Thursday, October 13, 2005

Sewer Woes

2 Weeks ago, the Cleaning Authority Maids called to say that the basement toilet was overflowing.

This was a familiar problem. Each Fall since I have lived at my current location, the sewer drain and toilet in the basement backed up from the rains.

Each time, I paid a plumber about $1,000 to snake out the line, and each time, the sewer drain backs up again a few days later when I run the washing machine.

I finally decided I was sick of the sewer backup. In Fairfax County, the homeowner is responsible for the Sewer Lateral from the house to the manhole cover in the street.

I found this guide from the City of Vienna helpful [PDF].

Using the ServiceMagic referral service, I was directed to CFS Services of Alexandria.
Another company on that site was All Plumbing Company of Arlington. Those people came off as desperate. They left 6 messages, on the home phone, on the cell phone, and they called incessantly, and I had a bad experience with that company last year when I wanted to have the sewer line blasted.

Several other companies, like MyPlumber and others charged a huge amount of money to "camera the line," essentially putting a camera/light equipped snake down the pipes, hooked to a video monitor.

What impressed me with CFS was their approach, at $199, the CFS camera was cheaper than others like MyPlumber who did not even offer a capability to replace the sewer main. If CFS did the work, they would credit that fee to the job. As it turned out, they did not charge me at all because they knew I was serious about wanting the work done.

They came with the sewer Cam on Monday, and by Tuesday, there was a backhoe ripping up my yard.

The sewer line was encased below a sheet of concrete, more than 12' below ground. It took CFS a whole extra day with jackhammers to get all of the concrete covering the line. They also had to bust out the county sidewalk, which will have to be replaced.

As of 10/13/05 at 5:30pm, the sewage and water were restored. There is still an open trench in the yard. Tomorrow, the Fairfax County inspectors will come. Monday or Tuesday, the sidewalk will be repaired and the pit filled in.

Fortunately, we already signed a contract to have the fence replace, before all of this started. So we can have the fence replaced soon.

Below are some photos: