Sewage under house, what can I do?

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Old 02-08-11, 09:08 PM
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Sewage under house, what can I do?

Around 3 weeks ago, I started noticing a funky smell in the back basement. I thought it might be a mildew smell from some wet cardboard. I throw the wet cardboard away, smell is still there. then I notices some white gunk near my floor drain. And when I run water, the floor drain starts bubbling. A clog.

I call a plumber, who runs his power router thing through the sewer line, and clears the clog out. I poor a bunch of bleach through the floor drain, and consider it done.

A little while later I go back, and the smell is back. I look in the floor drain, and there's a big hole in the side of it. After calling the plumber back, and him using his camera, he tells me it's a groundwater drain. So what happened was that when the sewage backed up, it went into that hole, and now I have sewage all underneath the basement floor. They said it could take a few weeks to clear up.

So I bought a hose, hooked it up to the basement sink, stuck in in the groundwater drain, and turned the water on. I flushed the damn thing for close to 2 hours, whenever brown water was flushing out I would keep the hose there until it ran clear. I kept rooting the thing around trying to flush as much as I could out.

The smell has gone down a little bit, but not much. It's been 1.5 weeks since the clog was cleared. At this point, what can I do? If I block the floor drain the smell goes away, but I need the floor drain open because a lot of water flows down there.

I poured gallons and gallons of water down the drain so I know the trap is fine, I can see the water and it's clear, but it still stinks. Will pumping some Rid-X down there help? The plumber said the last resort option was to remove the floor drain, jackhammer out the concrete, dig up the dirt, and install new rock, and a sump pump. Not a cheap proposition.

Should I try to flush the groundwater drain out again? Should I give it more time to see if it clears up? Any ideas are welcome
 
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Old 02-08-11, 09:26 PM
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Is it a floor drain tied into your sewer? From what I understand you ran water in the house and it backed up in the floor drain correct?

I look in the floor drain, and there's a big hole in the side of it.
There should not be any hole in it and why does alot of water flow there? Floor drains are hard to snake. The bend is too sharp. I bet the plumber busted the pipe and or the trap and not owning up to it.

If you dont need that drain I would jack hammer the trap up and or broken pipe and replace with a elbow and a clean out. Re cement and your done.. Now you have a clean out for future cloggs and the waste will decompose through the soil over time.

Mike NJ
 
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Old 02-09-11, 06:20 AM
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Originally Posted by lawrosa View Post
Is it a floor drain tied into your sewer? From what I understand you ran water in the house and it backed up in the floor drain correct?

There should not be any hole in it and why does alot of water flow there? Floor drains are hard to snake. The bend is too sharp. I bet the plumber busted the pipe and or the trap and not owning up to it.

If you dont need that drain I would jack hammer the trap up and or broken pipe and replace with a elbow and a clean out. Re cement and your done.. Now you have a clean out for future cloggs and the waste will decompose through the soil over time.

Mike NJ
The floor drain is tied into the sewer. There is a cleanout by the main sewer line coming down from the bathrooms, that is where the plumber snaked to clear the clog. He didn't touch the floor drain.


You are right, the hole in the side of the drain should not be there, but 50 years ago when they wer ebuilding these houses, the builders knocked holes in the sides of the drain so rising groundwater would go down the floor drain and into the sewer system and not into the basement. So when the sewage line was blocked, the sewage backed up the sewer line, then the next avenue for it to take was the floor drain, it backed all the way up there, and then once it got in there, it kept backing up and got out the hole in the side of the drain, and then under the house.

I need the floor drain itself, the back of the basement gets a good deal of water when it gets very wet out, but it just flows down the floor drain and doesn't bother anyone. So I can't cap the floor drain to solve this problem

You said the waste will decompose over time, how long does that usually take? It's all sitting in standing water now since there ground is so wet due to the weather, do I need to wait for that to all dry out? Will Rid-X or another septic treatment help break it down and get rid of the smell?
 
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Old 02-09-11, 08:41 AM
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Its illegal as far as I know to let ground water floww into a sewer line. All you doing is putting more strain on our sewer systems. Its like when people tie their sump pumps into the sewer. Not legal. I would suggest you repair that pipe since thats where you are getting the smell and once you seal all the cement around you should not get smell.

If your getting ground water you should invest in a sump pump pit. They have them with lids that seal out the smells.

