Posts Tagged ‘plumbing’

Down the Tubes!


As you may remember, we had some sewer drama a couple of weeks ago. After discovering that our sewer lateral pipe (the one that connects our house to the city’s main sewer line under the street) was damaged, we had a company called EcoClean come take a video of the inside of the pipe. The findings were not promising: the pipe was not only broken but clogged really badly with dirt and rocks. Their estimate to replace the pipe: $7,800.

Ok. What about a second opinion? Ben, our builder, has worked with a guy named George before for excavation and sewer jobs, so we got George out to give his best guess. After viewing the video we had commissioned by EcoClean, he said the best-case scenario was that we could get away with a pipe relining and pay only $2,200. The worst-case would be tearing up the street and laying a new pipe, which would run $5,100. He was pretty darn sure that the relining would do it though.

Well, today George’s guys came, saw, and fled. After attempting to “Jet Clean” the pipe and run a tool to clear the blockage, further camera work showed that not only is the pipe clogged and damaged, there is almost no tile left along the bottom surface of the pipe. Meaning that for x number of years/decades, waste from 58 Turner Street has been flowing into the ground and who knows where! Hopefully not back into our basement! Gross!

So, indeed, we are faced with a giant expense. We are forced to pay out money that we had earmarked not only for fun and necessary things like kitchen cabinets and countertops, stair treads, paint, rugs, siding, etc, but for the real and mounting bills we have amassed with our builder for change orders and contingencies. A small tragedy, the likes of which we have come to expect along this journey.

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Remnants of a White Trash Picnic.

Remnants of a White Trash Picnic.

Two recent discoveries:

1. Someone, at some time, burned a giant candle on the roof of the house (above Sadie’s room) and let it burn down to the bottom which melted a swath the rubber roof. This will need to be cut out and patched. Not a huge deal. What is a huge deal, potentially, is number 2…

2. Our sewer “lateral” (the pipe connecting our basement to the city’s sewer tunnel under the street) may need to be excavated and replaced. Our plumber was connecting our waste water pipe to the cast iron trapin the basement when he realized that the trap was not connected to the lateral, but sitting there unattached. In fact he could, and did, lift the iron trap (the size and weight of a small anvil) completely out with his hands. The pipe, he said, looked to be in bad shape and possibly asbestos-lined.

A call to the city gave me an idea of the cost associated with digging up the old and laying a new lateral: $5,000. The first step is to get a company to “TV” the line, meaning to stick a tiny camera through the pipe and videotape the innards. This runs $225 at EcoClean, a company recommended by the city’s Public Works Dept. They have sample videos at their website, one with rats in it!

EcoClean comes Monday afternoon and then we’ll know what we’re dealing with. There are options for relining the lateral, but only if the connection to the main is solid. Sheesh.

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