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  • Removing Rocks From Cleanout

    Ok bear with me, my terminology may not be correct for this field. I searched the forums only found one thread similar to what I will be asking.

    My cleanout that is near the street is posible blocked with rocks, I believe my son and his friend drop some rocks down in there the other day. Now thet water from the house backs up and flows out of the cleanout. Gets a lil gross. Is there a away to remove these rocks or safely push them down to the bigger line (if thats how it works?) I am certain these werent the first rocks dropped in there over the years. Plus I have never called a plumber so I have no idea mild to worst case what this might cost. Plus Im renter Id like to fix this my self first before needing to call out the owners.

    Not sure how the sewer syetem works, we have a storm drain directly infront of the cleanout (about 4 feet). Was thinking of putting tiny cam on a stick just to look at the blockage.

  • #2
    Re: Removing Rocks From Cleanout

    I have removed a 5 gallon pail of rock and concrete from a sewer.

    It involved digging up the line, cutting it and pulling all the debris out of the drain with a high-flow jetting machine.
    Water Heater Reviews & Water Heater Information

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    • #3
      Re: Removing Rocks From Cleanout

      Before you call a plumber, first find out if rocks were put in the clean out. then just for the fun of it, get one of those gardening nozzles that spin onto the end of a garden hose and deliver an intense forward spray. If the nozzle that you select has a lever that is depressed by hand to operate it then you have the wrong nozzle. There is no shut off for this particular type of nozzle. Put on some old clothes that you won't mind getting dirty and get someone to help you. Put the hose (and Nozzle) into your clean out and push it in a couple of feet, have your assistant turn on the water and slowly push it in a couple more feet. If you haven't cleared it at this point you may wish to call a plumber. My quick solution remedy is to help you confirm that this is a rock related stoppage, by pushing too much of the hose into the cleanout , you may get yourself into trouble and things may turn into a nightmare. Try this first and get back to us.

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      • #4
        Re: Removing Rocks From Cleanout

        I once was able to remove a bunch of rock from a clean out by using a wet and dry vacuum. The owners sons and his friends were the ones who did it there as well.

        Mark
        "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

        I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

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        • #5
          Re: Removing Rocks From Cleanout

          Originally posted by ToUtahNow View Post
          I once was able to remove a bunch of rock from a clean out by using a wet and dry vacuum. The owners sons and his friends were the ones who did it there as well.

          Mark
          wet&dry vac works make sure you duct tape the hose and extensions together so you dont drop one down the drain. than run a bunch of water after you get them out. and than throw a bunch of mud and nasty looking stuff in the pile of rocks and show it to yours kids and tell them if they ever stick anything down the sewer like that again you will make them eat it! and than tighten your clean out cap on with a pair of channel locks so the kids cant take it off. if no plumber has been there, there is no reason for it to be off!
          Mike
          Clark County Plumbing And Drain
          www.plumbinginclarkcounty.com

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          • #6
            Re: Removing Rocks From Cleanout

            Originally posted by ToUtahNow View Post
            I once was able to remove a bunch of rock from a clean out by using a wet and dry vacuum. The owners sons and his friends were the ones who did it there as well.

            Mark

            i spent 2 days at a brand new fire station next to the airport removing rocks from the sewer.

            between my jetterand camera i go them all without digging up the new concrete.

            nothing like the porta potty truck coming to the job at the right time.

            that truck really sucks you'll be amazed what $20. buys you

            it was a keeper and i have it at my shop. i'll take a photo and post it in the next day or 2.

            rick.
            phoebe it is

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            • #7
              Re: Removing Rocks From Cleanout

              once again, SUPERPLUMBER saves the day

              naked--this is a job that requires a trained plumber---remember, you are talking of a sanitary sewer--do u have all ur immunizations so u dont get sick?? you also can make it worse if u dont know what ur doin--and since ur a auto tech--u dont----leave this to the owner to get a plumber

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              • #8
                Re: Removing Rocks From Cleanout

                Are you absolutely sure that the stoppage is from the rocks?

                I would try to remove as many as possible first. If you can shine a light down the cleanout (a makeup mirror works pretty good for this) can you see them? If so, you should try to remove as many as possible with gravel grabbers, shop vac, whatever. Otherwise you just have to push them out to the main. You should call a drain cleaner for this and let him know beforehand what he's up against.