Mike NJ
 
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Old 02-09-11, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by lawrosa View Post
Its illegal as far as I know to let ground water floww into a sewer line. All you doing is putting more strain on our sewer systems. Its like when people tie their sump pumps into the sewer. Not legal. I would suggest you repair that pipe since thats where you are getting the smell and once you seal all the cement around you should not get smell.

If your getting ground water you should invest in a sump pump pit. They have them with lids that seal out the smells.

Mike NJ
Yes, you are correct, it is illegal, however my county does not require homeowners to replace them with sump pumps if the clearwater drain was there when the home was purchased. They recommend it, but I would have to pay for it, there is no county program to help pay, so I would prefer to find a solution that does not cost me big $$$.

I had one thought, the way my floor drain is, the openeing of the top of the drian is like 4 inches across. The hole in the drain itself leading down to the line is 3 inches. Around that is a ridge inside the floor drain, so when water goes in the floor drain, it fills in this "lip" area, then flow up over the inside of the lip and down the drain. Kind of like a "moat" around the actual opening to the drain.

So what if I used that as a water barrier for odors? I could get like a round margirine containier or something, turn it over, and put it over the drain openeing, with the edge of that container in the "moat". I could then cut small holes out of the container that would sit underneat the "moat" water line. This would allow water to flow into the drain, which would push water through the holes and down the drain, but not allow odor's to come up from the drain and out into the basement. The grate for the floor drain would hold down the container. Seems kinda ghetto, but I can't think of reason this wouldn't work.

I would like to mitigate the smell and give this the time to try and clear up on it's own. I want to give it every chance to resolve itself before I bite the bullet and ahell out the $$ for a sump pump install
 
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Old 02-09-11, 09:52 AM
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Sound like it may work. Your the better judge of this. What is the source of your basement water? Sometime gutters need to flow away from home and the ground needs to slope away.

I had a guy run his sump out right above the pit. Then it was seeping in the ground and right back in the pit. He could not understand why his pump ran all the time. Once I piped 4 ft away he had less pump time and water issues.

Me, I would fix the hole and find the source of your water issue and try to rectify the issue. I saw so many homes get flooded with raw sewage because of floor drains and basement bathrooms.


Mike NJ
 
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Old 02-09-11, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by lawrosa View Post
Sound like it may work. Your the better judge of this. What is the source of your basement water? Sometime gutters need to flow away from home and the ground needs to slope away.

I had a guy run his sump out right above the pit. Then it was seeping in the ground and right back in the pit. He could not understand why his pump ran all the time. Once I piped 4 ft away he had less pump time and water issues.

Me, I would fix the hole and find the source of your water issue and try to rectify the issue. I saw so many homes get flooded with raw sewage because of floor drains and basement bathrooms.


Mike NJ

The source is a high water table. Our whole community is built above natural springs. The community next ti ours doesn't even have basements.

Our gutters are clean, the ground outside is graded. If I fix that hole, the groundwater will just keep rising and find somewhere else to get in. I have two spots in the basement where there are holes in the floor and in cases of a big snow melting and other moisture, water will come up out of the holes in the floor, and I get a random wet spot or two in the middle of the carpet down there.
 
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Old 02-09-11, 05:24 PM
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I have to vote for a sump pit and pump. It shouldn't cost more than about $100 if you do it yourself and don't mind the digging. I would worry about the same thing happening, or bugs coming up through the open drain.

Regardless... just one opinion.
 
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Old 02-10-11, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Zorfdt View Post
I have to vote for a sump pit and pump. It shouldn't cost more than about $100 if you do it yourself and don't mind the digging. I would worry about the same thing happening, or bugs coming up through the open drain.

Regardless... just one opinion.
I don't have a jackhammer, or the skill or inclination to try my untrained hand at one and risk causing some huge disaster. And sump pumps themselves are a couple hundred anyway. If I do go that route, that's definetly something I would hire out.


So far the plastic cap I fashioned is working. I cut the cup down to size so it sat in the moat, cut some holes that sat below the moat water line, and the smell is gone. I dumped a few buckets of water, and while it certainly drains slower, the water does flow through the holes under the water line and down the drain. That drain doesn't get fast moving water, just a very long, never ending trickle/slow flow when there's a lot of rain and the ground is at moisture capacity. The only risk I can see is if my water heater decides to blow, it could flood the basement out, but it's fairly new and should be just fine. I guess I could run the drain hose to the sink just in case.

So now I have at least bought myself some time to see if the problem resolves itself through more groundwater flushing through the drian or the sewage breaking down.
 
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