Camera Got Stuck!

Old 08-06-03, 02:52 PM
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Camera Got Stuck!

A couple of weeks ago, I posted in Gardening seeking opinions as to whether a lilac bush could/would have roots deep enough (4') to be causing problems in the last 20' of mainline, or whether a strange pole deal might be a better candidate for my problems. As some of you may remember, I had an awful time getting everything working in this fixer-upper and when I finally got ahold of a snake long enough, I did pull-out a monster root; But, I figured it was from an elm that was near the line and didn't feel far enough out to be from the lilac...

Since that time, I discovered another cleanout between the elm and the lilac and the couple of times that I have had problems since, I discovered that it was past the cleanout so it had to be from the lilac, the funny lightpole deal, possibly a crushed pipe from where college students had regularly drove over it, or something at the street because my town is notorious for sewer problems.

I originally called the city to ask where exactly the cityline passed by my house; Was it under the sidewalk, or under which side of the street and when the fellows came out to point; They volunteered that they had a camera and I could call, schedule an appointment and they'd come out and scope my line. Well, though my local government certainly has it's problems and I have to admit that I was floored by their offer; I was even more taken aback when the guys showed-up this morning, simply because they already had the camera in the truck from another job and in spite of the fact, I hadn't scheduled an appointment or done any follow-up on the issue, whatsoever.

We started by sticking the camera down the cleanout which I hadn't flushed with my high-pressure hose, since my Gardening post and that was apparent from what we could see, complete with the roaches crawling around on top of the sludge. Then, we decided to stick my high-pressure garden hose which I use exclusively in the sewer down to clear a path; Then, we stuck the camera back down, but because it usually takes me half an hour to work the hose all the way in to clear the line and of course, they hadn't devoted that much time to the exercise; They repulled the camera and called-in their pumper truck to send water through their 1½" tube at 1500 lbs of pressure.

Once that was complete and after the pumper had left; Again, we stuck the camera in the hole and this time, possibly during the rounding of the elbow; The camera somehow got turned around and was looking back at it's cable. Needless to say, nobody was paying any attention and it wasn't long until was it completely stuck and by trying to work it loose, we actually ended-up pushing the camera even further down the line;

They figured that it was probably only a foot or two in based on their interpretation of the view; So, they started by digging a three foot ditch, down about four feet to the cast iron with a couple of shovels and a little help from me between my kid's cries for attention. Then, the fellow with the saw showed-up; They cut a window in the top of the pipe and based on this new view, we needed a hand-dug ditch about eight feet long before they could cut the pipe, retrieve the camera and patch the pipe with some green pvc.

Now, there's a big open ditch in my yard because it was quitting time and they decided to leave it uncovered in case the camera were to get stuck, when they run it back through in the morning.

All this to see if my lilac has roots in the line...

Of course to make things even stranger; For some inexplicable reason there is a copper water line that crosses the ditch for no apparent reason, whatsover. You can see the meter and I have long theorized that there may be a junction or two under the yard; But, neither them nor I can figure-out why there is a water line running under the side wall of my compound in pretty much a direct path with one of the end apartments, next door...

Possibly this entire fiasco may be a candidate for a Ripley's museum; I don't know; But, I figured some of you pros would be entertained; Somehow, a 2½" camera head armed with little feelers that made it slightly larger than my 4" mainline got turned around backwards, inside the pipe...

Keep Passing Open Windows;
Old 08-07-03, 07:23 AM
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Update and for the record...

The guys came back this AM and because they needed some piece of equipment which is somehow associated with the camera somewhere else, or because their supervisor gave them flack for volunteering to do what amounted to a multi-day job (my guess); They came and we just filled-in the hole and covered-over the patch. So, I still don't know whether my problem is due to roots or one of the other, previously-mentioned causes; And to further complicate the matter, they also suggested it could simply be due to rust flaking-off the inside of the 50 yr-old pipe and somehow disrupting the flow.

Eventually, I'm going to replace the entire line, but the little ditch we dug wasn't long enough to justify leaving open. And, though I bought the house as a fixer-upper, knowing that I will only be in it for 3-5 years; We recently learned that in all likelihood, we will be remaining in the area until 2007; So, what started as a multi-year plan has actually slowed-down even more, because it's just too hot to be outside for most of the day and I no longer feel the need to get everything done by 2005...

Peace, Love & Happiness;

PS) And in case anyone is interested or would like to weigh-in on any of the listed causes, or if they might also want to factor-in the elbow which takes the line down another 9', once it leaves my property; I've linked-in my Gardening thread; But as I said, eventually I will replace the line anyway (curb-to-curb) and thus far, I have been able to keep it cleared with a high-pressure nozzle on the end of a ½" hose.
Old 08-08-03, 04:45 PM
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First of all, this stuff is so routine it ain't funny... The reason I don't run a camera machine is just what you mentioned... If they ever get stuck, there is no effective way to unthread one so they have to be cut out... Second, there is no question that you DO have a root problem as you already pulled out a large piece of root material... Roots should NEVER be in a pipe... if they are, the pipe has an opening that shouldn't be there... Also, most commonly, the drain is run across the yard at a depth that allows for grade from the house, and then abruptly drops near the street, sometimes up to 20', to get down to the manhole depth... The county usually brings the tap into your yard, but it is the responsibility of the homeowner at that point... In your case, you KNOW the problem is past the last cleanout so you KNOW that it is very likely AT the tap itself and that is the county's responsibility usually... The original plumber probably just pushed the cast iron into the clay or concrete pipe tap and then concreted it in, and that is where the roots got in... It doesn't matter which bush or tree caused the roots; it is probably a combination of several and you don't want to start killing vegetation to fix a problem that amounts to faulty plumbing... Now the thing to do is to call the county back, and make a fuss that you think the TAP is bad based on what has been done and ask them to repair the tap... That should solve your problem...

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