Collapsed Sewer Lines


I need help here guys and gals...
I've had at least 3 plumbers and the Water Works to make an "eyeball" diagnosis that my sewer line has collapsed or has tree roots going into it which is causing sewage overflow in the bottom level bathroom of my split level home. My house is situated on a hill which makes the sewer line approximately 78 ft. to the road and approximately 8 ft deep at the drain by the road. A couple of plumbers have told me that all the pipes in my neighborhood are made of the paper/tar pipes and eventually collapse and are prone to root growth. Additionally, I have no cleanout valve. Problem is, I've had several opinions of what needs to be done - dig up entire line @ $3300 or bust into the main line and replace/repair the blockage with installation of a cleanout valve. I'm quite frustrated at this point because even after having a video inspection, the cause of the blockage could not be determined (water in sewage line). I feel like I'm throwing away $$$ in an bottomless pit with estimates and opinions and the rentals of augers/ snakes/root killers. I don't know who's telling the truth at this point and who's looking out for my best interest in terms of $$. The Water Works was kind enough to snake the line to the house and advised since there was mud present, the line may have collapsed. I'm leaning towards the diagnosis from the WW.
My question is, what should my next course of action be? Dig up the entire line? Get another opinion from another plumber to repair blockage? Have another inspection? What's your experience of the cost involved? Any suggestions would be much appreciated!
Drowning in my own....
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I don't think you have much choice. In reality, $3300 sounds reasonable for the amount of work to be done. If it is collapsed, you'll end up replacing the entire line anyway, either now or later at even higher cost. Once the equipment is on-site, it is cheaper to just keep on digging instead of making a second trip in a week, or month or year.
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kind of problem. I would find out the manufacturer of the sewer pipe and find if there has been a legal settlement over the problem. In the mean time I would rent a Kubota backhoe B21 and dig the line up for myself. It takes about two hours to become proficient at using the backhoe and it will save you a ton of money (unless someone else is going to pay.) The backhoe uses two hand operated joy stick type levers to operate and is kind of like a reality video game. If you can't do it get your kids to do it. They love running these things. I believe the B21 digs to 9 feet. I own a BX24 that digs to six feet. But you can use the front loader to dig an access lane to allow deeper cuts. You can dig your trench in about 1 to 3 days.
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snipped-for-privacy@cfcv.com wrote:

For the history: http://www.sewerhistory.org/grfx/components/pipe-orng1.htm
One town's story: http://www.whotv.com/Global/story.asp?S%99369
Have neighbors had this work done? Get recommendations?
The price you were given for replacement doesn't sound bad, but of course you'll want to get a few more quotes *in writing*. The bid should stipulate that the contractor is licensed and that he will be responsible for getting permits, etc.
What about damages the excavating causes? Spell that out. How long will you be without any sewer?? Spell that out.
Often, the house water line was placed in the same trench with the sewer. Spell out who will pay for a new water line if damaged or if the line is found to be defective in some way. How long could you be without water? And would the same contractor handle replacement or would you be at the mercy of someone else in what would be an emergency?
Get proof of contractor liability and workers comp coverage.
There are many surprises that contractors can have in store for the unwary. -------------- Can the sewer be simply "re-lined"? Ask around, but collapsed Orangeburg may not support re-lining and could be just as expensive.
Jim
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If the line is still passing a little water try my favorite root killer, its cheap, non hazardous and highly effective. my line is terracota with a joint every 3 feet, every joint but one had tree roots in it.
Ever notice how rocksalt kills grass around sidewalks?:)
Dump a 25 pound bag in a wash tub mix hot water to help it dissolve and try and get most of it down line, then go out for day so the salt stays in contact with the roots kiiling them
been doing this for 10 years now with no problems, just repeat 3 to 4 times a year, to keep the roots from regrowing.
you can use rock or softener salt, it can do no harm and may just save you the cost of a new line
my 80 foot line estimate was about 8 grand I can buy salt forever to save that much $
the water in your line may be a sagged or low spot, not necessarily collapse.
they can also clean and install a vinyl liner and avoid nearly all the digging, pricey but saves execavating.
but please try the salt and let us know what happens
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anon44 had written this in response to http://www.thestuccocompany.com/maintenance/Re-Collapsed-Sewer-Lines-191591-.htm :
snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Just going through this ordeal. I'd like to try the rock salt. My concern would be that the roots are growing down from the top of the pipe and the rock salt will sit on the bottom of the pipe. Won't make contact with the roots causing the problem.
The salt might work if the drain were still clogged but now with water quickly flowing out.
Unless there's some way to keep the salt in place?
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anon44 wrote:

http://www.thestuccocompany.com/maintenance/Re-Collapsed-Sewer-Lines-191591-.htm
Would roots really grow from the top of the pipe? Do most tree roots like to grow through air?
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most roots are above the height of the sewer line and naturally grow down to water.... besides trees breathe air thru roots.
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bob haller wrote:

