City water/swer, but home sewer pipe extremely high

I'm posting because I;m having a hard time finding any stories with the same situation.
Our house was built in 1929. It's in town (a little separated from "Main Street", but still in town; we're on a little dead-end street with just 6 houses, but it's off of a main road with plenty of development close on 2 sides).
We are on city water and swer, but our main sewer pipe leaves the house through the basement wall only 1 1/2 or 2' below ground level. Everyonre else seems to have pipes exiting either through their basement floor or much lower down the basement wall. Our main exiting pipe is a big cast iron or fired clay number; all the toilets, bathwater, sink drains, etc. connect up to this at some point, some of them very close to the exit, but the big MAIN exit (about 8" in diameter, I think) exits through the cinderblock foundation just 1 1/2 feet below ground level.
Should I be worried? This seems to have confused several of the handymen-types I know, and I can't find stores of similar situations anywhere. Is it that the house used to have its own septic tank, but then got tied to city water/sewer later? if so, where's the tie? Is there some resurce I have for finding out exactly where my sewer pipe drains into the city's? Should I worry about freezing, or if I ever drive a truck over the lawn at that point? I've been told we need to replace all this big ancient pipe anyway, but if I do that, should I address what happens outside the foundation as well? I don't want to update all the internal plumbing just to have everything go to the dogs right outside the foundation.
We're in Michigan. Granted, nothing bad's happened yet, I'm just concerned because of the apparent abnormalcy of the situation.
Anyone seen this before, or have guesses as to what led up to this, or opinions on whether it's a concern?
Thanks for reading, I would appreciate any feedback/advice.
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Well.....its been working for nearly 80 years so I doubt its going to fail tomorrow.
Freezing? I doubt its much of an issue....water exiting the house is house temp (more or less) & only in the drain pipes for a few seconds at most...not enough time to freeze. Fresh water supply freezing is an issue.
Keep truck off your lawn & away from the pipe.
8" sounds rather large...unless it used to be a hotel.
I've got a house built in 1930 (SoCal) that I've owned for nearly 30 years. I don't know the condition of your home but if its anything like mine when I bought...you'd better get handy pretty quickly or have deep pockets.
I'd be more worried about roots in the sewer pipes. cheers Bob
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If it has been working since 1929, good chance it will continue to work. Sewer lines should not have standing water in them to freeze. I'm confused though, you say the drains connect to the main and then there is the big MAIN. There can only be one main. It is the same pipe that changes size? 8" is very large.

Probably not.

Contact the sewer department. Our building at work was tied into the sewer in the early 1900's and they have a diagram of all the lines connecting. We recently had to replace one and the drawing was handy as there are four lines going to one main.
Should I worry about freezing, or if I ever drive a truck over the

I'd avoid concrete trucks unless you know how deep it is where the truck would cross. Why does it have to be replaced? Rotted out?

I don't think it is all that abnormal. I've seen sewer go out fairly high in basements.
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Very likely your house was originally on a septic tank. Probably the first house on the street. The pipe would exit through the wall and enter the septic tank a few feet away. Since the septic tank would be just a foot or possibly slightly deeper below the soil level, the pipe exiting the house could not go any deeper. This is the way it is with septic tanks.
A common practice when converting over to city sewers, is to collapse or remove the septic tank and connect the sewer line to the drain pipe where it previously entered the septic tank. This is why your drain line exits the house so high. Possibly the city sewer lateral will be a different material to the pipe exiting your house, and most likely it will angle down deeper to connect with the sewer main. Depending on when the sewer connection was installed will determine what type of piping material they used.
Your handymen are not very knowledgeable, and probably have never seen a septic tank plumbing arrangement.

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Our Taj Mahal here in small town Central Illinois had just exactly that setup when we bought it. Worked fine for a number of years, then lots of trouble. Turned out that the septic tank had collapsed, because back in 1908 or whenever, it was easier to fabricate and install a steel tank than to deal with huge and heavy cast concrete structures that came later. Time and corrosion finally did it in and the only solution to that problem was a new line to the sewer in the street which happened to be more than a dozen feet underground IIRC. There was also a dug water well maybe ten feet away with an old hand pump on top. The state EPA had a contractor come in and fill the well due to some obscure law about its location within half mile of a school. So our back yard finally lost that quaint country look. Anyway, the drain line going through the wall a foot and a half below ground level has never caused any problems. And in fact, there is a sewer vent line just outside projecting out of the ground about 2' or so, grandfathered in by the old building codes.. It isn't pretty, but when the bushes get a little higher it will be a non-issue.
Joe
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CompleteNewb wrote:

I'm on septic and the pipe exits about 2' down. The tank in the back yard is about the same depth. No problems with freezing, as the piddle and poo add enough contamination to the water to prevent it from freezing in Upstate NY winters.
That said, where the sewer line exits your house will depend on how much fall there is between your house and the sewer main at the street. Sewage can't flow uphill. Is your house in a dip or hole?
I'd imagine the 8" line is probably really only a 5" or 6" line, since you're estimating based on the outside diameter, and these pipes are VERY thick-walled.

Are these "handyman types" more "handicapped types?" Are they mentally retarded? If something like that throws them off feed, do not hire them for any future work.
I'd imagine if the house were originally on septic, they tied into the line just outside the basement wall when they ran the line in from the street. That's typically how they do it. The only way to find out exactly what's going on is to dig a hole.
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i wouldnt worry about it.
its possible that since you at the begining of a sewer run the local street ine is shallow.
although my in laws are on septic and their line leaves the home like yours does, very shallow.........
relax theres something else breaking in your home, then you will have something to really worry about
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Thanks everybody, I appreciate your input. I figured the same about "if it's worked for 80 years, it's probbaly not a serious issue."
I will have to replace it at some point soon, though, I think, because there is a very very very slow drip that's brown but doesn't stink; I think it's just corrosion, but I've heard these types of pipes will eventually corrode so much they need replacing anyway.
Thanks again. I'm sure I'll be talking to everyone again REAL soon :>).

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