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Old 05-21-2014, 04:01 PM
 
2,845 posts, read 5,775,500 times
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So my mom just spent a lot of money to have her front and backyward landscaped ($10k). She's been wanting to do this for many years.

A few weeks later the gardener said "hey I think there is something wrong with your sewer line" and showed her where sewage is coming up this pipe lid (sorry don't know what it's called) where you can access the pipe below to look inside or whatever.

Anyways, she called two plumbers and both said the same thing, where her line connects to the city line, a pipe has slipped. My mom went with the first plumber and they took pictures and put together a report for her and the city is having an inspector come out. The estimate is about $15k to repair.

A few years ago the city came out and tore up the street in front of our house and the plumber thinks the problem might have been going on for a while (thinking they did a shoddy repair job because I remember they ripped up piping up to our house and leading to our house) but that we never noticed it before or that just recently it's gotten worse. We even had a lot of issue at that time because mice were going into the tunnels and I had to get pest control to come out and help with that.

The plumber says the city may pay, but he's not sure. He said it's a toss up.

My mom called her home owner's insurance and they said it's not covered if it's on her side and the city won't pay.

Me I'm like what? WTF is HOI for then? I'm not home so I told her I'll go check her policy later, but I think the HOI is just trying to get out of it if the city does the same.

Anyone had issues with this, outcomes?

The only person we know who dealt with this in another city ended up selling their house.
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Old 05-21-2014, 04:34 PM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
33,082 posts, read 77,621,120 times
Reputation: 41369
Quote:
Originally Posted by beera View Post
Homeowner owned pipes (are) broken...
So my mom just spent a lot of money to have her front and backyward landscaped

A few weeks later the gardener said...
Is that a licensed and insured "gardener"?
Did they have any heavy equipment on the lot?

Quote:
Anyways, she called two plumbers.. The estimate is about $15k to repair.
Depending on how far and how deep... that still sounds high.

Quote:
A few years ago the city came out and tore up the street in front of our house...
the plumber thinks the problem might have been going on for a while
but that we never noticed it before or that just recently (gardener?) it's gotten worse.

Anyone had issues with this, outcomes?
It happens EVERY day.

EVERY house will eventually need the "dig 'em up" job done.
Most will do the water line at the same time.

Cause? Age
Mitigating factors? Heavy equipment across the yard is common.
Answer? Get more estimates. Pay the bill. Sue the gardener.

eta:
Have you ever seen a plumbers truck with an equipment trailer behind it?
There is a reason they own that backhoe.
Attached Thumbnails
Pipes that connect to the main city pipes broken connection- experiences?-farr.loaded.trucks-954x3751-1.jpg  

Last edited by MrRational; 05-21-2014 at 04:43 PM..
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Old 05-21-2014, 04:48 PM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
49,924 posts, read 55,637,881 times
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Yeah, my first thought was that the gardener did it.

Typically the city only covers from the city sewer line up to your property line, and the line from the meter to your house is the homeowners' responsibility. It typically is pretty expensive.

Since this is the connection TO the city line, I am very interested in what the city sewer inspector says. Until then, everything else is conjecture.
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Old 05-21-2014, 06:56 PM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
33,082 posts, read 77,621,120 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wmsn4Life View Post
Typically the city only covers from the city sewer line up to your property line...
Since this is the connection TO the city line...
The only difference in these two is which direction you're facing when you say it.
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Old 05-21-2014, 07:47 PM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
49,924 posts, read 55,637,881 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrRational View Post
The only difference in these two is which direction you're facing when you say it.
...from the main city sewer trunk line to the property line is the city's purview. At least where I'm from.
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Old 05-21-2014, 08:25 PM
 
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The gardener didn't dig to any pipes or anything though. No heavy equipment was involved. The bulk of the work was done in the backyard anyways, the only thing they did in the front was put sod and flowers. When my parents first bought the house 17 years ago they did landscaping, but they never kept up with it. I think if this was going on for 17 years we might have noticed earlier.

The city did however a few years ago come up and dig that exact spot up, do some work, and then close everything up. We were never even told what they were doing in front of our house, just told not to use any water for like a day because they were doing some work. The plumber is the one who asked if anyone had done work on the pipes in the last few years because it looks like some kind of repair job was done, and when we told him about the city coming out he told us we had that in our favor because maybe they did not repair it properly and this problem may have been going on for a while but we just are barely noticing it (because we did the landscaping).

We did find out pretty much most homeowner's insurances don't cover it, so there's that.

I think someone might be coming out Friday, my mom called the city public works to find out what they did to the pipes at that time.

The plumber cleaned out and checked the whole lateral pipe with a snake and said the rest of the pipe looks fine, it's just the exact area where the two pipes connect has "slipped."
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Old 05-21-2014, 08:34 PM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
40,630 posts, read 72,546,979 times
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I have been in utilities many years, and for a side sewer the responsibility can go either way. In some cities they will do repairs up to the sidewalk, including the connection to the collector in the street. In others, it's all yours to maintain. Here in Seattle, for example, it's privately owned, so you have to pay a plumber and also the city for a permit. If it's any consolation, that's a good price, if they stick to it. Not only will the Seattle require a permit to do the work, they will also require a street use permit and on busy streets flaggers when trenching.
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Old 05-21-2014, 09:19 PM
 
2,845 posts, read 5,775,500 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hemlock140 View Post
I have been in utilities many years, and for a side sewer the responsibility can go either way. In some cities they will do repairs up to the sidewalk, including the connection to the collector in the street. In others, it's all yours to maintain. Here in Seattle, for example, it's privately owned, so you have to pay a plumber and also the city for a permit. If it's any consolation, that's a good price, if they stick to it. Not only will the Seattle require a permit to do the work, they will also require a street use permit and on busy streets flaggers when trenching.
Thanks for the information. Yes that's pretty much what the plumber said. It's a toss up based upon what their inspector from the city will say.

We don't live on a busy street, a small side street, and yup, they told us about having to purchase some insurance or something, block off that part of the street, get permits, etc.

Fun times... My mom is so upset she wants to sell the house. I told her this can happen anywhere. She's grumbling about going to the media if the city doesn't fix it, I told her don't be ridiculous, I looked up the city public works and there is a policy that outlines what the city does and does not cover, but this is a little ambiguous IMO, which can work in my mom's favor. Nothing about the actual connection between the two and whose responsibility that would be. The area where this piping is and the issue is, is under the city owned part of the sidewalk and street.
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Old 06-03-2014, 08:28 PM
 
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Well if anyone was curious about the result, the city is going to fix it.

They are coming soon and said it wouldn't take long. So that is a relief!
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Old 06-03-2014, 08:33 PM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
49,924 posts, read 55,637,881 times
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Awesome news! Thx for the update.
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