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  • Sewer is backed up

    Woke up this morning and the sewer seems to be backed up. We have a utility sink in the basement that the washer drains into. It is the lowest drain in the house and had about 3" of water in it. I called the township and am waiting for them to take a look at their side. There is a cast iron piece where the sewer enters/exits my house that has a little water on the top of it. Does anyone know what this piece is and what it does? Attached is a picture. Thanks.
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  • #2
    looks as if that is the sewer line cleanout ... dont open that up or else you might have a pool in your basement ...

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    • #3
      I bet you need to have a plumber run a snake through the main line in your house.

      The house I lived in growing up had plumbing problems. The plumber would come snake the pipes and it would fix it for a while. Finally they ran a camera down into the pipe. A tree root had cracked the pipe causing a real problem. The foundation had to be torn up and cut out so that the pipe could be repaired. It was a huge pita

      Hopefully your problem is not as big.
      Rollin' Gangsta Style

      "Heavy" beer is for wine drinkers that are too embarrassed to drink wine in front of their buddies. "Light" beer is a drinkin' man's beer!
      If you want bling like the big dawgs, ya gotta lift your leg a little higher.....

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      • #4
        What ever you do dont open it up. If you find the township lines are open, look for a clean-out higher than your laundry tub first.
        1981 stars and stripes -powerslot
        sand with red metalflake stripe

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        • #5
          Thanks for the replies guys. I'm hoping its nothing major, but there is a pretty large weeping cherry tree right over top of where my sewer line runs. If the township says their lines are clear, I think I'm going to run a snake from a cleanout that I have right next to the utility sink. If that doesn't work I'll have to get a plumber in.

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          • #6
            Wouldn't that be a inline check valve (one-way valve)? That's what it looks like to me. Regardless, don't take it apart.
            Your clean outs should be approx 4-8" inches off the floor and appear to be at a 45 dgeree angle.

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            • #7
              Just for the heck of it- give it a couple of taps (gentle of course) if it is a check valve maybe it would release it. Nothing to lose.
              1981 stars and stripes -powerslot
              sand with red metalflake stripe

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              • #8
                Originally posted by atthelake View Post
                Wouldn't that be a inline check valve (one-way valve)? That's what it looks like to me. Regardless, don't take it apart.
                Your clean outs should be approx 4-8" inches off the floor and appear to be at a 45 dgeree angle.
                Kinda looks like a check valve to me too (but I'm in the natural gas business so not positive).

                I've had my rental mainline cleaned out a few times already. Mainly due to tree roots coming in. As long as you maintain (yearly cleaning), you might be OK. I've used the "claw" type cleaning and the hydropressure cleaning. Can't tell you the better one but the big thing is maintain. If the roots get too big, it opens up the hole bigger and then you may be looking at a new line.

                Also, when done, send a camera down it to see what's going on. I think tree roots are pretty common....
                - Jeff

                1994 205, LT1

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                • #9
                  that is a cleanout

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                  • #10
                    That doesn't seem to have the raised square on it, for removing when it needs to be cleaned out. It may have been intended as an inlet at construction, but capped off. If you scrape around the cover's perimeter and see lead and what looks like rope impregnated with wax (oakum), it's not a clean-out and is supposed to be permanent. It may have had tar dripped into the joint, too.

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                    • #11
                      Thats a clean out. Dont remove until you get the drain water below that level.

                      If you get the drain cleared, you can add a vertical riser to that fitting and a new cap. if it clogs again you can remove the new cap and snake without fear of a spill.

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                      • #12
                        I always thought clean outs would be installed in such a way that if you were to "snake" the line your snake could only go the one way. If you can wire brush the side by the WFC it may have an arrow pointing downstream. It does look strange due to there's no way to unscrew that top easily.

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                        • #13
                          I would ask around to your neighbors and confirm if everything in the neighborhood was built with clay sewer/wastewater piping to the city sewer. If so, very good chance of pipe breakage. My sister-in-law had this problem. They found with a camera down the pipe. Also, ground settling at a foundation or otherwise can break old clay pipes.
                          Unless you have females flushing female things (i.e. tampons and pads) down your pipes or something big and absorbent, it might be hard to get that cling clogged up. The house I lived in at college had a sewer back up due to 4 females living in the house before us and flushing those things. I know because the plumber snaked them out through the cleanout.
                          Also, if you don't plan to be in the house forever, you can have the plumbers route something through broken clay pipes to clean as much tree root out as possible, but this is a "temporary" fix.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by homer12 View Post
                            I would ask around to your neighbors and confirm if everything in the neighborhood was built with clay sewer/wastewater piping to the city sewer. If so, very good chance of pipe breakage. My sister-in-law had this problem. They found with a camera down the pipe. Also, ground settling at a foundation or otherwise can break old clay pipes.
                            Unless you have females flushing female things (i.e. tampons and pads) down your pipes or something big and absorbent, it might be hard to get that cling clogged up. The house I lived in at college had a sewer back up due to 4 females living in the house before us and flushing those things. I know because the plumber snaked them out through the cleanout.
                            Also, if you don't plan to be in the house forever, you can have the plumbers route something through broken clay pipes to clean as much tree root out as possible, but this is a "temporary" fix.
                            I had roots from a Norway Maple in my sewer lateral and the tree is directly over it. The city claims it wouldn't cause this, yet there's nothing else that's close enough to be a problem.

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                            • #15
                              If you end up with tree roots blocking your line, look into the sleeving technique they can do now right through the pipe. They can put a line into the pipe which is double walled and basically give you a new lined pipe without any digging. Much easier than digging up your whole yard.

                              As old as that work looks, it's probably not just a simple clog. Tree roots are my bet.

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