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walked 03-28-2014 08:37 AM

Second Opinion of Sewer Camera?
I've had two plumbers camera my sewer now, and gotten two opinions. Finally had a DVD made.

Plumber 1 suggested that the issue is a "massive belly" in the line (which the DVD does not seem to support).

Plumber 2 says there's a cracked pipe in the line, but I'm not sure of that either. He notes the collection of stuff around 3:45 in the video, but I'm not seeing a cracked pipe.

This is what he pointed out basically for the cracked pipe:

Both offered quotes to replace it for $8700 and 7200 respectively.

Noone seems to have a good guess as to what the gunk in the line is; one suggested mud, but wasnt sure. Dirt makes some sense as we have a floor drain in the concrete area outside the basement and its pretty dirty, but who knows - we only bought the house in September)

Camera on youtube:
Obviously I dont want to replace the pipe unless it's necessary and I'd love to have someone who isnt going to sell me a new sewer give an opinion or two.

Chris 03-28-2014 09:13 AM

I saw two slight bellies in the video. That sure is a funny looking part of the pipe they say is cracked, I have never seen a crack like that. That pipe looks to be old cast iron and is rotting away and probably should be replaced soon anyway. What are the problems you are having?

Why does it transition from PVC to metal? Is that the city lateral or all private?

walked 03-28-2014 09:17 AM

We know it would likely be prudent to replace in time, and actually its on the list of projects to save for, we just werent prepared for the cash outlay at this time (but will if we must).

We are having periodic backups when it's the lady's time of month to flush hygiene products. We've put that to a halt, but want to be sure we dont have a larger issue looming until we have the cash to replace it without dipping into savings.

edit: PVC -> metal is where it goes from basement to yard. The basement was jackhammered at one point for water management (sump/french drain install) and they probably replaced that then.

nealtw 03-28-2014 09:56 AM

I see old cast iron no breaks and small bellies, if you want to save this job for a while I would invest in a used snake that you can sell when you have done the work.
Some systems work for years where the bellyt is so bad that the pipe is full of waiste see this site
With that kind of money to do this job you may want to find the guys that pull in a new line.

walked 03-28-2014 09:59 AM

Thanks neal; that looks to be the case. I'm thinking of having the line hydro-jetted for the sake of clearing the sludge present, then buying a good snake to have on hand as you suggested.

Chris 03-28-2014 10:07 AM


Originally Posted by walked (Post 102575)
Thanks neal; that looks to be the case. I'm thinking of having the line hydro-jetted for the sake of clearing the sludge present, then buying a good snake to have on hand as you suggested.

That will definitely buy you time. Your problem is that the pipe is so rough with very little fall so backups will be more common than you would see on clean plastic pipe with good fall. I bet your line is running at 1% fall or less.

I have a system I have been working on at a grocery store that the belly is so deep that the line is full of water to near the top and it still works.

How long is your line?

walked 03-28-2014 10:10 AM

The line we're responsible for prior to the city is about 20', but about 60' to the main septic system.

My hope would be a hydro-jetting + revising our toilet paper and feminine product habits would give us time to put aside the cash to take care of this with more comfortable margins.

bud16415 03-28-2014 10:16 AM

I would also get it jetted or rooted and see if it cleans up some. Like I said in an earlier post waste will find something to catch on and once snagged will start backing up. Your pipe looks worse than I was thinking about as there are quite a few snag points in there. Being careful what gets flushed is a really good idea and it sounds like you have that under control now.
On a side note.
The house I just bought also has city sewer and three of us were added at the end of the line and we were slightly up hill to the line so each of us has a grinder pump in an outside holding tank. I never had any experience with a grinder pump and had never even heard of one before this house. It does a great job of liquefying the waste and pumping it out under pressure and the outlet pipe is much smaller than a gravity line would be. Ours isn’t set up in the basement but could be in a sealed holding tank and that would allow for a basement bathroom. I didn’t buy or install this setup but I could see it working in your case. I don’t know what kind of cost one of these setups is.

bud16415 03-28-2014 10:25 AM

As to fall on a horizontal run too much can be as bad of a problem as not enough. The idea is to not allow the liquid to run away from the solids. When the fall is correct all the waste liquid and solids tumble down together. When your pipe was put in it was smoother than today and toilets used 5 gallons per flush. That’s one of the problems with these low flush water savers they clear the waste from the toilet just fine but don’t have enough water to carry it all the way out. Now other water you run helps and then the next flush adds more water but also more solids.

I didn’t see the belly being too bad I see the overall roughness more of a problem.

nealtw 03-28-2014 10:29 AM

Be carefull about that sales pitch. Cast iron has some special qualities, when it rusts, it forms a scab that is as strong as the pipe even closing holes that have rusted right thru, so self repaired. This pipe may have lots of holes that are not leaking and will when crust is removed and then the pipe will be exposed to more rusting, shortening the life. The crust is large do to the ph level of the water so it will reform quickly.:2cents:

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