Sewer pipe failing - suggestions?

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A week ago, on of my neighbors had his sewer back up into his basement. His house was built at the same time as mine (about 90 years ago). My wife pretty much ordered me to do whatever it takes to prevent this from happening here. Coincidentally, I received a coupon from a plumber for a $39 camera inspection of my sewer pipe. THAT is a very good price, I know people who have paid over $200 for that service.
So, the guy came, and he was friendly, knowledgeable and thorough. He spent over two hours looking and explaining. Long story short, the pipe is fucked. There are no tree roots, but there are major deposits and lots of rust. It's likely that the pipe is paper thin along its bottom. There's standing water in some places (though not very deep), and when he pulled out the camera, there was dirt (like dirt from the ground) on it.
Digging is not a very good option, as there is a large (and I mean LARGE) tree at the curb line, right above the pipe. Either the tree would have to go or they would have to open the street, which runs into over $10K just for the permits and insurance and paying two cops $65/hr to direct traffic (we see maybe ten cars a day on my street),
The other option is to hydro-blast the crud out - they can vary the pressure from 10Kpsi to 50Kpsi which will leave the pipe clean and even more fragile. Then they would reline it with this stuff: http://www.brokensewerpipedenver.com/perma-products-systems/perma-lateral-air-inversion-lining-sytstem / which leaves about a 3/16" very smooth plastic wall inside the pipe. This involves jackhammering in two places in my basement - one to bypass the whole-house trap wich is no longer required by code, and the other to gain access to the pipe just past the main stack. There is no digging required outside.
All this comes with a lifetime warranty, transferrable once, and a price tag of $7700. It takes a full day (he says there are three trucks and six people here all day), and then its done.
Good idea? Bad idea? Run like hell?
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rangerssuck wrote:

I haven't read anything in the responses so far that addresses your primary concern -> a sewer backup into your house.
So I will be the first one here to point out a device known as a "backflow preventer".
http://draincity.com/img/sewer-backflow-prevention-valve.gif
Sometimes called a "backwater valve"
http://www.backwater-valves.com /
You could have this installed regardless of the condition of the rest of the line going to the road. Any sewage backup would presumably not be able to infiltrate your basement through any holes or cracks in your existing pipe, and the backflow preventer would block any sewage from getting past your primary drain connection.
(strange cross-posting -> between rec.crafts.metalworking and alt.home.repair... Why?)
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a) the crossposting is not so strange. You'd be surprised at the number of people who frequent both groups. Now, had I sent this to misc.surivalism (where, it seems, many of the rcm people spend their lives), THAT would have been strange.
b) The backflow preventer may be a good idea, except it doesn't prevent my toilet flushings from ending up in my laundry sink; and it would still require jackhammering to access the pipe. I don't think that there's a back-up problem with the municipal sewer. It's one of the few things around here that actually does get regular maintenance.
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On Mon, 23 Apr 2012 13:20:26 -0700 (PDT), rangerssuck

Where did you get the price for replacing the sewer line? Cops redirecting no traffic where a couple cones or horses would do sounds Kafkaesque. Are you dead set on keeping the tree? How much to remove the tree? Maybe you should do some more pricing on line replacement. $7700 is a big hit for something that seems "makeshift" to me. Seems like you might be moving too fast, and you should do more homework with other sewer companies.
--
Vic.






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That sounded pretty crazy to me too. $10,000 just for permits and cops to direct traffic on a street that sees 10 cars a day? Where on earth is this place? NYC? I'm left wondering if that "number" came from the company selling the $7700 relining service.

I wonder if another option would be to run the pipe out to the meet the sewer at a different location and sealing off the other one? They would probably still have to dig down at the old location, but just a pit to get to the connection and seal it. And it would keep the new pipe away from the tree.

I would definitely get more companies out there to get ideas and estimates. I'd also carefully read the lifetime guarantee from the relining company. And find out who stands behind the guarantee, how long they've been in business, etc. A lifetime guarantee full of loopholes from a local company that's only been in business 5 years ain't worth much.
It's also amazing that if there is a large tree on top of the line, it hasn't compromised the pipe. Which gets me back to the re-lining warranty. Anything in there about the warranty being void if they attribute the failure 3 years from now to the tree?
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

I have a somewhat similar situation at a property that I own (regarding a huge oak tree at the curb right above the sewer line), although my sewer line is still good. But, if the sewer line does end up needing to be replaced, I was thinking of the same option -- moving the sewer line away from the tree and connecting it to the main sewer at a different point a few feet away.

In my situation, I too am amazed that the sewer line hasn't already been compromised or destroyed by the huge tree right above it. It seems like a problem waiting to happen, which is why I opted for buying sewer line insurance for just this one property (I don't have it on any other property) -- just in case.
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Cops redirecting traffic at construction sites (even where none exists) is apparently a state law. It's stupid, but I can only fight one thing at a time.
The tree belongs to the city and is NOT going to be removed. Even though they would probably allow it, there's no way I'm cutting down a 90 year old perfectly healthy sycamore to save a few bucks. Remember, I'm a tree-hugging liberal.
I will most definitely get competitive quotes, but I would hardly call this "makeshift". The result of this proccess is a perfectly smooth, seamless pipe. Better and stronger than PVC.
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On Tue, 24 Apr 2012 07:34:39 -0700 (PDT), rangerssuck

I agree with you but depending on how long you intend to own this house, cost vs quality may be in question.
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On Tue, 24 Apr 2012 07:34:39 -0700 (PDT), rangerssuck

I agree with you but depending on how long you intend to own this house, cost vs quality may be in question.
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On Tue, 24 Apr 2012 09:09:47 -0700 (PDT), rangerssuck