I suspect that roots are more likely to seek out the leakage at the bottom of the pipe to get the water and nutrients than to foloow (what?) into the barren dry top of the pipe. Sure they grow down. They get near the bootom of the pipe and discover what they want, then grow up if needed into the pipe.
It might be interesting to see some pictures of roots in a pipe. I bet they are mostly coming in the bottom, then growing up as the block the flow and rais the level within the pipe.
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Bob F wrote:

Well, the following suggests I was wrong.
http://stillwater.org/content/2008/tree-root-problem.php
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Bob F wrote:

probably don't grow into the portion of the line that contains water all of the time. They also would be likely to branch across the air space to more moisture. Once they are in the line, then they are the base to snag tissue and any other solids that come along. Discovered that using my disposal before we found the sewer line of our condo was badly deteriorated. Ours is cast iron, about 40 y/o, and the plumber said 35-40 yrs. is about max of expected life.
I can't imagine how dumping rock salt into the line would accomplish much, if anything - it would be washed away in fairly short order. We live on salt water, so if salt in soil kept much of anything from growing, the ground should be bare. Lots of plants don't mind a little sale.
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snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net wrote:

And rock salt isn't going to help that cast iron last any longer.
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my line and most lines in the pittsburgh area are terracota, rock salt kills the roots fast while leaving the trees and bushes unharmed.
the video i have shows nearly all roots entering from the top.
dump rock salt water before leaving for work in morning so max salt exposure can occur..
other than a main cast iron line what harm can salt do if your thinking of replacing the line anyway?
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bob haller wrote:

The person I was responding to said his line was cast iron.
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On Oct 5, 11:37am, anon44_at_mailinator_dot snipped-for-privacy@foo.com (anon44) wrote:

Not sure what research you have done, but if you can get a video shot of where the problem is, it is worth it.
In our case we were preparing to sell our home and the inspector discovered roots from the big fir tree out front had blocked about 75% of the flow. We did need to do some smaller excavation, then the sewer contractor used a cutter of some kind to travel inside the pipe and shear off the roots. They sucked out the root fragments, then a slightly smaller diameter pipe was inserted inside the existing one to "replace" the section that had allowed the roots in.
We used the "after" video following the fix to show the prospective buyers. The cost of this approach was about half of the original estimates to dig up and replace the line. However, they managed to confine the excavation to a small area at the edge of the lawn, so that was a bonus. The contractor even joked that we could plant an ornamental tree on the dug-up section and make it look like landscaping ;-)
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On Feb 4, 2:26 pm, snipped-for-privacy@cfcv.com wrote:

If the line is starting to collapse , you might as well get it all done now , rather than have a series of problems.
You may save some money by digging the trench yourself , or hiring an excavator to do it.
Find out before you start if the water line is in the same trench
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For $3000.00 you would be better off replacing the line. Piecemeal repair is probably going to exceed that price.
Bill
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On Feb 4, 3:26�pm, snipped-for-privacy@cfcv.com wrote:

First its hard to tell well crap from mud:(
water laying in line with roots is common, lines sag low spots over time
before spending thousands try dissolving a 25 or 50 pound bag of rock salt and see if it helps...
it cant hurt is maybe 6 bucks and you may be successful like I am.
If it doesnt help our out 6 dollars a measley amount
rovck salt is my friend its worked great for 10 years and yeah 2 plumbers had snaked the line and said it must be replaced, about 10 years ago.
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You could just tar the walls tightly on that bottom level bathroom, seal the doors and windows, and let it fill up. When it's full, get a septic pumper to pump it out and repeat this again when needed. Just call it a septic tank. You can get your own pump too and poump it down the hill for fertilizer.
Tar and paper pipes sound like real junk. Why even bother to fix such trash. Replace all of it if you need to dig. Use PVC or Cast Iron.
I am not the OP, but I am the POman
PoPoPoPo --------------
On 4 Feb 2007 12:26:50 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@cfcv.com wrote:

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