Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Clogged drains at church

For three Sundays in a row we had drain problems at church. The first two weeks, when we went to dump the coffee after church, the basement sink drains were clogged and backed up (probably from all the toilets flushing). Then this past Sunday the sinks were not only clogged and backed up, but it was actually still backing up out the drain overflow in the basement. So we had some smelly stuff on the basement floor.

We called Golden Rule and they came Monday and emptied the north septic tank. Apparently the north one holds the sewage, and the south one just has all liquid (then it goes into the hill). So they didn't drain the south (one with just liquid). However, after draining the north tank, when we flushed the toilets, it never did reach the tank. So the guy checked the clean-outs. The clean-out by the toilets looked fine, but the clean-out above the basement sinks was holding water. So he said there must be a clog between that clean-out and the septic tank. He made an appointment for their other crew to come out. After he left Meredith flushed the toilets 8 times and the sink backed up again.

The GR guy who unclogs drains came yesterday around 8:30 am (Tuesday) He ran a snake down the clean-out above the kitchen sinks. There were a few rough spots, but he ran it out 120'. He said there were still some bad spots, so he put a bigger head on the snake and did it again. He ran into a bad spot at about 20-25' out, and another one around 45' out. He just about couldn't get the head unstuck so he stopped there. The clean-out is still holding water about half full.

After he left (around 10 am) Meredith and I flushed the toilets 8 times and it hadn't backed up yet. So we need to keep an eye on it and as soon as possible I guess we need to dig up the pipe and see what the problem is.

I found a diagram that shows where the kitchen pipe goes out to the septic tanks, but I can't find anything that shows where the new part (with the restrooms - from 1991) hooks into that pipe, or where the pipe from the old restroom hooks in. I believe they do all hook together, because I could hear the snake in each of those clean-outs. Apparently everything is pvc pipe though (although I did find on a drawing where they only used pipe for 100').

So, I guess we will see what happens and hope it doesn't back up again until we get someone with a backhoe to do some digging. Sometimes being a pastor in a small church can be a pretty crappy job.