kitchen sink drain does not join the main. . . .


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Old 08-13-07, 06:57 AM
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kitchen sink drain does not join the main. . . .

I am in the process of diagnosing the plumbing in this very old house of ours. I was surprised to realize that the kitchen sink drain does not join into the main drain stack anywhere inside the house. It is hard to tell what is happening without taking up the floor, but it appears that it might join the main septic stack after it leaves the house. Is this possible? Is it ok to have it done this way?

We live a little outside buffalo and i am concerned about what might happen with the cold of winter. Also, the drain does not appear to have any special cleanout. Should one be added?

I am going to try pouring water down the drain today and will report back with any updates.

Any thoughts or advice would be great . . . . thanks.
 
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Old 08-13-07, 04:41 PM
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I wonder if your kitchen drain goes into a 'grease trap' upstream of the septic tank.
 
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Old 08-13-07, 06:10 PM
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i ran some water down there today and it would only take a couple gallons before starting to backup. eventually it would drain out but very slowly.

i tried running a snake down it. i was able to get about 6 feet down the drain and then could not get it to go in any further. there wasn't any debris or apparent clogs.

How would i go about finding a grease trap if there is one. should i just try digging along that side of the house?
 
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Old 08-14-07, 08:02 AM
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Read this that I am CCP'ing from unnamed site:

We want to pump out the septic tank, but no one can find it. Previous owner doesn't know where it is, and the health department has no record because the house is so old.

We've had various plumbers and septic people out to the house, most of which probed the ground with a stick. One guy snaked the clean out, and eventually found a concrete tank, but that turned out to be a small grease-trap tank, fed only be the kitchen sink.

What are the "high-tech" options available? One guy has a camera that goes down the pipe. How does that work? Can he see the turns and therefore deduce where the tank is?

Is there such a device that you flush down the toilet and track it's location from the surface like some sort of anti-submarine warfare drill.

Thanks,

Glenn

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speedball1Dec 6, 2004, 09:49 AM
Hi Glen, Welcome back,
Well the camera isn't gonna work unless you can track it. How far down in the ground are your sewer pipes and what are they made of?
We start at the cleanout and probe the sewer line untill we hit the septic tank. But then I live in Florida where the lines aren't burried as deep as they are up north. If the lines are cast iron, then down here we locate hidden underground lines with a magnetometer. This is a senitive "dip needle" magnet that You run over the ground untill the needle dips down indicating metal underneith.
The only other way, since you've already located the grease trap would be to probe the line out of the grease trep over to the septic tank or to dig down every 5 foot or so and track the sewer line from the cleanout to the septic tank. Good luck, Tom

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GlennDec 6, 2004, 12:01 PM
Thanks, Tom.

Seems the kitchen sink going to the grease trap is totally separate from the rest of the house. When the grease trap was open, only water from the kitchen sink showed up, all the other water was going somewhere else. I recall seeing two pipes going into the slab, one was a 1-1/2" PVC fed by the kitchen sink and one was a 3" PVC fed from all over the house.

How important is the grease trap? We've recently installed a second kitchen in the house, and that kitchen sink goes to the aforementioned AWOL septic tank. Should I be concerned that the grease is not being trapped?

A plumber is now telling us he has an electronic "egg" he will flush down the toilet for $75 that he can track from the surface. We'll see how well it works.

Glenn

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speedball1Dec 6, 2004, 01:54 PM
A kitchen grease trap prevents grease from entering the septic tank and drain field.
This prolongs the life of the drain field and keeps the septic tank from loading up so fast. This will save on pumping and septic tank cleaning costs. I would run a separate line from your new kitchen and tie into the grease trap. Also the grease trap needs to be checked and cleaned periodically.
good luck with the "egg". Let me know how you make out. Cheers, Tom

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Old 08-14-07, 08:09 AM
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BTW-

I lived in a house in a southern state, with a grease trap. That is how I learned about them. Mine was located right outside the outside of the house, actually outside the kitchen wall at the back yard. Literally a few feet out. It was a smaller concrete tank. A miniature septic tank. The septic tank was out in the yard in another location farther away.

Periodiocally if the kitchen sink backed up, I'd dig down a number of inches, raise off the concrete lid on the grease trap, and scoop out the floating clinkers of grease balls down inside, for one thing.
 
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Old 08-14-07, 09:05 AM
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Sounds like that could be what i have. i'll start digging holes in the yard and see if i can find a greasy, buried treasure. the driveway is about four feet from the kitchen wall with the sink, so there are not too many places it could be. i hope.

Thanks agian.
 
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Old 08-14-07, 12:30 PM
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I have in my possession a 3 foot long probe. I'd lend it to you if I could. They are basically about a 3/8-1/2 inch solid steel rod that is sharpened like a pointed bullet. It has a handle so the whole thing looks like a T. Then you just shove it in the ground and hope to hear the cluck of concrete. Just be aware of where buried wires might be.

Keep us posted what you find.
 
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Old 08-14-07, 07:24 PM
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well, there wasn't a grease trap. I almost have the whole pipe dug up from where it come out from the concrete slab to where it joins the main septic line outside the house. but i still cant get the water to flow.

There are at least two issues out there. the first one is a broken coupling that let a lot of dirt and gravel in the line. I have that mostly cleaned out and was thinking of using one of those rubber connectors that you tighten with a screw driver. A PVC coupling would be hard to get into place. Are the rubber connectors ok for below grade applications?

The other problem is closer to the house. A black, 2 inch pipe comes of the the house and goes into an elbow. the other end of the elbow appears to be connected to a 4 inch PVC with a patch of poured concrete. I am not sure if this is a problem and if i should try to take it apart and put it together correctly. see the attached picture.



So all this brings me to the question of whether i should repair all this as is and keep the line outside . . . . or would it make more sense to try to run this line under the floor while we are redoing the kitchen. Right now the line is buried about 18 inches under ground and i dont know if that is enough in the cold of a buffalo winter.

thanks.
 
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Old 08-15-07, 05:34 PM
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However you want to run your pipe is up to you.

Because now we now know this line runs directly into the septic, you can now try to water blast out an obstruction. They sell a rubber device (that screws on the end of a garden hose) for this in the plumbing department of Big box stores and hardware stores.

Your rubber fitting idea should be fine.

Regarding the depth/cold Buffalo winters: How long has this system been in service? It must have been engineered this way, I'd imagine where the whole system was thought out regarding depth at house, pitch, and entry into septic, -all of which whose heights had to have been established by someone. You just can't go burying it deeper now because it will cause the entire run of pipe to wind up as a trap, deeper than the entry to the septic tank.
 
 

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