Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Plumbing problems

I live in my grandmother's house, which is over 50 years old, with plumbing that is about 40 years old. We have lots of large Maple trees in the area, and a line of evergreens runs right next to the sewer line. So it's not really surprising that we've always had plumbing issues. Every time the plumbers come out to clear the lines they tell Gramma that she needs to replace the old clay pipes with new plastic ones. The roots of all those trees just grow right into the clay pipes. She was hoping she could avoid the expense of putting in a new sewer pipe, but those hopes were dashed last week. Of course it had to be late Saturday night when she overflowed her toilet (what a mess!). Because all the other drains, and the toilet downstairs were still working fine, we thought it might just be a problem with her toilet. Monday morning our plumber friend came out to take a look. It didn't take him long to see that this was a bigger job than he could handle. So we called Mr. Rooter, as we have numerous times in the past. They spent most of the day out there and finally came to the conclusion that not only were the pipes full (and I do mean FULL) of roots, but some portions of the pipe had collapsed completely. There really wasn't much choice but to replace the pipe all the way from the back of the house, out to the street. At least the sewer line ran along the side of the garage instead of under the driveway. They did have to dig up the entire concrete back porch and down to a depth of about 10'. We had a huge 10' deep trench running from the back of the house, along the side of the garage, and down the side yard out to the sidewalk. So we basically have no back porch and no side yard. Not only did the poor excavator have to deal with very narrow confines in which to maneuver his machine, but he had to dig 10' down through solid clay, with a machine that was really too small for the job. There's not much room between the garage and the evergreens, so they had to rent a small machine from another company. The excavator was very good at his job, though, and was very respectful of our property. While we did end up losing the rose bed (it just couldn't be helped), he managed to avoid damaging any of my other flowers. Heck, he even took our garbage cans out to the garbage men, and then actually brought them back up to the house! How's that for service! All in all, we had to put up with all the excavation and laying of pipe and whatnot for nearly a week. But we have a brand new plastic sewer line now and everything drains better than it ever did. Oh and the salesman's big pitch to Gramma was that the line had a lifetime warranty. Gramma's 93 years old. Not really the most appropriate sales pitch here. Now all my husband and I have to do is make a wooden porch out back (something pretty basic) so that we don't have to slog through mucky clay every time it rains, and so I can get the lawn mower into the back yard. Of course it keeps raining, making a big muddy mess out of everything. I think we're going to have that mound of dirt in the side yard forever. Here's some pictures of our mess.
plumbing what a messplumbing trench in side yard
Our driveway is under that mound of dirt!

plumbing the view from the garageplumbing the little green machine on what used to be the back porch
This is the view from inside the garage. This is the little green machine that dug up the back porch.

plumbing our driveways under thatplumbing between garage and trees
This is the area between the garage and the evergreens.

plumbing dirt in drive2
This is a view from the street. Jim had to park the truck in the yard. The excavator managed to avoid damaging the flower beds on either side of the driveway, which is good, because I just planted miniature roses and Malva flowers a few months ago.
Thanks for stopping by and checking out my mess!
-Michelle of CreativeCritters

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