2 inch gravity sewer line unless its a gray water line.

If for some archaic code reason, you are required to connect you backwash to the sewer line, you don't have to connect at a cleanout but can connect anywhere in the line provided you use an indirect connection.

You might want to get another plumber on the job.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2009 at 7:57AM
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The plumber will be tying into the cleanout with a deep well trap, which is, according to my understanding, the indirect connection. The tie in has to be at a cleanout as the actual sewer lines underground are terra cotta. This is a code requirement. I had to google "gray water line" to find out what it was, but no, this is not the case. This house was built in 1964, and the other cleanout is newer as it looks to have been installed when a bathroom was added on at the back of the house. What is hard to understand, is that the new cleanout had to have been extended from somewhere, I guess, because I cannot believe that this 2" cleanout within a 3" cast iron pipe was the only cleanout for a 3,000 sq.ft. house. We are calling another plumber for additional input and quote.

Thank you.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2009 at 10:35AM
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An indirect connection allows water to spill outside of the connection therefore relieving the pressure in case of a blockage down the line. Otherwise your lowest toilet becomes the pressure release point. The first plumber seemed to realize this as a potential problem.

Are you required to backwash to the sewer line?

    Bookmark   September 21, 2009 at 2:37PM
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Yes, here in the city we are required to backwash to the sewer line. I am told that this is the purpose of the "deep well trap" that will be installed into the side of the cleanout under ground. So, although I would rather keep the equipment where it is, I may need to get used to having it close to the other cleanout as it will then be right next to it and is a much wider pipe for the water to flow down to the sewer.

In our previous home, I had a pool built and they dug a trench around the corner of my house to the cleanout at the side and it was a perfect set up. The lay of our current yard and cleanout locations, as well as other utility pipes underground due to a back house in the back of our yard, is certainly making this experience a little more challenging.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2009 at 3:15PM
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Well, it sounds like you on top of the situation.

I would question moving all of the equipment just to satisfy the needs for one line. Choosing an equipment location is tough when you figure in all the conditions and priorities.

1. aesthetics
2. elevation
3. convienience
4. efficiency
5. cost

Its an important decision and hard to balance the conflicts somtimes. Stay with it!

    Bookmark   September 21, 2009 at 5:58PM
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Yes... this is completely my issue, as I am sick that the location of the cleanout that we are being told we need to use is totally changing the location of my equipment. I am hoping there is a good solution. Pool builder is due back tomorrow morning, since we finally had a full day without rain today. I have put my husband in charge of talking with him about our options, and I will wait to see the results.

I just spent the last 20 minutes or so sitting on the steps of my new pool (or pond, as I like to refer to it)after climbing over the mound of dirt to get to it.... I am so excited.... so I hope all works out.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2009 at 10:57PM
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When I add pool baths or pool houses which don't offer slope to the sewer cleanout I use a grinding lift station and plumb it in 2" to the cleanout. Use a swing check valve and a vented cleanout cap. I've done it for decades without problems. Until the dreaded day that the pump died and had to be replaced.
Well you know what plumbers say about some jobs, it's just their bread and butter, LOL!!!
I wouldn't sweat it.
Now, if you favorite cleanout is really 2" you'll have to move to the larger one regardless. You can't pump a 2" pressurized line to a gravity drain of equal size It should be a minimum of 3" and preferably a 4"

See ya,

    Bookmark   September 22, 2009 at 2:39AM
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We have a green 3" pipe outside the front corner of our home that has a PVC pipe that comes UP next to it and water flows from this pipe into the green 3" pipe....what is this and where is the water coming from?? We have an in ground pool in the backyard, and pool filter/heater/controls are on the opposite side of the house from where the green pipe & PVC pipe are draining....we are new home owners & first time pool owners. Any help or answers?

    Bookmark   February 22, 2011 at 10:37PM
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If it is the pool backwash, then it should only be running when you backwash the filter (unless you have a leaking backwash valve which would require constant refilling of the pool).

I would guess that its a sump pump keeping your foundation or basement dry. If it runs for a couple of minutes and stops for a while this is probably the case.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 3:59AM
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