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Re: Anyone ever have a busted sewer line in their JC house?
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Yes, Eugene Brajczewski did the work.

Posted on: 2016/3/29 20:24
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Re: Anyone ever have a busted sewer line in their JC house?
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I was a licensed insurance broker for 20 years and I can tell you that sewer backup is NOT covered under a standard homeowners policy. Some companies will offer to sell you a "rider" that extends coverage for that for an additional premium. I can't quote you exact pricing but I think it used to be about $150 a year. When you're in a flood zone or awfully near one, meaning most of DTJC, few if any company will even offer you the coverage.

After owning a total of 3 houses Downtown over the past 30 years, the absolute BEST thing you can do is install a check valve (sometimes called a backwater valve) that basically lets the water out but not back in. And while you're at it, if you have a small well in your basement with a sump pump at the bottom of it be SURE to put a check valve on that line too. The cost of both of those valves is maybe $100 (plus installation if you're not Handy) and you can relax.

Case in point: During Sandy my home near the Main Library just north of VVP had zero flooding on the street - it was all draining away. But being in DTJC means you're at the bottom of the hill and with sea levels being as high as they were there was no place for water in the sewer lines to go. My immediate neighbor ignored my advice about the check valves and he ended up with close to 5' of sewage (using the polite term here) in his basement. Some water came through our common foundation wall, but it wasn't much. He spent thousands on replacing his boiler and water heater and disinfecting the basement with bleach.

Rooting your pipe 2x/year seems like overkill. Those roots are pretty dormant for 1/2 of the year...

Posted on: 2016/3/29 20:09
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Re: Anyone ever have a busted sewer line in their JC house?
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I had the city's sewer main collapse and fill my cellar with sewer so I feel your pain. I've had numerous other plumbing/sewer issues since that time. As the owner of a property with sewer issues, I think it's vital to develop a relationship with a good plumber who you can call on in emergencies and who understand the idiosyncrasies of your house's plumbing. I can recommend two: Al Lloyd of Super Rooter and Byron Hutchinson whose name I got from JCList. Al is cheaper and perhaps a bit more willing to tackle big projects and he does have more experience but we found Byron to be very professional and diligent in his solutions.

This doesn't directly address your problem but a few bits of additional advice if I may: 1. Find out what your homeowners insurance says about sewage backups. 2. Once you have your lines fixed, it might be advisable to roto rooter them on a regular basis (we do ours twice a year). 3. Make sure the city is maintaining the street main properly. Since we're downtown we often find that the street main is backed up (which sometimes leads to sewage in our basement). It should always be "low and running." The MUA can check that for you if you suspect a problem.

Good luck!

Posted on: 2016/3/29 17:57
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Re: Anyone ever have a busted sewer line in their JC house?
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K-Lo was your contractor Eugene Brajczewski? If so I will reach out to him. Thanks

Posted on: 2016/3/29 15:57
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Re: Anyone ever have a busted sewer line in their JC house?
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It was about $6.5K but it was at least 15 years ago. They were
incredibly careful around the slate sidewalk. Another plumber, who quoted twice the price, wanted to demo the slate because he couldn't be bothered.

Posted on: 2016/3/27 14:41
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Re: Anyone ever have a busted sewer line in their JC house?
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Nope, it was a wood pipe. Made like a barrel with staves and metal bands, coated on the inside with tar. And sewer lines were commonly run through back yards so that they didn't have to dig up the cobblestone streets-

Posted on: 2016/3/27 13:30
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Re: Anyone ever have a busted sewer line in their JC house?
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Wooden sewer?!? That's insane. I'm pretty sure the city snaked the main line and it was pvc.

Posted on: 2016/3/27 12:54
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Re: Anyone ever have a busted sewer line in their JC house?
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Thanks for the recommendantion. Mind if I ask how much the whole job cost including the hand digging? And were your pipes about 7 feet down? Thanks

Posted on: 2016/3/27 12:52
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Re: Anyone ever have a busted sewer line in their JC house?
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I seriously feel your pain-

I bought a 3-unit rental building on 4th St. near Grove in 1986. A few months later the toilets wouldn't flush and the drains were clogged. Plumber informs me that my house soil pipe leads to the BACK of the house where it connected to the 1880's-era WOODEN sewer line which had collapsed. There wasn't a basement, so I had zero access to the house line.

It basically required a chain saw massacre of a perfect oak strip floor and the underlying joists on the ground floor, a lot of digging and jackhammering and trenching out to the modern sewer line in the middle of the street. I think it cost me about 7K which was a ton of money back then. My immediate neighbor also had to do the same.

About all I can add with limited info from the OP is that you need to be sure that the pipe you are connecting to is fully functional and not some clogged up old relic.

Posted on: 2016/3/26 13:22
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Re: Anyone ever have a busted sewer line in their JC house?
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YES!!! We had a busted terra cotta pipe.. Every time it rained we had a couple of inches of water in our basement.

Brajczewski Plumbing dug up under the slate slabs on our street...by hand... to replace the pipes. It was hell getting them in to do the work, but they did a terrific job.

Posted on: 2016/3/25 23:36
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Re: Anyone ever have a busted sewer line in their JC house?
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Ugh that sucks! Seems like my issue might be a little different because the line is in the backyard so no street has to be torn up. What does stink is that no big equipment can get back there so it has to be dug by hand. Who knows how much that will cost.

Posted on: 2016/3/25 22:55
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Re: Anyone ever have a busted sewer line in their JC house?
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I feel your pain...

I had an old terracotta main line bust under one of my buildings. Unfortunately it was in an inaccessible crawl space and not a basement. Ended up tearing up the floor from one end of the ground floor apartment to the other, replacing the terracotta with PVC.

Big mess since I had a tenant there at the time. Her friggin cat got trapped in the crawl space after we put the new floors down.

The terracotta line from the building to the street I left as is for now. I have an issue with tree roots getting into the line, which right now is kept under control with root killer and routing out the line every now and then. I'll replace the line probably next year.

Generally budget about $15k for new lines (as a rule of thumb) for replacing one from the building to the sewer in the street.

Posted on: 2016/3/25 22:28
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Anyone ever have a busted sewer line in their JC house?
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Hi folks,

Please help. I bought a row house in the Heights 2 months ago. The day before I was supposed to move in there was a huge rainstorm and the basement flooded with 3 inches of water.

First we discovered cracks in our clay pipes after we jackhammered the basement floor. After lengthy investigations , our plumber discovered that there was another crack and a crappy patch job 7 feet underground right at the back of the house underneath the shared downspout with our neighbor. I should also mention that we had the city come over to assess the main sewer line that runs in our backyard (20 feet from the house) and it was fine...

Because there is no access point to the backyard from the road, the 7-foot hole had to be dug manually. It was a huge job to dig and run a new pipe from the inside of our house to the back. And that was only 25% of the line-it cost 8k!! Now we've discovered that there may be another crack about 16 feet out. We dropped a camera down and they hit something past that who knows if there are additional cracks plus no one really knows where the main line is exactly. So we can't get an accurate estimate of what running a whole new line would be.

The plumbing is working fine now. I'm just over it. Anyone have a similar sewer issue? If I'm not having any problems should I just leave well enough alone and call it a day. I'm at the end of my rope here. Thanks

Posted on: 2016/3/25 22:16
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