Sewer Line Contractor Attempts to Steal Thousands from Queens Homeowner
April 7, 2014

On the morning of March 7th Harris Sewer received a call from a frantic Queens’s homeowner. She had called Harris out of frustration with no real expectations. She wanted to express her frustrations after giving another sewer contractor thousands of dollars to replace her sewer line. She stated that company arrived at her house, observed a sewage backup, and told her that the entire sewer pipe must be replaced from the street to the house. The homeowner was in a panic, signed a contract and gave a 50% deposit for an $18,000 sewer replacement job. The homeowner wanted to get a second price after becoming aware that she legally had 72 hours to void her contract.

Harris Water arrived at the house and started by taking basic measurements for the sewer line replacement. First the city sewer manhole was removed to measure the depth of the city sewer. The estimator quickly became aware that the city sewer was backed up which is possible to be part of the sewer problem. After speaking with the homeowner Harris became aware that the other company had not performed any type of inspection on the sewer line, had not lifted the manhole and was simply trying to take advantage of someone in a desperate situation. The homeowner quickly cancelled her check and notified the fraudulent contractor that she wanted to hold off on replacing the sewer line.

Example of sewer replacement when required
Example of sewer replacement when required

Measuring depth of city sewer
Measuring depth of city sewer

Harris arranged for a sewer technician to arrive at the house and perform a thorough inspection on the sewer line. Harris also suggested that the homeowner call 311 and have them clear the city sewer to allow for proper flow. The sewer tech first attempted to clear the pipe, he was successful clearing a blockage located 6’ from the house but continued to get stuck at 15’. A camera was inserted into the sewer pipe and quickly determined that there were large amounts of roots throughout the pipe. A water jet was now used to clear the roots and was successful in clearing 75% of the root infestation. The homeowner now had a functional sewer line, while saving $18,000. Another interesting fact is that the cost to replace the sewer line should have been in the range of $10,000 to $11,000. It is very important to do your due diligence when hiring a contractor to do any type of repair work on your home.

The Queens homeowner emails Harris…..

“On Mar. 7 you came to my home regarding a sewer problem which someone else misdiagnosed. I greatly appreciate the honest & knowledgeable advice you gave me. You were correct – I called 311; DEP came the next day and found the sewer in the street clogged. They cleared it; I called Scotty who did a great job clearing roots from my line. A story with a happy ending! I strongly encourage anyone encountering a sewer issue to use your company. You are a wonderful example of business ethics and skill. The handout you left was enlightening.”

Read about a recent Harris sewer replacement after roots had reached the point of no return….

Roots and your sewer line

Roots in sewer line

Tree roots sense the sewage vapors that may exit cracks or breaks in your sewer line.  Once the roots reach the pipe, they enter the pipe though any opening and begin to grow small hair-like roots.  The essential nutrients that roots require to grow are found in sewer pipes (minerals, water & oxygen).  If the hair-like roots are not treated in the early stages, it is common to result in a sewer blockage.  Root infestation can be treated for years but inevitably will result in a sewer replacement at some point in time.

Can you stop root infestation?
It is hard to identify a root problem prior to experiencing a backup. It is most common to first become aware from a backup and at this point to contact a drain cleaner.  The severity of root infestation is dependent on how early in the growth process the roots are treated.  It is not possible to stop root infestation once it has started however, treating the pipe on a regular basis will continue to push back the inevitable sewer line replacement