I understand .... I'm in my 14th year of our "10-year plan" !! When I bought this new house, I planned to stay at least 10 years and said to myself all bets are off beyond 10 years.
Wish you luck on your sewer job. With what you said in mind, I guess I'd aim for the average cost hoping to get not the best but not the worst quality so it allows you still a reasonable time to stay in the house without worry. I know this advice tho is easier said than done.
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As a tree hugging liberal, you'd really appreciate the police presence. Bigger government, and more regulation. Make sure all the laws are followed.
Be sure the new tubing isn't made from petroleum, and that it doesn't increase your carbon footprint. You can't afford more global warming.
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .
news:272d26b6-d4db-410c-bc7e-
Cops redirecting traffic at construction sites (even where none exists) is apparently a state law. It's stupid, but I can only fight one thing at a time.
The tree belongs to the city and is NOT going to be removed. Even though they would probably allow it, there's no way I'm cutting down a 90 year old perfectly healthy sycamore to save a few bucks. Remember, I'm a tree-hugging liberal.
I will most definitely get competitive quotes, but I would hardly call this "makeshift". The result of this proccess is a perfectly smooth, seamless pipe. Better and stronger than PVC.
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On Tue, 24 Apr 2012 07:34:39 -0700 (PDT), rangerssuck

Your call. I like trees - when they're not a nuisance. I had big maple cut down because it was over my sewer line. Besides eliminating that worry, I don't have clogged gutters anymore. Keeping trees from destroying sewer lines, clogging gutters, and crushing your house in a windstorm might be called "intelligent landscaping."
--
Vic

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rangerssuck wrote:

You didn't say that you were experiencing (or anticipating) a problem where an upstairs flush would overflow a basement sink.

What else do you think will prevent a sewage backup into your house?
Having sewer pipes that are in excellent condition and sized correctly does not prevent sewage backup into your house. Only a backflow preventer does that.

You stated right off the bat that your neighbor had a sewer backup, and that you (or your wife) did not want that happening in your house.

A sewer backup is not normally the result of improper or infrequent maintainence.
It's the result of an acute failure somewhere in the sewer system, or caused by a lot of rain or local flooding.
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rangerssuck used improper usenet message composition style by unnecessarily full-quoting:

The backflow preventer is a one-way valve. It allows waste water to drain away from your house into the sewer, but snaps shut when waste water wants to flow from the sewer into your house.
If your local sewer pipes are full of water that's not flowing properly (ie - if the sewer system is full of waste water that's not moving away from your house but instead is just stagnant) then you're going to notice it probably because of a sink or shower or dishwasher or washing machine that's not draining.
Whether you discover that your sewer pipes are clogged because of a toilet flush or some other water discharge depends on the percentage of water your household uses to flush the toilet vs any other water usage that puts water down your drain system.
The OP wasn't clear (and still hasn't clarified) if he is concerned about a sewage backup into his house, or a waste-water drain problem *inside* (or outside) his house.
The OP started this thread by mentioning that his neighbor had some sort of waste-water / sewage issue, but hasn't explained if that problem would have been prevented by (a) a backflow preventer, or (b) clearing a blockage in the sewer pipe inside (or outside) the house.
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It seems to me he's most concerned about a sewer line that is 90 years old, in poor condition and reduced down to 2". That alone needs to be corrected. Unless you'd rather take the chance that it will keep working until you find out it's clogged when it's 20F, the ground is frozen and there is 2 ft of snow. Then doing the job is likely to cost a lot more, with little time to explore the options.
Ideally, he'd correct the sewer line problem and install a backflow preventer. How important a backflow preventer is can depend on the local system. Some folks and their neighbors know that backups are common in their location. In other cases, like where I live, it's never happened.
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Thanks, Mom :-)
I do know what a backflow preventer is, and how it works. What it will do is prevent other people's sewage from ending up in my house. What it won't do is prevent my own sewage from ending up in my basement.

I AM the OP, and my concern is, well, both. I am not concerned so much about a blockage or overflow in the municipal sewer line - they maintain it well and they have insurance should it back up into my house. I AM concerned about the 4" cast iron both inside my house and from the house to the street. It is quite restricted now, and could either block completely or collapse. neither of these would be helped by a backflow preventer. That said, it would be easy enough to add one, as the job does include bypassing a whole-house trap with new PVC. I don't see why a BFP couldn't be plumbed into that spot.
The neighbor's problem was somewher either inside his house or in the run to the street. It was solved, at least temporarily, by snaking his 4" line. Wha I'm not sure of is where they inserted the snake. There are three different cleanouts in my house, and I assume his is pretty much the same (same builder, same basic blueprint).
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On Tue, 24 Apr 2012 09:01:14 -0700 (PDT), rangerssuck

You know this may sound crazy but except for under your house, I wonder if PVC would be the best idea from house to main sewer line? I say this because should it ever crack, it should be easy to fix.. splice out bad part and put in a new splice of pvc pipe. Perhaps something to think about???
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Sure...if you want to think about digging up the existing pipe now and then digging up the broken section later.
The point of the lining system is to avoid the digging. Since the lining is an epoxy laden sleeve, whatever would break a PVC pipe would break the epoxy lining also.
Even if whatever caused the breakage wasn't covered under warranty and had to be dug up, at least with the lining the initial dig has been avoided.
Keep in mind that when pricing the replacement of the cast iron with PVC, it's not just the cost of the plumbing work, but also the cost of the re-landscaping that has to be factored in. That might even include sidewalk or driveway repairs. The total cost could add up pretty quickly.
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I seem to recall a huge tree that he doesn't want to cut down or harm being a prime factor too. Of course PVC would be swell if getting it in wasn't a problem.

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wrote:

Yep...I knew that, just didn't bother bringing it up.
Having gotten estimates to have my drain pipe lined, I merely wanted to get across the point about TCO - Total Cost of Ownership.
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