Dip in the line or "belly" of my sewer line

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by vsalge, Nov 13, 2008.

  1. vsalge

    vsalge New Member

    Messages:
    6
    I recently discovered a dip in the line or "belly" of my sewer line which is in the slab of my house. The house is 5 years old. I've had a plumber run a snake and twice they have confirmed I have about 3 or 4 dips. I've owned this house for 3 years and the previous owner had the same problem. I found this out from the neighbors. This was not disclosed in my closing. I discovered the problem once my toilet backed up into my tub. Do I have any options on who is responsible for paying for repairs? The original plumber is coming to inspect his work and has admitted he originally fixed the same problem 4 years ago but he seems to think, with out looking, that there are other dips now. One the seller should have disclosed this information (Arkansas is the State this is in). Second the plumber should also be responsible. These are my thoughts. Anyone have any suggestions on what I can do to get help pay for the repairs? Or do you have any suggestion on what I should do besides sucking up and paying it all myself? I assume this will end up costing 10 to 20 thousand, which would include cosmetic repairs after the dips are fixed.
  2. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,308
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    There way too much at stake here to rely on opinions and advice from plumbers and DIYers. While it certainly seems like you should have some recourse, you need to consult with an attorney who can provide you with the legal advice and opinions you need. Our opinions might or might not be valid, but they have not weight or real value toward resolving the problem. Since you very probably have to litigate this in court, the sooner you get an attorney involved the better. Good luck!
  3. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Take a look at your closing papers and you will likely find the seller has signed a statement saying s/he has disclosed everything known at the time of sale. But yes, check with an attorney and take along any warranty papers you might have.
  4. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,453
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Has the line been inspected with a camera and the bad area located?
  5. vsalge

    vsalge New Member

    Messages:
    6
    The seller most definitely did not disclose not one problem and yes he signed saying he has disclosed everything know at the time of the sell. I had the plumber out yesterday that did the repairs originally. He thinks that there are dips but in different places. He is going to bring a camera and snake it and mark the dips. He said when he repaired the dips original that the house was under a warranty from the builder. I’m afraid this is problem is caused from the foundation. My biggest fear is that I have these dips fixed and there will be more later down the road. I think it’s the builders fault and the seller for not disclosing. Bottom line, I’m sure, is I’m SOL.
  6. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,453
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Maybe/Maybe not...
    That would be up to a legal expert to decide...
  7. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    If the seller moved out of state it will be more costly to go after them legally than the cost of the fix.
  8. vsalge

    vsalge New Member

    Messages:
    6
    No the seller is still living in the town I live in. He has a lot of property in this town.
  9. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,293
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    dips

    First you would have to prove that he actually knew about the dips. The contractor was only liable for one or two years after installation, unless your state has a "hidden defects" provision for up to 10 years. Do you know DEFINITELY that the dips are under the house? If they are outside then that price is probably much too high. If the dips are under the house, then their magnitude would be a factor as to how important it is to eliminate them.
  10. Southern Man

    Southern Man DIY Hillbilly

    Messages:
    530
    Location:
    North Carolina
    I'm confused did your plumber repair the dips for the seller and they came back? What makes you think it is a foundation problem? If it was the dips would be under footings only not along a slab.

    I was an expert witness on a case hear where the seller disclosed that the basement "occasionally got wet", not an adequate description for the 4 to 6' deep floods that the buyer experienced on average, yearly. We took him to court and he settled for about 60 grand. But it cost the buyer about 1/2 that in legal fees.
  11. vsalge

    vsalge New Member

    Messages:
    6
    The seller had the plumber fix the dip that was in the slab foundation in 2004. The house was not even a year old. The plumber said he could not find a bill or payment for this service. The plumber and the seller had a few projects other then the house, going on at that time. He wasn’t sure if they just worked it out in trade??? The seller is well know in this town and is always buying and selling property. The plumber thinks the house was still under warranty at the time he fixed the dips in 2004. I bought the house in 9/2005.

    Yes the plumber that originally fixed the dips, was one of the plumbers I’ve had look at this problem. He seems to think the original dips are not the ones that I have now, which I feel could be correct. I will not know for sure until I get them marked.

    I spoke with an attorney and he said to find out as much information I could on my on then come back and talk to him. He said these types of problems can be a gray area. My main issue is that the seller did not disclose the pluming issue at all. If he had I would have made sure I had everything checked first.

    The reason I think this is a foundation problem because I do have a crack in my kitchen floor tile and on one wall in a separate room around the door facing, it’s about 12 inches.
  12. Southern Man

    Southern Man DIY Hillbilly

    Messages:
    530
    Location:
    North Carolina
    If the seller paid a plumber to fix it and he did, or claimed that he did, then there would be no reason to disclose it. Although I'm not sure how he could fix the problem without cutting out portions of the slab. You may have to subpoena the plumber's records to find out exactly what he did do. He may be your enemy, not the seller.

    Get him to TV the line and before you pay his bill insist that he provide you the records. Then get your attorney to write him a letter.

    Small cracks in floor tile and around door frames are typically considered normal. Tile can be re-grouted and drywall can be patched very inexpensively.
  13. vsalge

    vsalge New Member

    Messages:
    6
    You are correct the slab was cut out, then the dips that had been discovered were fixed and the concrete was filled back in.

    To everyone that has replied, THANK YOU. Any and all correspondence has been helpful and appreciated. It is so helpful to hear what everyone has to say or your options.

    I realize my end result may be that I will just have to pay to have the issues fixed. I just want to know I’ve looked into everything possible. Plus I just want to make sure I do not have to do it again.
  14. Southern Man

    Southern Man DIY Hillbilly

    Messages:
    530
    Location:
    North Carolina
    What is the plumber's explanation of how the problem reappeared? Do your neighbors have similar problems? You should probably get the local county building inspector in and see what he says. You may have to hire a local engineer to diagnose the problem. You need to investigate what the problem is so you can fix it once and be done with it.
  15. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,293
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    dips

    If the building was still under warrantee at the time the first dips were fixed, there should not have been a bill, because it would have been the plumber's responsibility to fix them.
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