Sewage in Basement

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Old 03-28-07, 02:32 PM
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Question Sewage in Basement

Any thoughts on why this is happening? Any thoughts on a solution?
We have lived in this house for 20 years without a problem.
Now we are having problems with sewage coming through the floor drain in the basement. It forces the draintop off and "explodes" sewage.

This is a ranch home with a full basement. We have been able to notice that it is likely to happen during or after someone takes a shower in the main bathroom. But it is not the case that every time the shower is used the problem happens. It does not happen when someone takes a bath in the tub that the shower runs into though.

We called a reputable sewer cleaning service and they did the usual "clean-out" and found no roots and no problems. It happened again about a week after they were here. When they came back they made sure that water from that bathroom left our house appropriately and it did so. We are on a corner lot in the city. The first time they ran the line to the front of the house and determined it was clear and not clogged. The second time they also made sure it was running freely to the other street. The city inspectors office suggested a camera look but the sewer cleaning service said they could do that but it was not necessary as it is obvious there are no clogs and all is running freely.

Any ideas on what is happening here? Any ideas on how to stop this horrible explosion of sewage into our basement? I cannot say for sure 100 per cent that it only happens when a shower is taken in the main bath, but our investigation shows a possible cause and effect there...at least the last four times it exploded that is what happened just prior to the sewage coming in there.

It is not just a little bit that is coming in. It pushes up the sewer drain grate and comes in to about a 4 - 6 foot diameter.

I looked at a 4 inch float sewer plug at the hardware store last night. If we use that would the sewage just come out somewhere else in the house?

I'm really baffled as we have been here so long and the problem just recently began.

Thank-you for your observations and ideas.
 
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Old 03-28-07, 03:25 PM
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What does the drain cleaning company think? They are the biggest pros you can ask for, regarding this. Didn't the guy running the cutter know if he ran into something or not? Usually they can feel it.

If it is coming out the floor grate, that means obiously it is clogged down stream from that.

*I* just had one of these yesterday (See all the different unrelated stuff I get involved in?). I met the landlord over there. I brought in my tape and rubber device (that will seal off a 4-6 inch line) that you put on the end of a garden hose, hooked up to a spigot, to force what is in the 4 inch drain line down the drain. My tape it turned out was only 25 feet on the reel as I broke it of once and did not remember that that was all I had left. That went in easily. So rather than go to the office where I have 3 more sections of tape..some much longer, I simply switched to the hose/rubber device and that cleared the drain. We had about an inch of water in half the basement and when I cleared it I could hear the floor grate behind me make whooshing and gurgling sounds as the water rushed down the basement floor drain grate.

Time will tell if this was simply a fluke and toilet paper got hung up on some hubs, burrs or who knows what. Or, if tree roots are the problem, or if there was a sand wash into the pipe during this time of the year of the spring thaw. ('50's apts...good chance of clay tiles) Time will tell.

I sprinkled bleach all over the water that was pooled, first...before it went down the drain, and swished it around with a broom. I went over there today to check on the basement and it is dry now and smells good now. Yesterday it smelled like...a sewer.

YOU could have something like a wash of sand getting in a joint and causing toilet paper to start backing up...perhaps, as one theory.
 
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Old 03-28-07, 03:53 PM
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Sewage in Basement

The sewer professionals found NO PROBLEM. No roots, no hang-ups. The second time they came - same thing - NO PROBLEM. In fact, it moved waste and water faster than they thought it would. No obstruction whatsoever was found.

This was a very reputable company. What we have is a mystery so far.
 
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Old 03-28-07, 03:58 PM
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You need a different plumber. They should be able to come up with a solution. Unless the city line is stopping up and in that case I would think the whole neighborhood would be having the same problem.

If you put the ball stopper in there then it will just come out of the next lowest spot. I will bet you've got a clog or some roots in the line somewhere.
 
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Old 03-28-07, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by boston View Post
The sewer professionals found NO PROBLEM. No roots, no hang-ups. The second time they came - same thing - NO PROBLEM. In fact, it moved waste and water faster than they thought it would. No obstruction whatsoever was found.

This was a very reputable company. What we have is a mystery so far.
Yet you had a clog and when they came it fixed it, right? If they didn't do anything, what made the clog go away while they were here snaking?

I have never laid old time tile and don't know what pitch they always used, but IF it wasn't tree roots and IF it wasn't a sand wash, due to misaligned tiles or some gap...then maybe the ground moved and you have a swag in the pipe underground that is causing the sludge and tp to congregate.
 
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Old 03-28-07, 04:34 PM
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It's possible you're getting somebody elses sewage. If there is a partial blockage downstream in the city's sewer line, stuff from people upstream from you may be finding that your floor drain is the path of least resistance.
 
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Old 03-28-07, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by DaVeBoy View Post
Yet you had a clog and when they came it fixed it, right? If they didn't do anything, what made the clog go away while they were here snaking?

I have never laid old time tile and don't know what pitch they always used, but IF it wasn't tree roots and IF it wasn't a sand wash, due to misaligned tiles or some gap...then maybe the ground moved and you have a swag in the pipe underground that is causing the sludge and tp to congregate.
DaVeBoy - No, NOTHING happened when they came. They did not do anything. There was no clog when they came so there was nothing to fix. They used the snake but it came back clean and nothing was clogging at the time. NOTHING changed since they came. The sewage is STILL coming in through the floor drain when the main floor shower is used (but not when the bathtub with that shower is used). The sewer company is baffled as are plumbers as is the city.
 
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Old 03-28-07, 05:12 PM
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I'm going to ask a couple dumb question....

They, you fill in the name, did run a snake from the shower drain to the cleanout they are using for the main?

Is the floor drain that back ups, along this run?

Hope this helps...
 
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Old 03-28-07, 05:53 PM
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Those are not dumb questions.....
The answers are YES and YES.

...and they found no problems, no clogs. Everything was free-flowing.
 
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Old 03-29-07, 12:40 PM
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Run a hose down the floor drain and see if it backs up.

NTB - Am I crazy thinking the problem may be in the street? A couple of years ago a house in my daughter's development had a basement full of raw sewage that was coming from houses upstream from theirs. A work crew had crushed a drain in the street and everything flowed into their basement. Big stink on TV - lawsuit followed shortly.
 
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Old 03-29-07, 01:34 PM
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We have done that, Wayne. No back-up when we run a hose into our drain. Actually the sewer people did that too. Another thing we did was fill the bathtub full and release the water. All worked well.
 
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Old 03-29-07, 04:57 PM
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Non-benificial post removed.
 

Last edited by mattison; 03-30-07 at 07:38 AM.
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Old 03-29-07, 08:00 PM
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Try dumping some colored food dye in the shower drain when you are running it. That should prove if the shower is the source of the water.
 
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Old 03-30-07, 07:08 AM
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My dad's house has done this, but it came up through the basement bath fixtures. It was a clog in the city sewer one time, and a collapsed storm sewer the next time (after a hard rain). The city was very helpful in trying to resolve the issue, since my dad could prove that it had nothing to do with his pipes.
 
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Old 03-30-07, 07:28 AM
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Could it be a vent issue? Have you gotton up on the roof and tried to clear the vent lines?

I would also suggest the dye in the water to figure where it's comming from. Then ask a few of your neighbors to try it too (give them different colors) and see if any of the colors show up in your basement.

Good luck!
Tom
 
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