Clogged landscape drain pipe with a twist

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Background:  My yard backs up to an open space wetland preserve.  The preserve is actually owned by our HOA- it was part of the deal before the city allowed the builder to develop the land.  The land is currently managed by a trustee non-profit conservation group contracted by the HOA with the help of the Army Corps of Engineers because the area also serves as some storm water management.  No trespassing is allowed in the preserve, and it is marked by "No Trespassing" signs at all entry points.  My property line actually extends 10 ft beyond my fence into this preserve, but that portion of my property is an easement that we are specifically told that we cannot develop or plant on. 

Issue:  I noticed a lot of standing water in my backyard this week, so I went out on Saturday to investigate.  Water is backing up through the drain collectors from the corrugated plastic drainage pipe buried in the back of my yard (I believe this excess water is coming from some sprinkler heads in my front lawn that are about to fail and are leaking a lot right next to drain collectors- I will be replacing those soon). I traced the drain pipe back to figure out why it wasn't draining, and ended up hopping my fence to trace it back into the preserve.  The drain pipe goes about 35-40' into the preserve and comes out on the side of the hill (well after the end of my property- this is how the builder made it).  I hacked my way through a wild blackberry bush to find the end, which was also near a tree growing there, and the opening is packed full of roots and debris.  It is really packed in there and I couldn't really remove much with my hands.

What are your thoughts on who is responsible for clearing this?  I know its probably still me, but doing so will involve bringing equipment onto the preserve where I technically am not allowed to be and disturbing the preserve in a way that I could be liable for.  The pipe is very deep, so this might even include an excavator to dig out the old pipe to replace it if I can't clear it.  The last thing that I want is the Army Corps of Engineers coming after me for screwing something up. 

I have emailed our HOA management company asking for their input on how to proceed.  I trust FW Finance to tell me if my wish that the preserve management company help with this is stupid, and to also request pics of all females involved.  Do you think I will get any help from them in clearing this?

BTW- I have crazy stories about the shenanigans that these non-profit conservation groups pull without anybody watching.  But I will save that for another day.

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I don't pretend that I wouldnt come begging for advice here if I got sued.

cheezedawg (Aug. 15, 2016 @ 12:55p) |

Jeeze, I was just joshin' on ya.

jaytrader (Aug. 15, 2016 @ 3:01p) |

Next next thread by OP:  "Suing HOA and EPA for nasty infection in big toe by flesh-eating bacteria growing in neighborh... (more)

debentureboy (Aug. 16, 2016 @ 5:40a) |

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A rough overhead diagram plus with elevation line would really help. Even though I do sometime deal with USACE on a professional basis the experience doesn't apply here. What I would do is push the HOA for some relief.

-how big is the drain pipe?
-what's the exit like, just open to outside or to a drywell?
-proper grading for this pipe all the way to exit?

Another option if they won't help is to build yourself a drywell to let the water drain into the ground.

Can you run a power auger from your end and reach the clog?  I think I'd give that a try first.

Pipes with twists do clog - just sayin'

This is why white pvc drain line is a much better choice for lanscape drainage. It's hard to use a powered drain clearer on the black corrugated pipe. I really recommend the pvc if you have to replace.

Do you know the pipe is plugged at the end? It really could be clogged anywhere along the length. Trees love to find the water that sits in those ridges.

I'll work on a sketch later today. I think the pipe is 4", and the exit is just the pipe open directly on the side of the hill. It seems to be graded pretty well- its very shallow in the front yard, and it gets deeper at every collector towards the back fence. The opening is roughly 6' down the side of the hill. Total length is probably over 300'.

My first thought was to get a hose from a hose bib near the back of the yard and get my pressure washer down there to try to blow it out. It would be a long extension cord to get power there for an auger, but its doable. I would need to get an auger though

I think the HOA would cover this, since the problem is on their land.

wilesmt said:   This is why white pvc drain line is a much better choice for lanscape drainage. It's hard to use a powered drain clearer on the black corrugated pipe. I really recommend the pvc if you have to replace.

