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  • DWV System Problems

    I just sent an e-mail with a similar message to the following e-mail to ToUtahNow, but thought I would also start this issue as a discussion topic

    I am very interested in your knowledge and experience regarding sewer gas problems that can be caused by DWV systems.
    I own a penthouse high rise condo in California and have been forced to move out due to two problems with the design and operation of the building sewer system that have caused me to experience health problems. First, there is a horizontal manifold of the multiple vertical vent pipes located above the highest residential units. The manifold appears to cause reverse flow due to differential pressures between the vertical pipes, and then through the P-traps in my master bathroom. Second, all of the waste and soil vents for the the building are terminated against a wall, below the roof line, and pointed downward toward my unit. I may need to hire an expert to investigate and write a report to help me resolve my dipute with the HOA and Developer. Personally, I think an IAPMO certified inspector is the most reliable expert. Please let me know if you have any thoughts or suggestions.
    The local AA/AHJ is investigating these problems as new work because they were due to non-permitted alterations - even though the building is one year old. However, I think that the AA will accept a sign off from the system manufacturer since it is an "engineered" system by the manufacturer.
    Thanks,
    ProPerEngineer

    [ 09-20-2005, 01:43 AM: Message edited by: ProPerEngineer ]

  • #2
    is the building more than 10 stories? beyond 10 stories a relief, yoke vent is required. please explain in more detail the vents being terminated below the roof line against the wall. any way to post some pictures?

    rick.

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    • #3
      ProPerEngineer,

      First let me say I am a long way from being an Expert on SoVent systems. While SoVent has been out for almost 20-years there are still less than 15% of Mechanical Engineers that even design SoVent systems. I do have the name of a Plumbing Expert who is also a design engineer for SoVent systems. If it gets to that point let me know and I will provide you with his contact info.

      For years IAPMO’s code committee has voted to reject SoVent and SoVent is used only in a limited number of jobs as local jurisdictions allow. I’m not sure whether IAPMO has now adopted SoVent or not but it seems the engineers like SoVent and the plumbers do not.

      That being said I’d still like to make a few comments. If you are losing the trap seal on the P-trap in your master bathroom, due to the design of the DWV system, that is a code violation regardless of the system used. In addition, if the SoVent stack vent terminates within 10’ horizontally or 3’ vertically of any opening into the building that is a code violation. Both of the above conditions will cause sewer gas.

      Sewer gas is more than just an objectionable odor it can also be dangerous. Regardless of who engineered the system if it is not working it is improperly engineered. You may want to send a letter to your HOA complaining your unit is uninhabitable due to the common area DWV system and you are expecting them to repair it immediately.

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

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

      Comment


      • #4
        PLUMBER RICK,

        Thanks alot for your reply. I really think you and ToUtahNow can help me alot..

        The building is 42 stories tall, but uses a Sovent system. Here is a webpage with 3 pics that are part of my complaint to the City of San Diego:

        Pics of Sewer Vent Problems in San Diego

        When I submitted the complaint, I didn't know about the SoVent system. So I assumed that yoke vents were installed just beneath my unit - my unit is 5 stories down from the highest drain.

        I have 20 yrs with Underwriters Laboratories, and have done work with many City Electrical Inspectors. My complaint to the city cites numerous CPC violations (the San Diego Muni Code adopts 2001 CPC).

        [ 09-21-2005, 01:25 AM: Message edited by: ProPerEngineer ]

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        • #5
          Originally posted by ToUtahNow:
          ProPerEngineer,

          First let me say I am a long way from being an Expert on SoVent systems. While SoVent has been out for almost 20-years there are still less than 15% of Mechanical Engineers that even design SoVent systems. I do have the name of a Plumbing Expert who is also a design engineer for SoVent systems. If it gets to that point let me know and I will provide you with his contact info.

          Thanks...I am getting pretty close and will let you know. My next step is to request/demand that the HOA hire: </font>
          • Registered PE with High Rise Plumbing Systems Experience</font>
          • Certified IAPMO Inspector</font>
          • Environmental Testing Firm</font>
          If they don't, then I will.


          For years IAPMO’s code committee has voted to reject SoVent and SoVent is used only in a limited number of jobs as local jurisdictions allow. I’m not sure whether IAPMO has now adopted SoVent or not but it seems the engineers like SoVent and the plumbers do not.

          I don't know if SoVent is the reason for my problems. If you look at the pics on The webpage I created for you and PLUMBER RICK , my main complaint regarding the master bathroom is what I call the "40th floor manifold" Most people with common sense can see how high pressure differentials can exist in that pipe!

          That being said I’d still like to make a few comments. If you are losing the trap seal on the P-trap in your master bathroom, due to the design of the DWV system, that is a code violation regardless of the system used. In addition, if the SoVent stack vent terminates within 10’ horizontally or 3’ vertically of any opening into the building that is a code violation. Both of the above conditions will cause sewer gas.
          Thanks, I agree. I am talking to the City of San Diego. First, I alerted them to the fact that these alterations were probably non-permitted. They have confirmed this, and are requiring the developer to gain approval as new work. The City may approve the alterations based on a PE stamp and the fact that SoVent is an "engineered design." However, I plan to hold firm on the code violations I have already cited in my complaint. These include CPC 311.5 and CPC 906.1.

          Sewer gas is more than just an objectionable odor it can also be dangerous. Regardless of who engineered the system if it is not working it is improperly engineered. You may want to send a letter to your HOA complaining your unit is uninhabitable due to the common area DWV system and you are expecting them to repair it immediately.

          Again, I agree. I am in the middle of a resolution plan, and the next step is demanding that the HOA get on this as a top priority.

          Mark
          Rick and Mark - I appreciate your advice and feedback. As you can tell by the pics, this is not a cheap condo we're talking about. The reason I joined this message board was to move toward finding experts that can investigate this situation and add to enormous amount of facts that support me in this dispute.

          [ 09-21-2005, 01:26 AM: Message edited by: ProPerEngineer ]

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