Within a few days of moving in, I began to notice a distinctive foul odor in the basement. Investigating further, I traced it to the floor drain, I lifted the drain cover and discovered a sea of poo. Something was backed up.
We called a plumber who ran a power snake down the waste pipe. After some maneuvering, the end of the snake emerged from the ground near the base of a concrete porch pier we had poured the previous fall in preparation for the porch construction this season.
Bad news. Our sewer line was clearly broken and fixing it would require an excavator. However, we were luckly on several counts. For one, we hadn’t yet started construction on the porch. Even better, we had not yet disposed of our previous home, which was about five miles away. So we had a backup bathroom. And to top it off we had not yet paved the driveway which ran next to the porch. In an amazing stroke of luck, the pavers had just begun work the previous day and had not yet gotten to this section.
The next day, the paver brought over an excavator and began digging where the plumber’s snake had emerged from the ground. He pulled out the pier, which as it turned out, had been poured directly over the old clay pipe which was supposed to convey our wastewater from the house to the city sewer line. The weight of the pier had crushed the pipe.
Guess who poured the pier? Yours truly.
A few hours (and about $1,000) later we had a nice new schedule 40 patch in the pipe and the paver was back on track to finish the driveway.