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    Hi, We were getting bad sewer smells coming from our basement and found an old un-capped pipe down there. We hired a plumber, but he just cut the pipe and filled it with cement (as opposed to capping it first). Our sewer smell is back and I was wondering if it could still be coming through the cement since the pipe wasn't capped with anything else (and cement is pourous)? Thanks in advance!

    So, do you think we should have a photo volatic camera run through the sewer line to check for cracks? The smell has been coming and going for several years now... but no sewer blockage or anything.

    Last edited by speedball1; Sep 13, 2008 at 09:41 AM.
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    11 Answers
    Milo Dolezal's Avatar
    Milo Dolezal Posts: 6,940, Reputation: 486
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    #2

    Sep 12, 2008, 07:39 AM


    The proper way of capping a sewer pipe is to cap it with a cap.

    Was that pipe under ground ? Horizontal or vertical ? What type of material ?
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    MichelleOM's Avatar
    MichelleOM Posts: 5, Reputation: 1
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    #3

    Sep 12, 2008, 07:49 AM
    The pipe was sticking out of the ground (vertical), and curved at the top. It was very old- probably made of cast iron or something. They cut it so that it was flush with the floor, and filled it with cement (no cap was used). Could the smell still be coming through, or should be looking for another problem down there? Thanks again!
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    Milo Dolezal's Avatar
    Milo Dolezal Posts: 6,940, Reputation: 486
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    #4

    Sep 12, 2008, 07:54 AM


    I would look around for another open pipe. Maybe crack in your sewer pipe. Also, look for signs of wetness under and around pipes.

    Yes, concrete is pouros - but I don't think it is the source of smell. Is the concrete they poured inside this pipe wet ?

    Is there a floor drain in your basement ?
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    MichelleOM's Avatar
    MichelleOM Posts: 5, Reputation: 1
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    #5

    Sep 12, 2008, 08:00 AM
    Ok- thanks. The concrete they poured in is dry now. The smell seemed to go away for about a month, and now it's back. There is no floor drain that I can see down there. Is the only way to tell whether there is a crack in the sewer pipe through a photo voltaic camera? The smell comes and goes- every 4 to 5 days or so...
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    Milo Dolezal's Avatar
    Milo Dolezal Posts: 6,940, Reputation: 486
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    #6

    Sep 12, 2008, 08:02 AM


    Is there any plumbing fixture in that area ? Sink, laundry... etc ?
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    MichelleOM's Avatar
    MichelleOM Posts: 5, Reputation: 1
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    #7

    Sep 12, 2008, 08:04 AM
    No, just an old basement (house was built in 1905). I think there was a laundry sink down there at one time, explaining the old cast iron pipe that was left uncapped.
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    Milo Dolezal's Avatar
    Milo Dolezal Posts: 6,940, Reputation: 486
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    #8

    Sep 12, 2008, 08:06 AM
    Also, do you have a sewer ejector ? Any exposed sewer pipes ?
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    MichelleOM's Avatar
    MichelleOM Posts: 5, Reputation: 1
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    #9

    Sep 12, 2008, 08:08 AM
    Not sure what a sewer ejector is... doesn't look like there are any exposed sewer pipes (these would all be at floor level, or underground, correct?)
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    Milo Dolezal's Avatar
    Milo Dolezal Posts: 6,940, Reputation: 486
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    #10

    Sep 12, 2008, 08:17 AM
    If there is a sewer ejector than you would have some kind of hatch door in the floor and maybe some pipe coming out of it.

    Pipes in the basement would be running below the ceiling or on the wall.
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    Milo Dolezal's Avatar
    Milo Dolezal Posts: 6,940, Reputation: 486
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    #11

    Sep 12, 2008, 09:35 AM
    Your house - and plumbing for that matter - is over 100 years old. Cast iron pipe will disintegrate over long periods. It gets thinner and thinner until it caves in. If you have sewer seeping into the dirt in your basement, than it may be saturated with sewer. That's what smells.

    I would invest in sewer video inspection. Stand by the plumber during the inspection and watch his monitor with him. Healthy pipe should be smooth and empty. Look for ubnormalities like bumps, sharp edges in pipe, breaks, dirt inside the pipe... etc. See if you can have copy of CD / DVD of the inspection for your use. If positive, show it to other plumber(s) for second opinion. Act accordingly...
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    speedball1's Avatar
    speedball1 Posts: 29,303, Reputation: 1939
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    #12

    Sep 13, 2008, 09:54 AM
    If you find cracks, roots or broken sections in your sewer main let me tell you my story. Let me explain a bit more about my drainage problem and how I repaired it. 54 year old house. The builder used sub standard cast iron in the drainage. The 4" house main was completely ate up on the bottom of the pipe , blocked with roots and welling up in my living room floor. I was sure that the main had broke in two and I would have to jack hammer up the floor and tunnel under the foundation to transition to PVC, pick up the back bath and move the main outside the house but I had to know what was going on under the slab so a friend suggested running a camera down there. There was no distinct break in the main, however,it was completely ate up on the bottom. That's when Rooter Man of Sarasota and Gulf Coast Florida suggested relining the main, (see image). It took a day to clear the roots and pressure jet clean the main. Next day they came back and relined the main with epoxy. I now have a sewer main that will out last me, (50 year guarantee) and the best part is that I didn't have to, tear up my house and the cost was under half of what I figured to take the main outside around the house. Another bonus was that it was done without tearing up or disturbing my house. When they were finished I kept a piece of the epoxy liner to check it out. It was white and had the same thickness of Schedule#40 PVC. (See image)
    I was amazed at the equipment RooterMan had outside my place. The equipment he had cost upwards of $100,000.00. Hi tech stuff that took a technician to run it. There were 3 men and 2 trucks to do the job. And it was completed in two days. Lottsa difference from the old days when I went out on a sewer call with a Ridged K-60 Sewer Machine and a ladder to get to the roof vent. I just wanted to point out that there's another option besides replacing drainage that the years have ruined. If your pipes are a candidate for a reline job I strongly suggest you look into it before you decide to replace the drainage pipes. I did and saved a bundle in addition to keeping my home intact. Just thought I would share that with you all. Regards, Tom
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