Plumbing in the Home/sewer


Hi Jay,

I'm a new homeowner (may 2016). A few weeks after I moved into my new home (built in 1903), i found water, suds, and poo near the sewer pipes in my basement. I called a plumber who was recommended to me. He was great. He cleaned it out. Lots and lots of tree roots. The house sat vacant for almost 2 years. He said everything felt great. It didn't feel like it was caving in or anything. He said he didn't want to run the camera because everything felt so good and he thought it would be a waste of money for us. Fast forward to today. No problems with drainage or flow or smells or anything. We've been in a severe drought this summer. Had lots of heavy rain yeserday. I took a shower. All of a sudden, my pressure died and came back within 2 seconds (the heavy rain had just started). I went in my basement to check pipes (I had laundry in that finished just before my shower). There was lots of water in the same spot in my basement. No poo or anything like before. Just water and lots of dirt (I keep my basement clean). It smelled (not stinking up the whole room or anything) a little like poo but more just a nasty smell. The floor drain sucked the water right down and today the water is dry. Just lots of dirt. No smell. We don't have gutters (looking into it). Is this a normal thing or do I have a problem with my septic? Money is tight and I don't know a lot about plumbing issues. I know the ground was hard and the rain was not being absorbed. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.

Hi Jenny
First , the water pressure issue. If the house sat idol for two years it could be a minor issue with the pressure tank. I would take the wait and see if it happens again stance on this. It doesn't sound like anything to worry about. Well systems cane sometimes have episodes like this.
The sewer issue. If the plumber pulled out a lot of roots than it stands to reason that now that you are using the system regularly, they is most likely a growth spurt going on. All of a sudden the roots that the plumber cut are being fed water and nutrients that it wasn't getting when the sewer was dry for those two years. Once roots penetrate the pipes there is no stopping the growth. All you can do is periodically run a cutter through the line and try to keep the root growth in check. Unfortunately, I would bet there are significant cracks in the pipe and based on the age, you may have clay tile under ground as opposed to cast iron or plastic pipe. A second sewer cleaning may be necessary despite the first one since what was removed was probably old dead roots that were dried out. Only a camera is going to give you the exact(pardon the pun) root of the problem.

Plumbing in the Home

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Jay Nicholas


Plumbing & Heating (warm air, hot water & steam heat)


40 years in the business, 40 years as a lic. master plumber in NY State. Retired

Graduated Magna cum laude at the School of Hard Knocks

Past/Present Clients
Commercial, residential and light industrial. You name it ...I have probably worked on it

©2017 All rights reserved.