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  • &^%$^#@!!! Snaking on bad info = bad juju.

    It happened again!!

    A customer calls up. Can I clean their 165' sewer? He said Roto Rooter had come out a few years back and cleaned the sewer and they told the homeowner it took 165'. My response. Sure.

    The house set back ~160' from the road. The sewer leaves the house on the side where a small park with a hockey rink is located. Lots of trees too. A house is on the other side, also set way back. The sanitary sewer main cover is down at street on the customer side of the road. The sewer is cast iron for 50' then transitions to 6" clay. Standing water at 49'. After 49' the water was opaque. I pushed the camera to 100' with no visibility.

    So I cable and cable and cable and cable and cable for six hours straight with no stopping, not even a get rid of the coffee I drank that morning break. I must have had the snake and cable in and out a couple of dozen times with different heads. Including the expanding head that goes to 6".

    I'm pulling back all kinds of stuff you would expect, and some you wouldn't. A perfectly formed Maple leaf which struck me as odd.

    Finally the cable got stuck. A plumbing friend came to help me pull the cable back since it didn't want to return and my back was pretty well tweaked after six hours in front of one of Gene's gateways to hell. The cable had twisted inside the sewer about 80' out, and 60' back from the cutting head. At this point I was grateful and relieved to get the cable out.

    So I called a jetter guy to come and solve the problem with 4000 psi @ 16 gpm. He went ~200'. I ran the camera. Still standing water at 49'. On the way back the sewer finally opened!

    The sewer main was located 55' from the house!!!

    *^%#$@~^&#$!!

    What the heck!! This is the 2nd time in a couple of months where going long in a sewer has cost me a cable! Short of calling the city on every job for sewer plans is there a reasonable way to determine where the main is?

    And WHY if my cutting heads had been through that spot a few dozen times didn't it open up?? Camera went through lots of times. Even the jetter went through without it opening until he brought it back.

    Does anyone know of a simple way to locate sewer mains?

    I had the owner pay the jetter guy since he works for a different company.

    What would you have charged?
    Time flies like an arrow.

    Fruit flies like a banana.

  • #2
    Re: &^%$^#@!!! Snaking on bad info = bad juju.

    I don't do it often but I have called the city a few times for city sewer locations. but I have cleaned plenty of city pipe because I thought the home owner sewer was longer than it was.

    Blow bags Geno. If you run out 200' with no obstructions it's time for a bladder bag to get things moving. That is if it is possible.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: &^%$^#@!!! Snaking on bad info = bad juju.

      I had one where the city was telling me the sewer was on the north side of the street which is across the street from where I am working. I spent about 6 hours as well rodding with every cutter I had and went out 200' even jetted 200' as well. While out the 200' I went out and opened the manhole in hopes to hear the rod banging around. but nothing at all. So I used my Goldak tape on sonde and as my buddy sent the cable out I followed the sonde with my locater, and just as we got to the sidewalk on the south side of the street my sonde made a right hand turn, and started to go down the sidewalk. So I told my buddy to stop while I check something out.

      I walked a half block down and found a half buried manhole lid in the parkway. Open it up and sure enough it full to the top. I go down to the corner found another manhole opened it up and the water was down and you can see where the line I am in tees into this manhole. Call the city back out and they are telling me I am full of crap that there is no sanitary sewer on the south side of the street. I pop open the manholes and asked them then what is this? Once they jetted their line the house I was working at drained down just fine.

      I gave the homeowner my bill for all my time and told them its up to them to go after the city. The city did reluctantly paid her back for my time and the water damage in her home.
      Ron Hasil Lic #058-160417
      A-Archer Sewer & Plumbing specializing in:
      Tankless Water Heaters | Drain and Sewer Cleaning
      Sump and Ejector Pumps | Backflow RPZ Testing

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: &^%$^#@!!! Snaking on bad info = bad juju.

        That's some back juju Geno. Could there be a belly in the line making it seem like it was stopped up?

        Whenever I'm snaking a main I always take the time to find the low and the high sewer manhole to get an idea how far the main is. It might take an extra 10 or 15 mins to find both but in the end it pays off. Get your cable wound up in a city main here and they'll fine the hell out of you.

        Here in Washington DC, the main can be 10 feet from your front door or 80 feet across the street in the neighbors yard. Sometimes it runs down the back alley. Those can be a real mind bender. You gotta know going in what to expect.

        Luckily, some years ago plumbers were allowed to make copies of all sewer and water mains in the city. The plans take up a whole corner of our office. You can only get those now if you apply for a site utility permit and only for that block. It's a huge advantage knowing how far, depth, age, size and material used for sewers.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: &^%$^#@!!! Snaking on bad info = bad juju.

          we have a city website if you know how to navigate all the layers in it.

          but rule of thumb is the sewer saddle is located between the upper and lower manholes.

          the one i had last sunday was not a problem clearing it with my jetter. the line cleared at approx 112'. problem was the line exits onto a major street and not a manhole to be found. closes manhole was located approx 600' at the end of the block.

          i looked it up when i got home and had a difficult time pinning it down as the property was new and the maps showed some rear easements that i knew it wasn't going to. had mark also look at the maps on the computer and the only thing we came up with is at the end of the block.

          the complex was built in 3 different stages and each building piggybacks into each other running toward the west to eventually tie into the city main.

          they're going to expose all the exterior c/o's and have me jet them all.

          rick.
          phoebe it is

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: &^%$^#@!!! Snaking on bad info = bad juju.

            Originally posted by plumberscrack View Post
            That's some back juju Geno. Could there be a belly in the line making it seem like it was stopped up?

            Whenever I'm snaking a main I always take the time to find the low and the high sewer manhole to get an idea how far the main is. It might take an extra 10 or 15 mins to find both but in the end it pays off. Get your cable wound up in a city main here and they'll fine the hell out of you.

            Here in Washington DC, the main can be 10 feet from your front door or 80 feet across the street in the neighbors yard. Sometimes it runs down the back alley. Those can be a real mind bender. You gotta know going in what to expect.

            Luckily, some years ago plumbers were allowed to make copies of all sewer and water mains in the city. The plans take up a whole corner of our office. You can only get those now if you apply for a site utility permit and only for that block. It's a huge advantage knowing how far, depth, age, size and material used for sewers.
            In Chicago we have to pull a permit over the phone to power rod main sewers. They will tell you exactly where the sewer is running and where the stub is, along with any other history of that property. Best 25 bucks spent (used to be 10 bucks).
            Ron Hasil Lic #058-160417
            A-Archer Sewer & Plumbing specializing in:
            Tankless Water Heaters | Drain and Sewer Cleaning
            Sump and Ejector Pumps | Backflow RPZ Testing

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: &^%$^#@!!! Snaking on bad info = bad juju.

              Here we clean to the property line. If the lateral is a problem we must install a cleanout at the property line for the city to maintain the customers lateral. Once the cleanout is installed at the property line and if that cleanout is holding water....then we call the city.

              Sure we can clean the lateral and the city doesn't care if the homeowner doesn't want a cleanout at the junction of the city/homeowners line. Some cant afford to have the cleanout installed and would rather pay to have the lateral maintained by a plumber. I suppose its easier for some to come up with 150-200 bucks(example) once every couple years than shelling out close to 1,000(example) for a cleanout to be installed at the property line.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: &^%$^#@!!! Snaking on bad info = bad juju.

                Originally posted by TheMaster View Post
                Here we clean to the property line. If the lateral is a problem we must install a cleanout at the property line for the city to maintain the customers lateral. Once the cleanout is installed at the property line and if that cleanout is holding water....then we call the city.

                Sure we can clean the lateral and the city doesn't care if the homeowner doesn't want a cleanout at the junction of the city/homeowners line. Some cant afford to have the cleanout installed and would rather pay to have the lateral maintained by a plumber. I suppose its easier for some to come up with 150-200 bucks(example) once every couple years than shelling out close to 1,000(example) for a cleanout to be installed at the property line.
                There is this one city that is putting clean outs right on the home owners property near the sidewalk at no charge to the home owner, just for the purpose you stated. Other cities say its the home owners responsibility till the stub and others even go as far to say even the stub is the responsibility of the home owner.
                Ron Hasil Lic #058-160417
                A-Archer Sewer & Plumbing specializing in:
                Tankless Water Heaters | Drain and Sewer Cleaning
                Sump and Ejector Pumps | Backflow RPZ Testing

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: &^%$^#@!!! Snaking on bad info = bad juju.

                  Originally posted by saysflushable View Post
                  blow bags geno. If you run out 200' with no obstructions it's time for a bladder bag to get things moving. That is if it is possible.

                  +1

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: &^%$^#@!!! Snaking on bad info = bad juju.

