Sewer Main Under Our House

Old 06-05-07, 07:51 AM
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Sewer Main Under Our House

We recently found out the MAIN sewer line for several homes in our subdivision goes directly under our house. The pipes have been there since 1955 and our home was built in 1977. The water/utility company first insisted the lines went around our house, after sonar testing and putting smoke through the pipes, they realized their blueprints are wrong, the main line goes right under our house.

They (water co.) tell us they are going to fill the pipe which is the full length of our home and redirect the pipe. My questions are....when they fill that big long pipe, is that going to do anything to the foundation of our house...shouldn't they be acting on this right away, it's been three months and they are telling us they are still waiting for approval from the state. I contacted the city's building commissioner and he said it's not his problem, the "guy" that approved the plumbing for the house is dead. I'm not sure what that has to do with anything. We are getting no where, they dug up part of our yard, took down part of our fence and then nothing!

My main concern is health issues. We have lived in the home for two years. Within two years we have had to treat the crawl space for mold two times, (we keep our house spotless) I have had hives on and off, chronic allergy/sinus issues. Two of my three children have had the same problems. Could those pipes be the cause of moisture in the crawl space (there is no standing water), could they be leaking "stuff" in the soil unerneath our house. Could that make us sick? What other risks are involved having this under our house. How do we get someone to take action??
Old 06-05-07, 08:36 AM
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Wow..lots of questions. Could the pipes underneah be causing the moisture issues? Most likely not.

As for them taking such a long time.....that is normal. This is government we are talking about. Permits...issues...prints...discussions. Welcome to my world. (Im a plumbing contractor). 3 months is really nothing.

AS for your current can do 1 of 2 things. Contact the health department or contact a lawyer or both. Then you would have to prove the pipe is the reason for your issues. Thats a long road and can't tell you it it will just dead end or not.

A lawyer will definitely be abel to help speed the process up to them moving the pipe. It shouldnt effect your foundation if they do it right. And quite posibly you can get the utility or whoever to pay for you to not be there while they do it. Again, a lawyer can help you on that part.
Old 06-05-07, 09:49 AM
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Wow, just when you think you've heard it all....
What a mess!

As to whether the sewer line is the cause of your family health problems: Possible, but I kind of doubt it.

Every home in the country is built on top of its own sewer system, which is a direct connection to the gases in the sewer main. And many homes are built within a few feet of sewer mains, if not directly on top of them like yours is. I am not aware of this being regarded as a public health issue. Unless you are aware of signs that there is or has been a major sewage leak from this pipe [smell, etc], I doubt it's the source of the problem.

Especially since you ARE aware of another very likely serious health concern, the presence of mold in the crawlspace bad enough that you have had it treated twice. This is of course a moisture issue, and many homes have this type of problem without the sewer having anything to do with it. I think I would investigate other possible sources of moisture under the house [inadequate drainage, for example], and see about addressing that. Note that sewer mains are almost invariably placed in the lowest part of an area [old creek beds, etc] which makes it seem likely that your house might have drainage issues.

If they intend to fill the abandoned sewer line with concrete, I would think this would make your foundation more secure than it is now.
Old 06-06-07, 05:05 AM
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Your home with the pipe under it has been there for 30 years, I'm sure that they see no need to rush on it.

More than likely, these pipes are buried deep enough that, even if they were leaking something, it's not going to make it to the surface. Since you aren't living in the crawlspace, any gases that did make it would be dispersed by the crawl space venting.

I agree with the other post, mold is your issue, and that's a matter of controlling the humidity in the crawl space. Use either a vapor barrier, vents (are your vents closed?) or both. Control run off so that it doesn't collect near or under the home (seal any cracks in the foundation wall, foam where pipes go through, etc.).

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