Do you know the pipe is plugged at the end? It really could be clogged anywhere along the length. Trees love to find the water that sits in those ridges.

  I know that water was making it all the way from my front yard to the last drain collector at the back of my yard, and I know that it is clogged at the end because I saw it.  But you are right- there could be some obstructions further up in the line, just not total blockages. 

cheezedawg said:    I would need to get an auger though
 

That's what your neighborhood rental center is for!

By "drain collector" do you mean storm drain?  Are they large enough that you could run the auger into one of those from your side of the property line and work your way out toward the clog? 

By drain collector, I mean this:

http://cdn3.volusion.com/7j5ob.q34uw/v/vspfiles/photos/NDS-75-2.... 

They are 6" in diameter, so I could access from there.

As I found out very recently, even drains with no trees nearby get clogged with living grass.
You cannot 'clean' this out with a hose 'bib' or your hands, either the clog is farther than your reach, the roots are too hard to pull out, or the bib won't even clear it and possibly blow out your pipe.
Hose bibs are for clearing toilets with 'things' in them. Most outside drains clogs are usually caused by dirt and roots.

Go to Home Depot, give them $100 and rent a power auger. Make sure you get the right size for the drain. Don't just guesstimate it.
The power augers are fairly easy to use, get some leather gloves ($10 at home depot), and slowly feed it in. (you might want to bring some kind of stool or kneeling pads).
It will take you about 2 hours.

Or you can pay a plumber $600 for the EXACT SAME JOB.

forbin4040 said:   As I found out very recently, even drains with no trees nearby get clogged with living grass.
You cannot 'clean' this out with a hose 'bib' or your hands, either the clog is farther than your reach, the roots are too hard to pull out, or the bib won't even clear it and possibly blow out your pipe.
Hose bibs are for clearing toilets with 'things' in them...

I don't disagree with what you are saying, but I don't think you are correctly describing a "hose bib."  A hose bib is simply an outside spigot.

 

You cannot "power auger" a corrugated pipe. The plastic is far too thin, and the corrugations will be destroyed.
If possible, I would suggest shortening the pipe to where it just exits your property, and then digging a dry well there if runoff isn't possible at that point. You may have to replace the corrugated pipe with PVC if even the portion on your property is clogged.
Corrugated pipe clogs very easily precisely because it is so elastic. If you don't lay it perfectly level (or consistently downhill), and have a dip in the pipe, that dip will simply fill with dirt over time and the pipe volume is reduced. The stiffer (but more expensive) PVC pipe is far better.
300 ft of 4" corrugated pipe also adds a lot of resistance to water flow. The slope would have to be quite steep, or the amount of water that can flow through it will be minimal.

Bringing heavy equipment onto a wetland preserve, that you don't own, is a great way to get fined and/or sued.
You might even get criminal charges filed against you for destruction of property.
Just imagine if you found your neighbor digging up your lawn with a backhoe one day, to put in a drainage pipe from his yard. How would you react?

Even emptying your pipe onto the preserve may be illegal. I wouldn't stir up a hornet's nest by sending letters and asking permission to mess up their land.

Remember: You don't own that land! You cannot lay a pipe across it, dig ditches, or destroy the landscape, no matter what the builder did. The fact that the HOA "owns" the land doesn't really help since they were essentially forced to cede it to the city for storm water management purposes. They have no right to give you permission to dig it up.

I've read that power augers are a bad idea for the type of corrugated pipe used here because the auger will damage and compromise the pipe, so I am concerned about that.

Obviously I would not bring any heavy equipment or do any excavation in the preserve unless I had the proper approvals.

What about running an borescope down the pipe to see how far in the clog is? If it's just a few inches near the end it'd be pretty easy to manually clear it out with hand tools from the spot you've already bushwhacked your way to.

Thanks for the input so far. I will look into a dry well, but I have very thick clay soil that doesn't drain at all, so it wouldn't be very easy to do (my septic tank has 10 dry wells each at 100' deep).

All of the homes on the street drain into this preserve, either directly (like mine) or indirectly by draining into a ditch by the street that itself drains into the preserve. I'm not too worried about that being an issue. The builder was the one that designed the preserve, after all.

doveroftke said:   What about running an borescope down the pipe to see how far in the clog is? If it's just a few inches near the end it'd be pretty easy to manually clear it out with hand tools from the spot you've already bushwhacked your way to.
  Oooh- I actually bought a 10m lit waterproof borescope from a FW deal a while back.  Now I just need to remember where I put it.

cheezedawg said:   
doveroftke said:   What about running an borescope down the pipe to see how far in the clog is? If it's just a few inches near the end it'd be pretty easy to manually clear it out with hand tools from the spot you've already bushwhacked your way to.
  Oooh- I actually bought a 10m lit waterproof borescope from a FW deal a while back.  Now I just need to remember where I put it.

  Connect it to electrical fish tape, or a 12 ga wire, so that it's stiff enough to push down the pipe. If you can get a high-powered flashlight into the pipe entrance, it might help a lot. The LED's on the boroscopes aren't all that powerful.

cheezedawg said:   Thanks for the input so far. I will look into a dry well, but I have very thick clay soil that doesn't drain at all, so it wouldn't be very easy to do (my septic tank has 10 dry wells each at 100' deep).

All of the homes on the street drain into this preserve, either directly (like mine) or indirectly by draining into a ditch by the street that itself drains into the preserve. I'm not too worried about that being an issue. The builder was the one that designed the preserve, after all.

  One possible option might be sump pump instead of a dry well, to get the water pumped into that ditch by the street.
BTW: Do your neighbors have a similar pipe? Does each house next to you have a drainage pipe deep into the preserve? If so, you could possibly hook into their pipes. It would also be a more significant issue then, that the HOA needs to address in general. Maybe a common pipe into the preserve for all those houses?

One possible option might be sump pump instead of a dry well, to get the water pumped into that ditch by the street.
You don't want anything that needs electricity.  Think about it - when does it rain a lot?  When it storms.  When does power go out?  When it storms.  And battery backups just become one more maintenance item...

I was gonna post about my clogged urethra with a twist , but may not be appropriate ....

cheezedawg said:   I've read that power augers are a bad idea for the type of corrugated pipe used here because the auger will damage and compromise the pipe, so I am concerned about that.
  Oh, I didn't notice that you had posted that.
A power auger will kill that kind of pipe.

dcwilbur said:   
One possible option might be sump pump instead of a dry well, to get the water pumped into that ditch by the street.
You don't want anything that needs electricity.  Think about it - when does it rain a lot?  When it storms.  When does power go out?  When it storms.  And battery backups just become one more maintenance item...

  This is for draining the yard, not the basement! A power outage would just mean a little puddle in the backyard till the power comes back on. Why would that be an issue?
And no, you don't need battery backup for a backyard sump pump!

canoeguy1 said:   
dcwilbur said:   
One possible option might be sump pump instead of a dry well, to get the water pumped into that ditch by the street.
You don't want anything that needs electricity.  Think about it - when does it rain a lot?  When it storms.  When does power go out?  When it storms.  And battery backups just become one more maintenance item...

  This is for draining the yard, not the basement! A power outage would just mean a little puddle in the backyard till the power comes back on. Why would that be an issue?
And no, you don't need battery backup for a backyard sump pump!

Okay, smart guy.  Thanks for the red.  Yeah, I know the difference between a yard and a basement.  You don't have to be a smartass about it.  When water ponds in a yard, it often finds its way into a house.  No way would I put a sump pump out in my yard anyway, but to each their own.  

If you saw the clog of roots at the end, why don't you just go down there with a cordless sawzall and cut the roots away from the end? Or think about trying to pull the roots out of the end before you cut the end off - that way you will have something to grab onto.

You should research the title and easements on your property and the drainage/reserve.

