Repairing Sewer Pipe from inside

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by Lakee911, Feb 2, 2008.

  1. Lakee911

    Lakee911 I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP)

    Messages:
    1,328
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    Among other problems with my sewerline, I've got a hole in the pipe just on the outside of my foundation. This is also where roots are entering my pipe. It's 4" cast Iron.

    The concrete slab is all but gone in the corner where the pipe exits the house.

    [​IMG]
    (Click for bigger pic)

    I'm thinking that the wastewater is seeping into the ground from the hole in the pipe. It's always wet in the corner and after washing clothes or long showers it smells kind of bad in that area, but there isn't any overflowing from the drain.

    Do you think it's possible to bust out a couple concrete blocks and part of the footer to expose the pipe and replace the section where there is a hole?

    It's 5- 6feet down and a new (only 1.5 years old) sidewalk is right above this outside. :(

    Thanks,
    Jason
  2. patrick88

    patrick88 Plumber

    Messages:
    836
    Location:
    Webster Ma.
    The crack could run out beyond the foundation wall and under the sidewalk you don't want to open. I think you would be better off replacing the full drain to the street. At least to the next hub down. When cast iron cracks it tend to crack more than an inch or two.
  3. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,304
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    sewer

    Your picture does not show much. I cannot see a hole or crack in that cast iron fitting.
  4. Lakee911

    Lakee911 I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP)

    Messages:
    1,328
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    Yes, I know. The hole is on the otherside of the foundation. That's basicly the area that I would have to be working in from the inside. The hole is in the elbow where it turns right outside of the foundation, if I remember correctly. I'm going to camera that sewer again. The last guy that came wasn't able to give me a video. :(
  5. what I would do

    We have had to be creative in the past on
    a few messes that were literally impossible
    to repair from out under the sidewalk or under
    the pourch....

    when you just cant tear the whole house down or
    tear out the sidewalk, driveway, or whatever....

    usually it has been broken clay tile in most of

    the " manhood contests" I have encountered....



    Now this is what you might want to try.

    if it is a straight shot
    for a goood distance past the break ....with no bends.....




    1. cut your line inside the house...

    2. clean out the roots all the way to the main sewer.
    and flush it out good..

    3 You will have to Reduce the size of the pipe to 3 inch pvc and
    see how far down the 4 inch pipe the 3 inch pvc
    will go..... dont get it stuck

    if you are lucky enough to get way past the break,

    this will suffice and the drain line will work....

    untill you finally have to change out the whole line someday

    even though you
    had to reduce the line to 3 inch....it will last a long, long time.


    4. install a new clean out for the future..
    just in case .. attach the whole thing back up as best possible
    with fernco clamps to the 4 inch

    yes I realize that you are reduceing the line from 4 to 3
    but it will work fine in a sutuation like that.

    or untill you work up the courage to attack it from out in the yard.....


    I am sure this advice will get howls of protest from many here

    but it has gotten me out of a few really nasty dumps over the years
    and they are still working fine. today
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2008
  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,824
    Location:
    New England
    There are companies that reline the pipe from the inside. Costly, but then again, so is tearing up landscaping, sidewalks, etc. You could see if there is a company in your area and get a quote.
  7. Lakee911

    Lakee911 I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP)

    Messages:
    1,328
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    Well, the problem with mine is that it comes down the stack, angles 45 degrees and then exits through (or maybe under) the footer out the side of the house. Then it turns 90 degrees and heads out to the street. So, there is no way to push a pipe down there.

    To complicate things furthur, at 75 feet a little before it ties in to the city's 6" clay pipe and probably under my front sidewalk, knowing my luck, there is an offset joint. It's probably a 1-1.5" offset--flow having to go up. I think that TP gets stuck here often. I cleaned roots in November. It clogged in Dec and was cameraed and cleaned in December. It just clogged this evening again. I've put in a message to come have it cleaned again tonight. I hope they can get back to me tonight. 24 hour service, but they might be "busy on a call" during the game.

    When it was cameraed last time, we also found out that the pipe is cast iron, but all the pipes have been laid backwards, so there is a little step up at every joint. :(

    Forget repairing the hole from inside now....I'm thinking about seeing if it could be lined. If they can reline it, I'll probably rent a backhoe and dig up the offset myself and fix it.

