old sewer enters my garden and stops abruptly at the kitchen wall

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soggy
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old sewer enters my garden and stops abruptly at the kitchen wall

Post by soggy » Wed Jan 02, 2019 11:06 am

Hi Folks,
I have a (perhaps) interesting problem with my back yard. The house is on a road of semi's in an urban area, the back yards of the houses on the next parallel road are directly against ours, but on a hill (we are higher) so there is a 4ft retaining wall at the boundary between back yards. My kitchen extension (presumed 1960s) and that of the adjoining neighbour is permanently damp. In the course of solving that, I cut a whole in the concrete of the back yard near the kitchen wall and dug. About 4ft down I encountered water. Six inches further down I found an old ceramic pipe terminating abruptly. I followed it back to find it was running diagonally uphill (from where I was), appearing to come from the back yard of one the house 3 to the east and on the parallel road behind. The water from it smells of oil (even has a coloured slick) and runs copiously into my yard when it rains. Rodding confirmed it was at least long and free enough to lead to the house I mentioned. This seems very strange to me - why would the pipe drain up the slope to my property ? Why would it terminate 8 inches before (and below the foundation of) my kitchen extension ?
Of course my main question here is - what should I do about it?
I have considered joining a modern pipe in and sending it back the shortest route downhill off my property, but where would it go then? It is deeper than any of the existing drainage on my side, so it could not be plumbed into that (which would be the obvious solution). I have no idea if I can get the neighbours on the parallel road to co-operate.
Please let me know your thoughts.

Thanks,
Soggy.

mr sheen
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Re: old sewer enters my garden and stops abruptly at the kitchen wall

Post by mr sheen » Wed Jan 02, 2019 2:24 pm

A report by an expert drainage surveyor would be a good place to start since the pipe has clearly been in situ for many years and your perception of where it might be from, or going, will not hold any weight with a neighbour if you are seeking 'cooperation' that is likely to cost money.

Collaborate
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Re: old sewer enters my garden and stops abruptly at the kitchen wall

Post by Collaborate » Thu Jan 03, 2019 7:53 am

Pipes don't drain up, surely? They always drain down.

IdefixUK
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Re: old sewer enters my garden and stops abruptly at the kitchen wall

Post by IdefixUK » Thu Jan 03, 2019 11:06 pm

Hello Soggy
Collaberate is right when he points out that drains run down hill . Is it possible that when your kitchen extension was built the pipe was discovered as the trench for the footings was dug and the builders removed a section leaving the abrupt end that you now see? If this is the case the rest of the pipe, perhaps a land drain, still exists running from and perhaps under your house. Best block off the end you see and find out if water is actually coming from the pipe you see or from under the extension and percolating through the soil when it rains. Are there any houses in your road which haven't got extensions? If so ask to see the backs of those, this might give you a clue as to the layout of any drains/ manholes etc before yours was built over.
From what you have said it might be that it is a system for dealing with rain and surface water which served several properties, the drain is perhaps blocked " down stream" of you and the water is backing up through the pipes. Are there any inspection chambers down stream of you in the back gardens?

Regards

arborlad
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Re: old sewer enters my garden and stops abruptly at the kitchen wall

Post by arborlad » Fri Jan 04, 2019 10:08 am

soggy wrote:
Wed Jan 02, 2019 11:06 am
Hi Folks,
I have a (perhaps) interesting problem with my back yard. The house is on a road of semi's in an urban area, the back yards of the houses on the next parallel road are directly against ours, but on a hill (we are higher) so there is a 4ft retaining wall at the boundary between back yards. My kitchen extension (presumed 1960s) and that of the adjoining neighbour is permanently damp. In the course of solving that, I cut a whole in the concrete of the back yard near the kitchen wall and dug. About 4ft down I encountered water. Six inches further down I found an old ceramic pipe terminating abruptly. I followed it back to find it was running diagonally uphill (from where I was), appearing to come from the back yard of one the house 3 to the east and on the parallel road behind. The water from it smells of oil (even has a coloured slick) and runs copiously into my yard when it rains. Rodding confirmed it was at least long and free enough to lead to the house I mentioned. This seems very strange to me - why would the pipe drain up the slope to my property ? Why would it terminate 8 inches before (and below the foundation of) my kitchen extension ?
Of course my main question here is - what should I do about it?
I have considered joining a modern pipe in and sending it back the shortest route downhill off my property, but where would it go then? It is deeper than any of the existing drainage on my side, so it could not be plumbed into that (which would be the obvious solution). I have no idea if I can get the neighbours on the parallel road to co-operate.
Please let me know your thoughts.

Thanks,
Soggy.


There are two types of water that need to be considered here, foul and surface, foul is toilets, washing machines, showers etc. and needs to go to a sewer to be treated. Surface water is anything that is natural from roofs and driveways and can be directed into a correct watercourse, there's a strong possibility of shoddy workmanship from the 60s builders of the extension who broke through an existing surface water drain that crossed your land and failed to deal with it adequately. The oily smell is cause for concern and may be something for the Environment Agency.
arborlad

smile...it confuses people

soggy
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Re: old sewer enters my garden and stops abruptly at the kitchen wall

Post by soggy » Mon Jan 07, 2019 10:46 am

Thanks for the replies so far. Getting a drainage expert in is obviously a good idea, I just wonder how to find them - are there any registers of such professionals, or trade descriptions they typically use (even are they called drainage surveyors?). Further digging has now revealed more broken pipe, by the way.

Just to clarify a couple of things:

First by 'flowing uphill', (Collaborate) of course I mean the flow in the pipe is against the gradient of the 'lie of the land'. Specifically, (imagine, or draw on a graph) my yard is at x=0, the lie of the land is y= -(x/5) and the pipe is y=5+ (x/25), then the pipe is at its deepest in my yard and reaches the surface where -x/5 = 5 +x/25 ; i.e. -5x = 125 + x , so -6x = 125 hence x=about 20 feet away (actually it's about double this, but the gradients are hard to estimate). In other words the pipe starts at or near the surface somewhere downslope of me and appears at my kitchen wall at a depth of about 4.5 feet.

Second, The pipe is not blocked, it flows freely into my yard, now that I have removed the heavy clay soil from in front of its terminus. Yes, IdefixUK, I think it is possible that the builders of the extension encountered the pipe and simply cut it off (easily done as it is built from approx 12 inch sections). The water is almost certainly rain water (arborlad) : there is no sign of foul water here (thank goodness). There are no access / inspection points, and the pipe is very old and rather clearly not part of the 'official' drainage system which runs perpendicular to the roads (this pipe is at an angle of about 30 degrees to the roads and its internal diameter is only 3.5 inches).

Update from the weekend:
As I said, further digging has revealed more pipe, this time broken (more like shattered), lying slightly deeper and heading from the area where the previously mentioned pipe meets the kitchen extension, towards the retaining wall at the back of the property. In other words, where I was digging a trench to feed this unwanted water directly down slope away from my kitchen extension, I found the shattered remains of a previous pipe, along with the tell-tail slate 'floor' on which it was lain. This is all at a depth a little over 5 feet. I now have removed about 4 tonnes of earth (including a 70kg boulder!).

I look forward to further comments.
Thanks all.

soggy
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Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2018 2:47 pm

Re: old sewer enters my garden and stops abruptly at the kitchen wall

Post by soggy » Mon Jan 07, 2019 10:54 am

Just a small correction to the calculations there (embarrassing!): I should have had -5, so -x/5 = -5 +x/25, giving x(surface) = 31. That's more like it! Sorry about silly slip.

Soggy.

arborlad
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Re: old sewer enters my garden and stops abruptly at the kitchen wall

Post by arborlad » Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:04 am

soggy wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 10:46 am
Yes, IdefixUK, I think it is possible that the builders of the extension encountered the pipe and simply cut it off (easily done as it is built from approx 12 inch sections). The water is almost certainly rain water (arborlad)


Pipes of that length are a strong indication that this was a land drain which may have existed from a previous agricultural use.

Nothing at all unusual in the fall of the pipe not following the 'lie of the land', it would obviously be the preferred choice but not always possible.

Any (preferably local) drainage contractor should be able to advise you on this.
arborlad

smile...it confuses people

ukmicky
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Re: old sewer enters my garden and stops abruptly at the kitchen wall

Post by ukmicky » Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:35 pm

The Romans’ used slat and clay pipes :)

ukmicky
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Re: old sewer enters my garden and stops abruptly at the kitchen wall

Post by ukmicky » Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:36 pm

The Romans used slate floors and clay drainage pipes

span
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Re: old sewer enters my garden and stops abruptly at the kitchen wall

Post by span » Tue Jan 08, 2019 6:49 am

[quote=ukmicky post_id=210592 time=1546904206 user_id=11281]
The Romans used slate floors and clay drainage pipes
[/quote]


Has it come to this on GL? Someone's got a bit of a damp patch and of course it's the European's fault. Is this where Brexit has taken us?


































Kidding. 😀

ukmicky
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Re: old sewer enters my garden and stops abruptly at the kitchen wall

Post by ukmicky » Tue Jan 08, 2019 11:16 pm

You nearly got me . Next time put the smiley face further up please.

soggy
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Re: old sewer enters my garden and stops abruptly at the kitchen wall

Post by soggy » Wed Jan 09, 2019 11:36 am

What did the Romans ever do for us?

OK, I have spoken to a local drainage consultant (part of a local environmental consultancy). His conclusion was this: "It's a tricky one alright" then he recommended I install a pump! We all agreed I would not drain the area into the neighbour's properties (relevance to Garden Law!). I may take the oily content up next.

Still soggy.

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