Utility Pole Installation Breaks Homeowners Sewer Line

July 12, 2014

Sewage seeping into a basement is always confusing and surprising. Most homeowners will contact their local plumber to relieve yet another backup of the sewer pipe. This is exactly what was done early Tuesday morning when a tenant in Queens noticed a foul odor in their room.  He called his drain cleaner that had been at the house six months prior; this time the drain cleaner could not help. He continued to hit an obstruction fifteen feet away from the house.

Both the plumber and tenant were quick to determine that the obstruction was in the same location as the recent utility pole installation on the sidewalk. At first they thought it was a coincidence, “the installation company was a large and well known company who must have known what they were doing”. Once the plumber cleared the sewer line of water, he installed his camera which clearly displayed a large obstruction protruding through at the point of where the pipe was supposed to continue.  After three days of continuous calls, the utility company finally came and removed the new utility pole.

The pole is removed
The pole is removed

Now that the pole was removed, the sewer line had to be fixed and at this point it was all at the expense of the homeowner. Emergency work permits were obtained to open the sidewalk, dig down six feet and repair a section of the sewer pipe that had been broken by the pole.

Preparing sewer pipe for repair
Preparing sewer pipe for repair

Once the sidewalk was opened, it was obvious as to what had happened. All information was documented as supporting evidence for the homeowner to use in court. The repair was quick and completed within one day, including DEP inspections and resurfacing of the sidewalk.

New cast iron pipe
New cast iron pipe

The owner was provided with pictures and a written report on the contractors “professional findings”. Luckily the utility company settled out of court and the tenant could move back in their basement apartment.   

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