    How expensive can this be? The sewer is in the center of street and it's about 90 feet from where it leaves the house. Can someone here recommend a plumber buddy in Columbus, OH? I know a lot of you aren't too far away.

    I really like pushing the 3" pipe down, but it's not possible to go around the corner, and knowing that I'll get stuck at every pipe joint, it probably wouldn't go very well.

    Thx
    Jason
  8. Lakee911

    Lakee911 I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP)

    Messages:
    1,328
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    Attached is a view of my sewer lateral looking up from the city's 8" sewer in the street. It looks like there is another offset in the clay pipe one joint from the lateral. I'm assuming it's a a 3 foot section of clay pipe and that it's 6" diameter. It's located under the street.

    My sewer is 4" cast iron and I've only been able to camera about 70-75 feet from the house. This ties in around 90-something feet, so I've not seen some of the pipe between the two.

    A friend of mine is locating my permit circa 1923 to see what else it has on it. I know this 8" sewer is 8 feet below grade. After I collect some more information I can do some measuring to find out the depth of mine line from the house to the street.

    Jason

    Attached Files:

  9. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Messages:
    2,713
    Location:
    Central Florida
    I like the backhoe idea. Bite the bullet and do it right.
  10. toolaholic

    toolaholic General Contractor Carpenter

    Messages:
    874
    Location:
    Marin Co. Ca.
    Never get a camera job without a tape or disk! Many times ,this is a ploy to not let the competion bid on the work! The National cos are known for this.
    They then can charge $7000 for a $3000 job. A lining job May cost $7000
    depending on length. You can borrow My back hoe ,It's here in The Bay Area
  11. Lakee911

    Lakee911 I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP)

    Messages:
    1,328
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    Well, my dumb-"orifice" didn't get a copy from them. I wish I had. I will ask them when they're out if I can get a copy of it.

    I got my permit.

    [​IMG]

    It has a little more information on it. I see the depth is 5ft at the curb. That's handy to have. I think with the location from the cameraing from the east and the location from the west on the permit I can narrow it down.

    I called RotoRooter and the guy was an "orifices" himself. I told him what the issues were and asked for a ballpark estimate. He told me $150/hr for relining then $150/ft later plus the cost of digging up the line at the curb and at the house to access it. Then he tried to sell me rootx treatment. I told him that I already used it. He told me that I couldn't have and it must have been copper sulfate. I told him it 4LB of rootx, mixxed up and let it sit overnight. He said, "Nope. We've never been there. It couldn't have been." So, after that I say forget it from them.

    Actually, he just called back and told me they would camera it for free. Earlier it was $200 and then credited towards the cost of repair. So, I say what the hell, let him come out. I'll try to get the tape. We'll see.

    Jason
  12. Lakee911

    Lakee911 I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP)

    Messages:
    1,328
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    Thanks, tool. Do you deliver? :)
  13. Lakee911

    Lakee911 I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP)

    Messages:
    1,328
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    Ok. This guy shows up and says he didn't know he was supposed to camera it and that his camera is broken anyways. Hmmm ... Then he talks me out of relining because it's $100/ft. He gives me an estimate for open trench with site restoration, except concrete work, for $7700! My other estimate from a small local company was $2300.

    He says he'll come back and camera it in the next couple of days. I doubt it. I almost called him on his bluff and told him to go get it, let's take a look anyways.

    These guys suck. I guess I have to pay for his bosses boat ;) He also told me that it's illegal for a homeowner, or someone not licensed as a "sewer tapper" to excevate for the intention of repairing a sewer line themselves. He told me people go to jail for this sort of thing. Is that true?

    To fix the offset only. $5000. The small local company quoted me a G for just the repair of the offset only.

    Jason
  14. TMB9862

    TMB9862 New Member

    Messages:
    206
    For $2300 I'd get the line replaced unless you are tearing up half the road or something else expensive to do it. Just make sure the company is licensed and insured.
    Just forget about Rotor Rooter or whoever is trying to charge you double the other guys quote. Honestly if I came and ran a camera through your line for free I wouldn't give you the tape. Why would I do free work for my competition. Now if you paid the guy for it it's another story.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 4, 2008
  15. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,824
    Location:
    New England
    In many places I understand it is illegal to make a connection to the sewer without the proper license and permits, but I seriously doubt they could prevent you from digging up your yard. Just get "DigSafe" or whatever they call it in your area to locate the other utilities so you don't chop into one of them - digging without that and damaging a utility line probably is illegal...survey first, then it's their problem if they missed something (course, if the house blows up if they mismarked the gas line, it might be hard, regardless!).
  16. Lakee911

    Lakee911 I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP)

    Messages:
    1,328
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    That's true. For jerking me around though, I might trick them in to locating the break for me. Of course if I were them, I wouldn't tell me where it is exactly. :) Heh
  17. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    If you can open up the wall and burrow out a bit you may be able to cut the pipe beyond the hole and splice on a piece of 4" of whatever meets the code.

    If I were going to hire someone I would call a plumber and ask for a price to get it repaired. I would tell the plumber that replacing the whole pipe is not an option so he doesn't get the idea that he can talk you into a "replace the whole line" job.

    If you are into DIY you could try burrowing around the pipe before you call the plumber.

    Another way if you dig it out would be to encase the area in concrete. That would involve securing a small patch over the hole to keep the concrete out; then load the whole thing with concrete. Another solution would be to repair the area with a complete wrap of fiberglass/epoxy.

    The outside of the pipe should be well-cleaned before either concrete or fiberglass is applied.

    If I were doing it myself it would probably be the fiberglass/epoxy.

    Other DIY options (probably not to code) might be a couple of layers of rubber with large hose clamps.
  18. Lakee911

    Lakee911 I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP)

    Messages:
    1,328
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    That's a good idea, Bob. Although this hole with roots is not my priority right now, I didn't think about patching it or concrete encasement. I would need remove some concrete blocks on the bottom course of the wall to get to it. The concrete blocks are not concrete filled either.

    I would most likely need to remove 1 or 1-1/2 blocks in the bottom row above the footer to access the pipe. Also, this would require removal of the sink and the entire waste stack in the basement to even access the area. I'm also likely to furthur damage the pipe if I try.

    Can I remove the blocks from near (not directly under) the corner of the foundation without risking damage to the wall? I thought about boring two or three 5/8" holes in the mortar joints above the block I'm removing. I could drive some 1/2" rebar into the earth below the existing block to remain. Maybe drive it in 18" or as far as possible. I could use some angle iron to support the inside of the rebar and essentially create a little scaffolding to hold the block in place. Doable?

    Thx
    Jason

    PS I sucessfully located where my sewer lateral tie in the center of the street (city sewer). When I pulled up the CAD file and measured 138.5 feet from the west manhole (on the permit) and 72.6 (or was it 76.2?) feet from the east manhole (from cameraing measurement), they were off by 4". The problem is, I think those are wyes that tie into the city sewer. So, I would have to assume that it comes all the way to curb at 45degrees. Unfortunately, the permit says the extended service at the lot is at the same measurement (138.5). :(
  19. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    The concrete blocks above the hole in the wall will act as an arch and will support themselves. Also, the wall above has a lot of stiffness and will support itself across a couple of feet without any problem.

    If you have reason to be concerned you could support the joists that are above the hole by putting a header under them and supporting them with a doubled 2x4 column on each side of the hole. If you supported a total of 3 joists at the hole with the posts about 32" apart and 8" overhang you would have some working space. Maybe one of the columns would be right in the corner.

    I would put the columns against the foundation wall because the footing is wider than the block wall. If you drive wedges between the header and the joists before you remove the blocks you will take the load on the columns.

    I would try to avoid removing blocks or digging under the corner. You should also try to avoid digging UNDER the footing, but if you must, you will want to remove ALL loose dirt and pour a new footing on firm soil.

    The footing loads are (should be) designed for 40 # per sq ft snow load on the roof and 40 # per sq ft floor loads, with some reduction in the floor load due to large contributing area. Nobody ever has that much load on a floor.
  20. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,453
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Yep same here! Pay for that camera you get the tape and locating with extreme accuracy everything you need to fix the line. Free camera? you get a line replacement/repair quote and thats it!

    It should be interesting to see you find the difference between proposed, planned, and as built... Could be a bunch of digging! I don't dig for a pipe unless my Ridgid Navitrak said thats where to dig!
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2008
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