: We recently bought our home. It is aproximately 55-60 years old. I call it clay, but it may be cast iron pipe. Our toilet plugged one day, we ran a 50' electric drain snake down the main line under the house. We ended up digging up and making visible the pipe line that goes to the cities line. Now we have standing waste water in our back yard from the exposed pipe. WHY? Why won't the water drain? Yes there is a small whole from which it comes out when we shower or flush. But why won't it drain back into itself? It has to be draing somewhat, otherwise the back yard would be completely flooded with waste water. We dug this line up so as to replace it, but now we aren't sure how to proceed. Do we really need too? Do we just break a section and run a snake down at that point to see if there is another obstruction? Please, any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. We have to do this ourselves, there is no money to call a plumber at this time. And this is not something we can just let go unattended.
: Vince & Susan Harden
Without knowing all the details of your situation I will offer some comments. (and thinking of you working as a do it yourselfer)
It sounds like your sewer line is more than 50' to the main city line. You HAVE to get the line opened up and drained so that it can now be worked on and repaired. If this is the case (line is longer than 50'), you have to get a different cleaning tool, but you may be farther ahead hiring someone to do this part. The sewage now coming into your yard from the hole you created in the pipe is a health hazard, you should not come in contact with it (people trained to deal with this have received hepatitis shots and know what the risks are, so get the line to drain first). As far as you making a repair to this line I again say Hmmmmm. This is not ordinary homeowner work. Not being trained to work in excavations, not having the proper tools, not having any experience, and making a repair on a line that is a vital part of your homes working system that will be passed to future homeowners is a little shaky to me. I think you should at least contact your City and ask if you CAN do this work yourself. If so, hopefully, they would advise you on the repair materials and perhaps how to install them. You may be able to install a cleanout at the point you broke the line that would serve as a repair connection and a future access point for cleaning. But this is NOT a matter of breaking the pipe apart and concreting the joints together. Depending on the pipe materialyou should use the correct fittings. The CITY may want/require this work to be inspected and this is a great idea isn't it? That way you can rest assured that you as a homeowner didn't do anything wrong. If you proceed yourself I have one last comment, please be careful and safe.