Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Here we go again . . .

 Yep. . . . there's digging involved in this one too .

Back in April when the basement sump pump was going full-tilt-boogie we had some spray back issues around my blue foam collar where the sump pump pipe goes into the clay drain tile .

Meaning that the clay drain tile was getting clogged with maple tree roots again . 

 About twelve years ago we had the same problem , so I rented a rotor rooter and got about two wheel barrows full of roots out of it . Evidently it was time to ream it out again . 

Called the local RotorRotter Service and they wanted six hundred fifty dollars just to send a camera down the pipe . Another six hundred to solve the problem . EEEgads . . . No thanks .

 Went to Big Orange and rented this rig for 75$ and went at the clay tile for about three hours

And pulled this mess out of the pipe . 

For a sense of scale that root on the lower right there is about 3/8ths of an inch thick

Success . . . . it seemed to run clear when I put the garden hose down the pipe . . .  

Yea . . . don't celebrate so quick  . . . about a month later the problem reappeared .

So I looked around to rent a pipe camera . . .  no one in town had one . . .

Then I hit up my friend Dave , the man in charge down at the Waste Water Treatment plant , and within a couple days he showed up at my door with this rig . 

A giant colonoscope for elephants .

Fancy rig even tells you how far it goes down the pipe and rings a bell when it hits standing water .

Measured it out from the corner of the house and to a point sighting down the side of the garage across the street . At least that was what I remembered it to be from when they laid the new storm drains ten years ago . Then went at it for a couple hours fighting roots and cursing til I was four feet down .

Yea , you should have stopped after two feet found ya nothing you retard . . . . aghhhhhh... 

OK , time put the tools away and sleep on this one . 

The next morning I thought to look at the photos I had taken back when they put the new storm drains in the street for some guidance locating my connection to the street .

 And sure enough , if you sight from the end of the fence where it meets the house right past the bricks around the maple tree , there it is .  I had been digging on the wrong side of the mailbox post .

Fifteen minutes of digging , and about two feet down I found it .

A couple more hours of  . . .

Cursing the maple roots . . .

. . . got me enough working space to try and open the pipe up

To find this mess and a bunch more of it up stream out of reach

So off to Big Orange again for a hundred feet of inch and a quarter polyethylene pipe . 

Yea I only needed about forty five feet of it and they only sell hundred foot rolls .

A bunch of whittling on a piece of inch and a half thick dowel . . .

Gets me this . . . 

 . . . that I attach to one end of the black poly pipe with a drywall screw .

and send in the basement window , down the clay drain tile . . .

. . . till it comes out thirty seven feet downstream at the far end .


Cut the wooden torpedo off .


Then an hour more of colorful language to make that pipe stub I had saved from scraps they left on my lawn ten years ago fit in place of the broken clay tile I deleted .

Cause things don't exactly line up , and the female end of the pipe stub has a big fat O-ring to seal it except it takes a bulldozer to push it on . 

I manged to bend my six foot steel pry bar trying to lever that pig on .

But I finally managed to get it all together and wrapped it with some Bituthane for good measure to make sure the roots can't find their way in that joint .

Nothing left but to back fill 


Push the black polyethylene pipe another 4 feet down to the street and tie it in to the sump pump pipe with a rubber collar . 

 Now the maple tree roots can go in the clay tile all they want to but wont as there is no water in there , and we have an unobstructed run for the sump pump to push ground water out to the storm drains in the street .


  1. Aren't roots wonderful! Good workaround for damnable clay pipe, it should never be used except for clay pots...

    1. Well that was the height of technology in 1937 when the drain tile was put in. Amazing it has held out so long.