I think it's very likely that the "reserve" property has a perpetual drainage easement to the benefit of your property and/or the HOA. This easement in theory should give you the right to repair the drainage line coming from your property into the drainage area. But you won't know until you do some title research, and also look for subdivision plan approval with conditions from the local planning board or equivalent.

dcwilbur said:   
canoeguy1 said:   
dcwilbur said:   
One possible option might be sump pump instead of a dry well, to get the water pumped into that ditch by the street.
You don't want anything that needs electricity.  Think about it - when does it rain a lot?  When it storms.  When does power go out?  When it storms.  And battery backups just become one more maintenance item...

  This is for draining the yard, not the basement! A power outage would just mean a little puddle in the backyard till the power comes back on. Why would that be an issue?
And no, you don't need battery backup for a backyard sump pump!

Okay, smart guy.  Thanks for the red.  Yeah, I know the difference between a yard and a basement.  You don't have to be a smartass about it.  When water ponds in a yard, it often finds its way into a house.  No way would I put a sump pump out in my yard anyway, but to each their own.  

   If the choice is between digging a 100 ft dry well in clay for multiple thousands of dollars, or putting in an $80 pump, I know MY choice. You're being an aggressive troll and not thinking before you post.

I would just unclogged it myself rather than wait around for the HOA to take care of it. Better to beg for forgiveness than ask permission.

You can't be the only person having this issue if there are many homes with the same setup.  Have you talked to any neighbors about this?  Some may have already dealt with this issue.  Sometimes we with neigbors actually rent equipment out together.  We share the cost and do the work together.

The sawzall idea is the best one so far. This doesn't even need a thread, IMO. OP saw the blockage at the end, couldn't remove it with hand tools, didn't try a portable saw, makes thread, sends letters/emails, blah blah. While I am definitely against bringing machinery onto the preserve, a portable sawzall isn't going to hurt anything. OP has already admitted to trespassing... What's sawing a few roots?

If can't use machinery on preserve, i guess the only natural solution is to bring a termite colony in there to eat all the roots and the trees around the pipes.
Might take some time and once finished they might jump to your house. 
 

 

To clear corrugated pipe you need a sewer jetter. I've used the one from cloghog.com to clear drain tile numerous times. You'll need a 4000psi pressure washer to go the full 100ft. Or pay a plumber and they have better ones that can go hundreds of feet.

You'll need to work from the outlet, which means dragging the equipment onto the reserve. You could try from the inlets but it will likely clog worse once you start to clear out junk it will flow down and clog worse.

Suggest digging up pipe at end of property line, making sure its clear up to that point then putting in a small dry well and a pop-up surface drain that will open when dry well is full.

Thanks for the responses.

I will make an attempt to clear it myself again with hand tools and a pressure washer, but might not have time until the weekend.

Meanwhile, the HOA manager responded that she will "see what she can do" about it.

cheezedawg said:   Thanks for the responses.

I will make an attempt to clear it myself again with hand tools and a pressure washer, but might not have time until the weekend.

Meanwhile, the HOA manager responded that she will "see what she can do" about it.

  Well now I wouldn't do anything until you hear back from the HOA. If you complained about something, then they acknowledged the complaint with possible action, and you go clear it yourself--you might have set yourself up for some issues down the road. Unless you get written permission from the appropriate party(ies) to do the clearing yourself. Not to mention trespassing issues, as mentioned.

how old is the house? Any chance you could get the developer to fix?

So you bought a home in a  subdivision that was built in a low land run-off swamp area ?

 

I live in an HOA and there is a retention pond and the pipe from my sump pump and gutters was blocked at the pond by grass where the pipe dumps into the pond. The HOA had to have a company come and clean it out. That is their part of the property and they need to maintain it. Good Luck!

Skipping 19 Messages...
Next next thread by OP:  "Suing HOA and EPA for nasty infection in big toe by flesh-eating bacteria growing in neighborhood swamp" 
jaytrader said:   Next thread by OP: "getting sued by HOA and EPA for clearing protected roots"

Congrats, OP.

  Nice thread, OP.  Not your usual "tree falls", "car accident", "what to do with a $350 windfall" thread.  



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