Last week, my wife called me at work and said the downstairs bathroom floor
was wet. She could not find anything leaking. Turns out, my main drain
backed up after doing a load of wash. It filled the shower pan and
overflowed just a bit, then drained down so she did not see the cause
When I came home, I dumped some water, flushed the toilet and after about 15
gallons some water came up in the drain of the shower. Plunger did nothing
and given the amount of water, I figured to clog was a little distance.
Next day, I put a 50' snake down the outside cleanout. Nothing. It came up
clean and water still drained slow. My plan was to rent a 100 foot snake.
After thinking about the whole situation, I decided it may be best to call
a pro. There is a local outfit that does septic and sewer work. When I
called, they told me to call the town first, to be sure it was not their
problem and it would not cost anything for them to check. I called and in
30 minutes two guys were out on the street. They pulled out some rocks and
dirt from their cleanout. They thought it came from my line and it may have
been broken when the power company installed a new pole.
I called the drain people back, told them what the situation was. They came
out and verified it was right where the new pole was (and there was some
sinking of the ground around it). The have a transmitter on the end of a
snake and can follow it down the line from above. They in turn called the
power company as they needed them while digging no matter what the cause
Next morning, there were six trucks on the street. Town sewer department,
two from the electric company, others from the sewer guys. They had one
truck with a boom that grabbed and supported the pole while they dug with a
backhoe. Once they got to the sewer line, they saw fragments of it around
the pole hole from where the auger cut into the pipe. They cut out the bad
section, splice in a new and filled the hole. Took about 5 hours total,
including running to a supply house for the pipe that was not the usual size
they always carry. It is 5" I was told.
Damage was minimal on my part. Bathroom mat damaged and some cleanup, some
lawn work to be done in the spring. I'll be putting in a claim with the
power company for that. The pole was put in for a new house built across
the street, and it went in almost three months ago. Given the time lapse, I
did not make any connection. Never thought the electric company would screw
up the plumbing. I'm also glad they are paying the tab as I imagine it will
be very pricey.