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Thread: Water Line Inside Sewer Pipe

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  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member rugoofy's Avatar
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    Default Water Line Inside Sewer Pipe

    My neighbor had a new water line installed. When the company they hired pushed the water line through the ground they hit and broke my sewer line, which is actually a community sewer line that I share with at least one other neighbor. Since they had their water line installed I have been getting sewage backing up into my basement about once every 3-4 weeks. I've tried talking to my neighbor and the company that installed their water line but haven't gotten anywhere with them. The company that installed the water line says its not their fault because they didn't know the water line was there and my neighbor doesn't want to pay to get it fixed. Does anyone here have any suggestions for me? Can I go to the water department and get their water line condemned until they get it fixed? I'm not sure what I can do short of hiring a lawyer and sueing them so anything would help. thank you very much.

    Last edited by Terry; 07-31-2013 at 03:13 PM.

  2. #2
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    I wouldn't be on the internet asking questions, I would be talking to the municipality. There are specific rules that govern the positioning of a potable water line in relation to a sanitary line, and it is apparent they did not follow them.

  3. #3
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    The neighbor should repair any lines that were broken.
    It's his water service replacement that caused the damage.

    Reprinted from PSE

    What is a cross bore?

    When a gas line is installed or replaced, utilities commonly dig underground horizontally to avoid damaging existing surface structures, such as roads, sidewalks and landscaping. This installation method is more efficient and less invasive than open trenching.
    Unfortunately, due to unmarked sewer pipes, these installation methods can unknowingly cause a gas facility to be inserted through a sewer pipe. This is called a cross bore.
    Why is it important?

    Though cross bores are rare and pose almost no threat unless damaged, for example, by a sewer clearing machine, they do occur, and the danger they pose is real. If a sewer clearing machine damages a cross bore while attempting to remove a sewer blockage, natural gas could enter your home or business, posing a very serious safety issue.
    How do they happen?

    Cross bores happen because sewer lines are typically made of material that is difficult to detect by electronic locating equipment. Therefore, a contractor may inadvertently bore through an existing sewer line even after calling 811 Call Before You Dig and using a locating service to identify the underground utilities in the path.
    Last edited by Terry; 07-31-2013 at 04:27 PM.

  4. #4
    In the Trades Jerome2877's Avatar
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    The company that installed the water line says its not their fault because they didn't know the water line was there
    The first thing that is done before any excavating is to get locates for any underground services. If they did this and still hit something they are still liable to fix it.

  5. #5
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Locates don't establish where the sewer line to a property is.
    Only for things like
    Gas
    Electrical,
    Telephone
    Cable

    Locates don't find side sewers or water services.
    The contractor should fix the line where it has been broken, but the homeowner is contracting and paying for the work.
    Is the homeowner saying, Sorry, I hired a hack and now it's "your" problem?

    I can't imagine replacing someone's water service, drilling and ruining a sewer line by accident and then just leaving the job.
    Last edited by Terry; 07-31-2013 at 04:25 PM.

  6. #6
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    Unless you get immediate action to remedy this, I would urge you to contact an attorney. If there is need for legal action, to sooner the attorney has the case, the better. You should not have to fight this on your own. Trying to be Mr. Nice Guy and avoid hiring legal help is just asking for trouble.

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