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                • #9
                  Re: Removing Rocks From Cleanout

                  Originally posted by PLUMBER RICK View Post
                  i spent 2 days at a brand new fire station next to the airport removing rocks from the sewer.

                  between my jetterand camera i go them all without digging up the new concrete.

                  nothing like the porta potty truck coming to the job at the right time.

                  that truck really sucks you'll be amazed what $20. buys you

                  it was a keeper and i have it at my shop. i'll take a photo and post it in the next day or 2.

                  rick.
                  Long day?
                  Get some sleep.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Removing Rocks From Cleanout

                    Wow thanks for all the replys. First off Im not trying keep any kind of money or work from the professional plumber, especially in these times. I just dont want to upset my owners. My son eventually told me he and his friend had put some rocks down there. Anywhere from 5 to 20 rocks(childs observations are not always the most reliable). These rockes are not more the a couple inches in size. I'll post a pic of them. Right now everything seems to be flowing ok. Everytime some takes a shower or uses the toilet I go out and check the line. Water sounds like it is flowing fine. Before I made the post yesterday I shoved a hose down the pipe and cranked the water on, no idea if it helped. Up to date on all my shots, I am wearing latex gloves when I handle the hose and anything associated with this job. I keep posting to this threadand see how it goes.

                    Thanks for all your help

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                    • #11
                      Re: Removing Rocks From Cleanout

                      One safety idea is to add a $5.00 vacuum breaker to Your hose bib. This makes sure no bad stuff gets to You ore the neighbors from a cross connection. Do a search here on hose bib vacuum breakers and You should see one. You may have one already! Any hardware store has these
                      I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

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                      • #12
                        Re: Removing Rocks From Cleanout

                        You will likely need professional help on this, but there are some things you can try.

                        First, find out what you are fighting; you have some info from the kid, pin him down and make him talk; make him understand you have a problem and you need his help to understand the problem. The size of the rocks is important. If they are truely no more than 2" largest dimension, and if the line is not terribly deep, you shold be able to wet vac them out. If they are bigger, approaching the size of the line, it will be much more difficult.

                        Start with a wet vac and remove the water from the cleanout, then a flashlight if you must, or if you have good sun, a mirror works better to get some light down so you can see what is down there. If it is rocks and they are of a size to move freely in the pipe, use a long thin thing to loosen them up, then stick them to the end of your wet vac hose and bring them up one by one. Be careful not to lose any of the tools (long thin thing, wet vac hose, etc) down the cleanout or you just make it worse. A pumper truck is a much better vacuum and will work better, but will cost you. Get as many as you can out until you see the bottom of the horzontal pipe to which the cleanout connects. Then work your wet vac hose into the line headed downstream; there will be more that have moved a little ways down from the cleanout. Continue until you have removed as many as you can, then flush the line with clean water, a bunch of it, using buckets or a hose as described earlier.

                        Repeat process until water no longer backs up in line, or until you are ready to accept defeat and call a drain specialist. If you get clean water to flow freely, start flushing toilets in the house, first with just water. If the cleanout is still not backing up at that point, flush a few times with some tp. If all is going well at that point, flush a bunch more water and wait and see. If it starts to back up again, you have to just keep at it or give up and call someone with some equipment.
                        This is my reminder to myself that no good will ever come from discussing politics or religion with anyone, ever.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Removing Rocks From Cleanout

                          Don't know if you have anything similar to a gully scoop http://www.seca.com.au/acatalog/Gully_Scoop.html
                          They work great saved me a few times or like rick says a vac truck have had to use on a few occasions luckily we have one in the yard still a lot cheaper than excavation in most circumstances.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Removing Rocks From Cleanout

                            Had this happen at a trailer park one time they pulled a trailer out with out capping the sewer line. The kids tried to fill the hole with rocks, we run the cable down and got it open (this was before jeters) it opened but it would keep stopping up as the rocks would not all move out of the line no mater what head we used. We had to go back and drill it a few times a year, when we got our jetter we used it and it flushed all the rocks out it hasn't stopped up since. So if you have to call the pro. make sure they use a jetter or it will be an on going thing.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Removing Rocks From Cleanout

                              I once had this problem in a new house I'd plumbed. The excavator who installed the sewer line didn't bother with a cleanout cap.

                              I used a 3/4" sewer snake with a retriever head and was able to pull back, very slowly, quite a number of baseball-sized rocks. But I don't really recommend this method. It's extremely hard on the cable and machine.

                              And the rocks were in an unexcavated space beneath the new house where there was a room built out away from the basement with no access.

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