                    I am so spoiled in Seattle, the city website shows all the sewer lines they know of. Takes 1 min to get the map and any permits issued from the day it was built which shows the year it was built. Sometimes they are wrong but they are so helpful. I have also learned to listen to the customer about history but not count on it as fact.
                    Seattle Drain Service

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: &^%$^#@!!! Snaking on bad info = bad juju.

                      was the main clogged? at what distance did the jetter pop it?

                      I did one the other day, ~ 50 foot run of 3" cinh from a single bathroom in a store. I can see the pipe in the ceiling of the park garage, so I know how far I have to go. at ~50' it hits a 4", then that conc's up to a six inch, which joins another 6 and goes to 8. resi condos above commercial first floor. clog has to be in the 3" or else the whole 100+ unit complex would be exploding out of the store's toilet. I snaked to ~65' 8 times through it going forward, 8 times through it coming back, would not budge. finally gave up and got a ladder and started opening no-hubs, got below it and there is my cable with tp and tampons packed around it. can't get my hand in 3", pulled out what I could, snaked some more, repeat, etc til it finally lets go. toilet's been funky for weeks, finally wouldn't plunge and they called me. 20' of the run solid with tp and tampons. it closes up behind you, even with a huge bit.

                      did one today. nightmare. thought it'd be cake because exterior cleanout. first cleanout ~ 50' from house, second ~120' down from that, third ~180' from that, 170' from third to main. over 500' of 4". easily 50' at the end is only 4' deep in a neighbor's driveway. frozen solid. didn't quite get it clear (though it is draining) ran out of daylight and the temp dropped like a rock and machine and me both were freezing up. Have to go back tomorrow and make sure the hot water she's suppose to run has got the last of the ice out.


                      you are not the only one.


                      I just charge; it's part of the process. I know what I'm doing. If it takes me 6 hr, it's a real one. anyone else would take longer or throw up their hands and walk away.
                      This is my reminder to myself that no good will ever come from discussing politics or religion with anyone, ever.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: &^%$^#@!!! Snaking on bad info = bad juju.

                        Originally posted by Ace Sewer View Post
                        was the main clogged? at what distance did the jetter pop it?

                        I did one the other day, ~ 50 foot run of 3" cinh from a single bathroom in a store. I can see the pipe in the ceiling of the park garage, so I know how far I have to go. at ~50' it hits a 4", then that conc's up to a six inch, which joins another 6 and goes to 8. resi condos above commercial first floor. clog has to be in the 3" or else the whole 100+ unit complex would be exploding out of the store's toilet. I snaked to ~65' 8 times through it going forward, 8 times through it coming back, would not budge. finally gave up and got a ladder and started opening no-hubs, got below it and there is my cable with tp and tampons packed around it. can't get my hand in 3", pulled out what I could, snaked some more, repeat, etc til it finally lets go. toilet's been funky for weeks, finally wouldn't plunge and they called me. 20' of the run solid with tp and tampons. it closes up behind you, even with a huge bit.

                        did one today. nightmare. thought it'd be cake because exterior cleanout. first cleanout ~ 50' from house, second ~120' down from that, third ~180' from that, 170' from third to main. over 500' of 4". easily 50' at the end is only 4' deep in a neighbor's driveway. frozen solid. didn't quite get it clear (though it is draining) ran out of daylight and the temp dropped like a rock and machine and me both were freezing up. Have to go back tomorrow and make sure the hot water she's suppose to run has got the last of the ice out.


                        you are not the only one.


                        I just charge; it's part of the process. I know what I'm doing. If it takes me 6 hr, it's a real one. anyone else would take longer or throw up their hands and walk away.
                        Of course there are tough jobs out there, and it sounds like you had a couple hum dingers going there! I just don't like losing cables because I'm in the mains instead of the lateral. If you saw this place, there's no reason to suspect there's a main nearer the house than the road. I need to become more cautious regarding appearances.

                        I ended up not charging the customer since I didn't solve their problem. Probably should have, but I was so disgusted that I had been through the plug at 55 feet so many times without putting a dent in it, or even realizing it was there that I couldn't bring myself to believe I actually performed a service.
                        Time flies like an arrow.

                        Fruit flies like a banana.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: &^%$^#@!!! Snaking on bad info = bad juju.

                          I always look for the manholes , if i cant find them i can call the city and get info over the phone in a minute.. I have a lot of info they sometimes need ...It works both ways and its good for every one

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