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Draining my Patience

Friday, March 30th, 2007

I have a pretty serious drainage problem at our current house. Basically the storm sewer is blocked somewhere so the water in the sump pump crock has nowhere to go. The crock fills up, the pump kicks on and pumps the water out the storm sewer pipe. As the water is pumped out, the pressure in that pipe builds up and it just blows back into the crock rather noisily.

After a couple days of this I tell Jackie at work who calls Rotorooter. This guy shows up a couple hours later and starts poking around. He checks out the sump pump and starts loosening the straps connecting the pump to the sewer. He sees how much pressure is built up and water starts spewing out and he tightens it back down saying he needs to call in an appraiser. He then hands me a bill for $130 (which I promptly handed to the business office at work).

The appraiser calls on Monday morning saying we should wait to do anything until the next non-rainy day. I call him the next day and say lets do it. He basically calls Rotorooter to come back and fix the problem without actually coming out here to see the problem himself.

Rotorooter guy #2 shows up and picks up where #1 left off. He takes the pump connection off and cables the pipe. By "cable" I mean he uses that big motorized snake with the nasty cutting blade on the end of it to get through clogs and roots. So he cables the pipe as far as it'll go and puts it all back together. That didn't fix the problem. Then he goes outside to cable one of the down spouts (gutter drains) near the garage. He gets about 50 feet in and his cabling machine breaks. The cable bow-ties in the machine and won't go in or out. He calls for someone else to come out and leaves.

#3 shows up an hour or so later, goes back in the basement and re-cables the storm sewer. He starts seeing mud and sand and concludes that the pipe must be broken which is why it isn't draining and why mud is backing up. He tells me to call the town of Brighton since that would be their problem.

So I call the sewer dispatcher for Brighton and their foreman shows up an hour later. He pokes around for a while and finds the trap in the yard for storm sewer. He says I need to get a plumber to cable from the trap in the yard to the street to find out where the problem is. See if the problem is between the street and two feet from the sidewalk, it's Brighton's problem and they'll fix it on their dime; while if the problem is anywhere else it's the home owner's (Harley's) problem. He also asks me to call him when I get someone out there so he can work with him.

Plumber #4 shows up the next day and cables from the trap. He pulls out all sorts of crazy roots, some of which were as big around as my little finger! He gets all the way under the street (about 70 feet), but still doesn't fix my problem. This guy did put a check-valve in the sump pump pipe so that what water it does pump out won't come flooding back in right away. That at least slowed the process down a little; with the valve in place the pump doesn't need to run so often.

After 4 plumbers and 1 Brighton Sewer Foreman over the course of a week so far, not much has been fixed. I think the best course of action is to have them dig up and replace the old p-trap in the yard with a straight pipe right into the basement. That'll probably be pretty pricey, but it's most likely necessary and since I don't own the house, I don't really care what it takes to fix it.

Comments (5) Subscribe

#1 - Apr 1, 2007 at 5:43 PM
Ah, I see you changed the number routine here. Anyway after we got done laughing (yes I had to read this out loud to Robert), aren't you glad you're moving soon and it's not your house!
#2 - Apr 1, 2007 at 8:55 PM
I'm so glad to be moving soon, but I'm still irritated that this is happening far enough from our moving date to be a pain.
#3 - Apr 3, 2007 at 11:28 AM
At least you have a sump pump. Our water table is so high, if we put one in, we'd have a pool in our basement. I had to dig a hole in the backyard last year just to drain some standing water. Got Koi?
#4 - Apr 3, 2007 at 12:54 PM
Really? Your house is on a pretty serious hill (if I remember correctly), I'm surprised the water doesn't just continue running down the hill over the road and into the lake.
#5 - Apr 4, 2007 at 5:55 AM
It runs down the hill, stops briefly in the backyard (reason for hole) and then continues down under the basement (sometimes through) and under the driveway and under the road to an underground drain pipe. The house has a french drain also draining into the pipe. Our neighbor, who sits higher up on the hill, just had their driveway re-paved last year and had 3 pipes put in under their driveway (one for their sump pump drain)to channel the water from their basement. They hoped it would help channel the run-off down the hill and help us, but it is hard to say whether it does help us or not. The road behind us is not called Springbrook Trail for nothing.

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