Sewer line. Needing advice!

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tbh8644

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Hello,

New to this forum so I'm hoping I'm posting in the right area. This past weekend our sewer pipe in our basement began to leak. Due to all other plumbers being busy we hesitantly called RotoRooter who did an over priced snake of the drain but did pull out debris. They said they couldn't get all the way through with a 4 inch and 3 inch blade so ordered a complimentary camera inspection this morning. Everything was going fine until the technician found debris in the pipe. He stated that our pipe was shot and it was pieces of pipe and that we definitely needed a new sewer line. I almost lost it. My wife questioned where the hole was then the technician got defensive and instead of going further in his inspection took the camera out to tell us it would cost 13,000. I've read a ton of bad experiences with RR so I was curious what you all would suggest is done next. We've lived in the house for only 4 months and it was built in the 60's. Thanks!
 

Reach4

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Second opinion... probably a non-free camera scoping. One step I would consider is talking to the sewer department. They may be eager and able to tell you what experience has shown. They may feel they cannot talk freely. It shouldn't hurt to ask. At a minimum, they can give you a list of approved contractors who do that stuff.

Debris.... not roots? Roots are the common cause of clay tile failure. Did you see, or even better get, a sample of the debris?

However here are some questions:
What are sewer pipes out to the street line made of? If clay, replacing with PVC is probably going to be needed at some point.

Have a lot of your neighbors had to get their lines replaced? If so, that is a sign. The lawn scars last several years usually. There will be a mound of dirt after the sewer work, and may be a depression later. The old pipe is usually buried on top of the old new pipe, so an actual depression may never happen. Don't let them put clay in the top 6 inches. Get that taken away, and buy top soil. Clay on top make it very hard to get good grass growing.

Are the fire hydrants on your side of the street, or across the street. If across the street, it is likely the sewer is nearer, but it may still be under the street. Putting in PVC often does not involve replacing all of the way to the main anyway.

Do you have an outside cleanout? If you get any underground sewer pipe work done, adding an outside cleanout will be one of the things done.
 
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tbh8644

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I'll try to answer your question. Our neighbor across the street needed their pipes replaced about 20 years ago they said.

Hydrants are on the other side of the street.

We didn't get a sample of any of the debris. It definitely wasn't roots. The technician was trying to say it was parts of the pipe. He also tried to say that our pipes weren't at an angle so water just sat. He threw so much info at us in my opinion to scare us. Luckily, we have heard of a trusting plumber in the area we can contact.
 

Reach4

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I am glad you had your shields up.
 

hj

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quote;The old pipe is usually buried on top of the old pipe,

I have NEVER done that because the new pipe has to connect where the old one is at BOTH ends, so it CANNOT be higher than the old one, NOR lower. It has to be almost exactly in the same place the old one is, after the old one is removed.
 

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I have NEVER done that because the new pipe has to connect where the old one is at BOTH ends, so it CANNOT be higher than the old one, NOR lower. It has to be almost exactly in the same place the old one is, after the old one is removed.

EDIT: I mis-typed. I meant to say the old pipe is buried on top of the new pipe.

Old clay pipe is pulled out. PVC is put in making the connections. The old pipe is added as part of the fill. I expect the old clay pipe is broken to pieces before adding it to the trench over the new PVC pipe.

I would rather they had hauled away the old pipe and part of the crappy clay subsoil. Then after things settle, add topsoil without having to first remove bad soil.
 
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