DoUpDiary #16 Sewer Sewer, quite contrary, where does your pipework flow?

So you get a dry May. A dry June. A dry July. You start site works and what do you get – the wettest August ever! I now have a garden mud bath of trenches, holes, rocks and rubble as the lads have endeavoured to find what exactly is happening with our original and quite erratic drainage.Digging to find domestic house drainage

Now with most old houses, the downpipes, drainpipes and soil stacks all meet up in one, maybe two places at the front of the house, then a larger underground channel carries water & waste into the street, off, off and away. New builds keep these different types of water wastes separate. Simples. But was it simple here? Ohhhhh nooooo.

As it’s so old, our house definitely has a combined waste, meaning the rainwater mixes in with the ‘grey water’ from sinks & washing machines and also with ‘black water’ from loos all into one sewer pipe. So we started tracking the pipes, working from the house where they went into the ground and out to the perimeter of the garden where they’d go out to the road. Only they didn’t. The lads dug, and they dug, and then dug again. Nothing joined up, no main sewer out to the road. We poured water into remaining sewer stacks and drains and dashed to dug up holes to peer down at opened up pipes where the poured water should be flowing towards the road…. nothing! Eh?!?

Confused Dot Com. There was a lot of head scratching. It all got very serious. Men stared down holes in the road with their arms folded.


Then it got worse. When we poured water down one of the down pipe drains it didn’t go anywhere, just back filled and overflowed. There was a disaster happening. 12m of blocked back filled temporary soil pipe and you know what that means don’t you? We have to clear POOOOOOOOOP CITY! Not only do we now not have a bathroom, bath or shower, but now we’ve no useable loo.

I came very close to tears as everything (lots of other things too) was going wrong. You know me, I’m the emotional sort and everything’s pretty close to the surface. Like the poo in the garden, ironically.

Then finally a glimmer of hope. Another hole was dug and a large sewer pipe found but it was nowhere near our garden front boundary. Instead it ran away under next doors garage, as our semis are back to back rather than side to side, with our neighbouring house fronting onto a totally different road to ours. We asked nicely if we could take up the sewer manhole cover on their drive and lo and behold found our sewer connects to theirs, taking all our waste water out on to a road we don’t even live on!! You couldn’t make it up and the lads certainly couldn’t have guessed it. A whole day wasted digging in the wrong places, grrrrrrr. But now we know.

Mr M’s been to get all the drainage pipes and manhole chambers, the lads are back tmw to dig and lay all the new drainage before a mountain of bricks, blocks, sand and cement arrive from the lovely Dave at Buildbase on Monday so the brick laying can begin. Mountain is the right word. It feels like a mountain we have to climb but if Moregeous Mansions is going to be the most amazing refurb ever in the history of ever, a little jeopardy is only to be expected. She said, wearily, but still smiling 🙂



2 thoughts on “DoUpDiary #16 Sewer Sewer, quite contrary, where does your pipework flow?

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  1. It is complicated with old sewers. In our old house it is the same, but we are going to separate it when we update the drainage. We had a proper rain here early august, the streets flooded and the water went backwards. Poop-water in the basement, lovely! Backflow vents are now installed, but it is not a very good solution longterm.

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