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Thread: Wastewater from upstairs neighbor in kitchen sink!

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  1. #1

    Default Wastewater from upstairs neighbor in kitchen sink!

    Hopefully someone in this forum can help answer this question. I live in a three story condo, on the second floor. Twice since I have lived here, my kitchen sink has filled up with dirty dishwater, apparently from my neighbor upstairs. This last time, the backup occurred when I was out, and it spilled out of my sink and all over my kitchen floor, and leaked through the floor to the first floor as well! This is no ordinary tap water; it was filled with food particles and soap. This flooding occurs when my upstairs neighbor drains her sink (after washing dishes) and runs the garbage disposal. I also have a garbage disposal in my unit, but my sink has been empty and disposal clear of food each time this has occured.

    Why does the water come into my sink, and then fail to drain? Is it because the pressure of her disposal? All I can think is that maybe her disposal "forces" the water up my sink, and then all the food garbage in the water subsequently blocks my drain, causing the water to back up and flood my kitchen. The condo association plumber said that nothing is wrong with the pipes in the building, and suggested I get a "backflow preventer valve". Is this adequate to prevent this from happening again?

    Thanks in advance for any help you can provide!!

  2. #2
    DIY Senior Member e-plumber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    New York

    Default Kitchen Sink Overflow

    The common drain line (kitchen drain stack) right below your apartment has a restriction in it, especially if the unit below yours is not affected, (except when your sink overflows ) .
    The plumber for the building should snake the line from your sink drain using the right equipment, what happened last time it clogged, how long did it last before it happened again?.
    Installing a check valve as they suggested on your line is only a band-aid to the actual problem.

  3. #3

    Default Wastewater from upstairs neighbor

    Hopefully someone in this forum can help answer this question. I live in a three story condo, on the first floor, there's no basement. My toilet was backed up and kitchen sink flooded my kitchen with dirty dishwater, apparently from my neighbor upstairs. I hired a plumber to snake my plumbing and seemed to work temporarily. The plumbers advised me that it's because my building is old and there's depression in the main plumbing stack. Recently, it started backing up again. I need to convince my Condo Board that this is not just my issue, but a building issue. Also, what is the solution?

    Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.

  4. #4
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007


    If the water in the sink was not put there by you, it is a common problem shared by one or more units, it is their problem! It is that simple! If they fail to move to correct the problem seek legal counsul.

    They are responsible for repairs and damages to your unit!
    Last edited by Redwood; 11-20-2008 at 03:51 PM.

  5. #5
    DIY Junior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    north carolina

    Default Almost the same problem

    I live in a one story house. I was doing the dishes and noticed that the sink begun flooding a bit. I made sure there wasnt any food debris in the bottom of the sink and turned on the garbage disposal. THe water went down a bit and then it started rising again. The other sink started to flood a bit but went down a little. then when i went to the master bedroom, the entire bathroom was flooded with water containing food debris... like it was from the garbage disposal. Does anyone know what could be the problem? Now, whenever the kitchen water is running, it somehow travels to the master bedroom sink and floods it. I had to scoop all the water out and flush them all. I can't even use the kitchen water anymore.

  6. #6
    Jack of all trades frenchie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Brooklyn, NY and Fire Island, NY


    There's a clog in the main line, just past where you kitchen sink drain & the bathroom drain lines connect to it.
    Master Plumber Mark:

    there is nothing better than the
    manly smell of WD 40 in the air
    while banging away on brass with a chisel and hammer...

    it smells like......victory......

    do not hit your thumb...
    Just so everyone's clear: I'm the POODLE in the picture ("french", get it?) The hot woman is my wife.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2009

    Exclamation Waste water from upstairs

    No not main line !
    But common drain from kitchen sink into lav. Sink needs the kitchen drain power snaked by a professional drain cleaner :d

    you lav sink is 30" high ! The kitchen sink is 36" high water seeks
    the lowest level !

    I used to do work at some apts, that had this happen all the time !
    Last edited by Terry; 12-29-2009 at 05:18 PM.

  8. #8
    DIY Junior Member torontotoiletguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010


    Call your local plumbing supply emporium, a plumber or your building manager! In my part of town the septic drains and the main drains are seperate so we don't wind up with e=coli infections that kill people. Sounds to me like this is an issue for mighty mouse... or at least a good plumber. Something smells fishy (pardon the pun)


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