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  • Broken 6" clay lateral, who broke it?

    Village is installing storm sewer. 36" concrete pipe near broken lateral . Lateral is 18" below storm sewer.
    Meeting on Monday to determine who broke the lateral approx. 12" before storm sewer. Dug to lateral in front yard (crawl space has sewage, no clean-out, no access either) Cut opening with concrete saw. Camera would go 15ft but couldn't see anything for dirty water and debris. Ran whip with K1500 and started to flow. This is where I blew it. If I would have ran camera again I would have probably seen the #57 stone. But I went with C-cutter and got stuck at 16ft. I was trying to clear the drain for everybody's best interest not blame somebody.

    Sewer contractor removed my cable and repaired pipe. Claims I broke it not him, what a joke. Hole in clay pipe was on the top. Claims gravel ran in when I broke the pipe.

    Any ideas how I defend myself?

    Dennis.....

  • #2
    Re: Broken 6" clay lateral, who broke it?

    if the gravel was what was blocking it, and it rolled in AFTER you broke the pipe, why were you called in the first place? the clog predates your being called, so the damage predates your being called, end of argument.

    camera everything, take vids, take as many photos as possible if it is still exposed. your intent is to show there is no other possible reason for the clog than the damage/gravel.

    don't get into it with the guy if you can help it. appear to roll over until you have your documentation. get every possible statement, starting with those on your side, working to neutral, then to those on his side. that way you will tip your hand as late as possible.

    lead him into it when you get to him. appear that you are going to accept blame for breaking the pipe in the next sentence, w/o doing so yet, and get him to say to someone 'oh, yeah, the break was definitely what clogged it' if you can. be happy with 'the drain guy snaked it and broke the pipe and that clogged it.' if you can get him to say that to the ho, then ask him 'so that's' what did it?' and he'll say yes, and then say 'the break let the gravel in and that plugged it.' and he'll agree. and then you own him.

    no way did someone lay 36" concrete culvert 12" above 6" clay w/o them being the cause. And he knows it. which means he's a jerk. so get your evidence together asap because he's already working to hide it so there is no proof he's to blame.

    too late now, but ANY time there is digging and possible finger pointing, ALWAYS be on site with a camera, preferably in the hole yourself. too easy for a dishonest person to destroy any clues pointing towards them and leave any, or create some, pointed at you. or to just fix it and bury it and lie about what was there.
    This is my reminder to myself that no good will ever come from discussing politics or religion with anyone, ever.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Broken 6" clay lateral, who broke it?

      timing is a good start. along with the owners track record.

      they might not listen to you, but i think if the owner made a stink, they will listen.

      how long have they lived there?

      how often to they have a main line stoppage?

      how long ago was the city contractor working in front of the house?

      map it all out and you should be able to prove timing is everything

      rick.
      phoebe it is

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Broken 6" clay lateral, who broke it?

        It stinks in a court of law you are guiltily till you prove your innocent which is almost impossible even if you would have camerad the line they could have said it was a fake or it was taken after you broke the line and they would want to know why did you camera the line if you did not think you might have broke it. Even if you would have had a witness if he was any relation or worked for you he would have been thrown out. If your in this business very long you are going to get accused of breaking a clay tile. I have been accused of that lots of times over the years the reason I hear most is the kind of machine you have is so powerful that they don't see how I can keep from drilling right through the pipe. If I tell them that I cant get the line open because I think it is broke because I got fresh mud out right away they say did you drill through the line ? I tell them If my machine would drill through a line that easy why would they make it to clean drains ? the only time I ever did break a line was when the line was already broken there has to be something for a cable to catch on to break. But I always was there when they dug it up so I could see but that didn't always help, a backhoe operator can bust up the tile with too deep of dig and ruin all the evidence. I agree try to get them to tell you what clogged the line if it wasn't broke before ! and if they say well it was just a little soap or something ask what evidence did they find of it, ask to see there pictures, I have seen poking rods go through an elbow, did anyone ever try to clean the line before ? give them some donut about how it happened but don't say too much keep your answers simple and straight. It kind of sounds like the guy who replaced the line is covering up for the guy who did the other work. I had the same thing happen to me but I didn't get stuck I just got out fresh mud the guy that done the other work dug down and fixed it and said I was wrong it just got dirt in it from there digging. It sounds like everyone just wants to pass the buck and not get the blame and there using you for a escape goat. Keep calm you know you didn't do it, keep confident, They will try to cut you a deal and you will know they have a weak case. Take your equipment along if they want to go out and see it.But don't offer nothing.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Broken 6" clay lateral, who broke it?

          Thanks Pros,
          I agree with everything you guys say.
          The rush was to get the homeowner flowing before the new concrete street was poured.
          The company that laid the storm also did the dig and repair. They had the steel down wanting to pour concrete as soon as possible.
          Entire story is long so I tried to keep it as short as possible. Inspector was with me anytime I was running cable.
          I think same as you guys, I can't blame anybody, not my job. The Village will have to determine what happened. I'm not the mediator.

          Thanks and I'll let you know the outcome, Dennis...

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Broken 6" clay lateral, who broke it?

            Originally posted by Dennis/Ohio View Post
            Thanks Pros,
            I agree with everything you guys say.
            The rush was to get the homeowner flowing before the new concrete street was poured.
            The company that laid the storm also did the dig and repair. They had the steel down wanting to pour concrete as soon as possible.
            Entire story is long so I tried to keep it as short as possible. Inspector was with me anytime I was running cable.
            I think same as you guys, I can't blame anybody, not my job. The Village will have to determine what happened. I'm not the mediator.

            Thanks and I'll let you know the outcome, Dennis...
            OK Dennis how did it go ? You got a hundred of us here ready to hop in our drain mobiles and come up there and get all ugly on them. I have my bomber loaded with a few rats I pulled out and a few things I can only guess at. So is it D-day or can we stand down. If they want to guess I got some things they can guess at and try to figure out what happened in the morning. Hope all went well.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Broken 6" clay lateral, who broke it?

              Get a look at the prints. find the typical for 36" concrete pipe. It should show required depth for bedding. If I recall correctly 30" concrete requires 12" of bedding (fed job, airport) I think 36" pipe calls for more??

              Even if it's only 12" required, that doesn't leave much room when they heel the trench.

              What type of material are they digging up?
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              • #8
                Re: Broken 6" clay lateral, who broke it?

                Guys,
                Sorry, I had a busy day after the meeting.
                Everybody's input helped keep me on track.
                When I asked the contractor what was inside the section of removed pipe, he answered: "I don't know". Ouch!
                Also the committee all agreed the problem spot was where I had marked it. The spot never changed.
                I was cleared of any damage. I will be payed. The contractor responsibility will be carried to the next meeting.
                The police chief & fire chief both asked for business cards while everybody was still in the meeting room.
                I'm assuming it helped the two previous times they used me went off without a hitch. First time they met me the Mayor was there. I had a second monitor set up away from the dirty work area. I think that was a hit.

                The input really helped, they keep playing in the back of my head.
                Thanks to all, Dennis.....
                Last edited by Dennis/Ohio; 05-25-2010, 06:37 AM. Reason: spelling

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Broken 6" clay lateral, who broke it?

                  Had another crushed lateral today same street. No problem this time. Six more feet of crushed lateral in the street beyond where my cutter came out of the pipe. The first one only had one hole in the top of the clay pipe, this one was totally crushed.
                  It's all good, Dennis....

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