Roots and clay pipes

Discussion in 'Illinois Plumbing Code Questions' started by Balajee Vamanan, Mar 11, 2021.

  1. Balajee Vamanan

    Balajee Vamanan bj_vam

    Mar 11, 2021
    Chicago, IL
    I am under contract for a duplex-down condo in Chicago. The building has 6 units, built in 1998. I found that this unit has had sewer problems in 2019 and 2020. In 2019, roots had gotten in, clogged the sewer, and there was water damage. In 2020, some genius dumped baby wipes, clogged the sewer, and there was water damage. Looking at the repairs done in 2019 and 2020, it seems extensive (taking down the dry walls etc). The sellers shared the video of sewer scope from 2020. The video mentions "clay pipe" and "root at joints". However, they have been doing rodding regularly. I am wondering if there is a more fundamental problem here — having to do with clay pipes and lack of hydro-jetting. But I don't have a good understanding of this. Any help is really appreciated. Thanks in advance!
  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Sep 25, 2013
    Most clay pipes in the presence of trees will routinely get invaded by trees. The normal common thing is to replace the line from the cast iron coming from the foundation to at least the sidewalk with pvc, and add an outdoor cleanout near the building. Common job. When I had it done, it was much cheaper, but inflation marches on. I am going to estimate $6000 for a house, and maybe for a multi-unit condo things cost more. I don't know Chicago that well, but it is going to be a fairly common operation. An outside cleanout with an available electrical outlet makes the rodding out a lot less disruptive.

    Nearby buildings may show a strip of ground where the grass does not grow well. The common thing to do is to throw the old clay pipe on top of the new pvc pipe, and close the trench with unsorted material that was dug out. There will be a mound and you will be told it will settle.

    Better is that they cart away the old clay, and some fill dirt. Top up with topsoil with a small mound. If things settle more later, add more topsoil. Never have "black dirt" on top. Black dirt may sound similar to topsoil, but it is not even close.
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