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Author Topic: Sewer Line Installed With No Slope  (Read 41203 times)


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Sewer Line Installed With No Slope
« on: September 15, 2009, 08:08:36 AM »

After we purchased our home, our sewer line backed up.  Upon further investigation, we discovered the majority of our sewer line, which had been recently replaced, had been installed flat including the majority of the visible sewer line found in our 5 foot high crawlspace underneath our home.  Underneath the home there is 12 feet of visible sewer line.  7 feet of that visible sewer line is flat or actually slopes back toward the house.  The remaining 5 feet of visible sewer line slopes slighty toward the sewer main in the street as it leaves the house.  The sewer line is flat well into the front yard, but this section is not visible.  After our plumbing issues arose we had the line camera'd which found standing sewage in the sewer line underneath the entire home and into the front yard.  It also disclosed there were roots near the street.  (Note that at the time the line was camera'd the root problem had been cleared so that the standing sewage in the line was solely caused by the flat sewer line.)
Our inspector did not note any plumbing problems in the plumbing section of his report.  We told our inspector about the problem and he contends the flat sewer line does not contribute to our sewer problem.  We contend that had the inspector identified the flat sewer line we could have then hired a plumber to determine whether it actually was a significant problem.  Instead, we purchased the home relying on the inspector's report unaware of any sewer problems.  We are now faced with a very expensive proposition of having to replace our entire sewer line. 
I have two questions: 1) should the inspector have identified the visible flat sewer line underneath our home and, if so, 2) how do we proceed against the inspector (i.e. is there an agency we can go through to resolve this issue or do we have to hire an attorney). 

CREIA Inspector

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Re: Sewer Line Installed With No Slope
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2009, 12:59:49 PM »

All sewer lines must have adequate slope that carries the effluent towards the main sewer line and finally to the street or private sewage pit. A slope of 1/4 inch per foot is the accepted plumbing standard for residential drain lines under 4 inches in circumference and 1/8 inch slope for drain lines 4 inches and larger. If accessible and visible, the inspector should have seen and reported plumbing components without the proper slope. Since the building has a crawlspace, we will assume that it is an "older" home.  The improper applications should have caused issues before you purchased the house and should have been disclosed. (providing this was not an REO or bank owned purchase) If any work was performed on the property the permits for all such work should be on record in the local building department. Any workmanship issues then should be directed to the contractor performing the cited work. If this information is not available, you should consult a qualified plumbing contractor of your choice. If the slope of the visible plumbing (drain-waste-vent) is the only issue then it might be possible to re-slope the visible plumbing. The inspector is not responsible for any plumbing components buried in the ground. Please note that many experienced inspectors will automatically recommend camera-scope procedures on older building sewer lines before the client makes a purchase decision.

If you bought the property from an individual, it would have been a good idea to ask specific questions about the history of the home. (not presented in the transfer disclosure statement) It is always a good idea to try "refreshing the recollection" of a seller. Roto-rooter receipts are of course very telling, as are other known failures in the immediate neighborhood. In a bank-owned or REO situation, you are obviously not going to benefit from this type of disclosure. 
Involving a lawyer is costly to everyone and in my opinion should be avoided. Try to work this out with the inspector and the local building department before proceeding. Good Luck.
CREIA Inspector
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