Sewer line break in rubble-filled crawl space

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by neverenoughtools, Dec 17, 2008.

  1. neverenoughtools

    neverenoughtools New Member

    Messages:
    2
    The stats: 87 year old home with a full height basement, flanked by crawl spaces front and back. Basement is block with cement floor, crawl spaces are gravel-filled. No, make that rubble-filled, otherwise it's insulting to good quality gravel.

    Original cast iron sewer line ran along the surface of rear crawl space, exiting just below grade into back yard, to what used to be a septic system. Hooked up to city sewer line since mid-70's.

    That old cast iron line in the crawl space just split right down the seam, but the fill in the crawl space soaked up much of what was discharged....until it became saturated and everything else overflowed onto the basement floor, which we discovered 4 days ago! With only 2 adults and one child in the house using just one toilet, I'm guessing the break was there some time before we found it, but who knows what the saturation point of that crawlspace was.

    My question -- All piping is being fixed, re-routing around any remaining 87-year old pipe and tapping right into the 30-year old pipe, but what to do about the crawlspace, which has become a mini septic field? Soak in some bleach and see if it all just percs down over time? Excavate? If so, how deep? Crawl space to basement floor is about 5', and flood area was maybe 30' sq. That's a hefty volume of crap (pun intended) to dig out by hand if I have to go all the way down. Opinions?

    Thanks.
  2. kingsotall

    kingsotall Plunger/TurdPuncher

    If you can spread lime around the crawlspace that will neutralize the sewer in the ground. Don't know if the child will be able to get near the lime but you will want to be very careful in that regards.
  3. lots of lime and visqueen

    get a lot of lime, 5 -10 bags worth and spread it around...

    wear a mask , and get something to spread that stuff evenly over the whole area...

    and perhaps some visqueen to cover that whole area up with..when you are through....


    and you might just want to run a few fans to dry it all out first,,, unless that would smell up the home...

    I would not dig that gravel up for anybody...

    eventually it will all just sink away into the ground....


    the real problem is having to go back into that crawl space some day and wallow in all that old lime....

  4. Ladiesman271

    Ladiesman271 Homeowner

    Messages:
    221
    For get the lime idea. Just let it be for now.

    Is the crawl space ventilated?
  5. neverenoughtools

    neverenoughtools New Member

    Messages:
    2
    ventilated?

    Only in so much as there is no barrier between it and my full basement, which itself can be vented through any of several windows, but leaving them open in December in NJ only works some days, like the one we just had when it hit 60.
  6. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,453
    Location:
    Connecticut
    I would contact your Homeowners Insurer.

    In most cases they will send a company like servicemaster or, servpro out to do a clean up job. Actually in many cases like this our company says clean it first so we can safely work.
  7. calsplumbing

    calsplumbing Plumber

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    San Diego, Ca
    Contact a professional abatement company to handle the sewage spill. Your homeowners insurance might cover the expense. Let a pro do it. You'll have peace of mind and the abatement company takes responsibility for the clean-up.
  8. theplumber

    theplumber Member

    Messages:
    49
    Location:
    CA
    You could lay some cardboard in it to soak it up. Then toss the cardboard. Spray bleach all over the area once it's all dried up. I'd stay away from the lime and a professional company who's just going to charge you an arm and a leg to soak it up, spray bleach and rent you fans by the day. They'll come back 2 months later and give you a huge bill.
  9. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,453
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Actually most homeowners policies cover this...
  10. theplumber

    theplumber Member

    Messages:
    49
    Location:
    CA
    with no deductible?
  11. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,453
    Location:
    Connecticut
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