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Stud
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Got a call for a sewer repair. Woman's sewer backs up when she does laundry. She had a sewer/drain cleaner come out & snake out pipe. They also did press. water test to find problem. They said problem in pipe was between sidewalk & house. The sewer is 6' deep. So to replace 15' of pipe they wanted $2500. Add $300 to take out small tree (6" diameter) & add $400 to remove 1 section of sidewalk if repair goes under sidewalk.

I'm sure many people go with there price right away if they don't have working bathrooms. Lucky for this lady her water only backs up while doing laundry so she could get mutiple prices.
 

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NE Ohio Excavator
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IMO Seems a little excessive but I don't know all the specifics. Are there utilities to cross? The dig will need to be boxed or benched as it is 6' deep. Does that price include regrading and seeding in the spring after settling? Seems like the tree removal is high but the sidewalk isn't totally out of line. Prices for this kind of work will be all over the place and some contractors may try to add $ when they feel the HO does not have a choice.
 

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Stud
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It is pretty basic. No utilities to cross. It's a 4 hr. job. Dig it out, put a trench box in & replace 15' of pipe. The tree is very small, price is high if you are there to do rest of job. $400 didn't include replacing sidewalk just repairing pipe under it. No regrading or seeding in spring.

The guys that cleaned the pipe are like roto rooter. They sub out an excavator and put a good percentage on top. Years ago one company approached me about being there sub. I couldn't do business w/ him because his approach was due to the HO being in a jam you could pretty much fleece them. I wasn't comfortable with that type of approach. I like making money as much as the next guy but I don't want to take advantage of people.
 

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The price may be a little excessive or it may be a little low. The one thing that is consistent with sewer repair is that it is never as easy as it seems. The one time it is easier makes you confident enough to bid the next one tight and lose your tail.

Point being, when you are 6' down in hole, knee deep in who knows what, trying to get a pipe spliced in on grade before noon so that you can get it backfilled and ready to go, etc., etc. is when you truly know what the job is worth.

My overall thinking on the matter is sewer repair should carry a bit more weight on the wage scale due to the nature of the work. I have no problem fixing a sewer, but I gaurantee a doctor or lawyer would have a problem. I can't perform surgery or write a will, but I can sure fix a sewer and that is a thing very few people can do.

I'm not saying to take advantage of anyone, but it is a specialized and undesirable job so make sure you are being fairly compensated.
 

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Upchuck... Just for comparison sake I did one a couple weeks ago.... 56 feet from cast house stub to clay city sewer. Crossed one utility, sawed concrete sidewalk out, replaced about 30 feet of rusty galvanized with copper, backfilled street and parking area with 1'' roadstone. No re-seeding or anything like that next spring. 5K labor and matls.... Thats pretty much ballpark or a little low for this area.
 

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Vagitarian
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3,589 Posts
$3,200 to repair sewer. Seems kinda pricey, but considering the nature of the job, I'd say good for them.

At least they are not doing it for $500.
 

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Stud
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605 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Repaired sewer today. Replaced 13' of "sandpipe" which bottom had totally rotted away. Determined that pipe was still clogged 12' from tree belt igoing toward main. Noticed a fresh patch in road at same distance where city fixed storm drain.

The city came out 3 times during day trying various ways to clean pipe. After the 3rd unsuccessful try super told me that it looked like I would be fixing problem on tommorrow. Figuring that it would cost additional 5000 to fix problem & knowing owner was single woman on a budget taking care of handicapped brother I was kind of :furious: that super wanted me to fix his guys probable mistake.

Told the super that I had done my job & the lady was out of luck. He couldn't believe I would leave owner hanging during the holidays. He decided to be a "good guy" & fix the problem while water dept replaced water line. (Did I mention i noticed water line leaking.)

Owner was very happy that I acted like a jerk so city guy would finally accept responsibilty. She considered it a Christmas miracle that the sewer will get fixed w/o additional cost. The city had been jerking her around for over a month & giving her attitude when she called to complain. They ended giving her my number. Considering the holidays I would have done the job if I had to & set up payment plan for her. I just felt it was wrong for her to pay for the city's mistake in the middle of the road.

Today's job would've been done in 4 hrs. like I figured if it wasn't for screwing around with the city all day. Glad I charged a days rate for mini & 1 labor. Wished her luck and told her to call if there are any more problems. Just another fun day.:thumbsup:

Sorry about the rant.
 

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Bet your glad thats done... Sandpipe? Never heard of that, can you explain and one other question.... Does the city maintain any part of the sewer other than the main? Ive never heard of a city crew doing any type of cleaning/jetting on anything but the main.... Thanks!
 

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Stud
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Bet your glad thats done... Sandpipe? Never heard of that, can you explain and one other question.... Does the city maintain any part of the sewer other than the main? Ive never heard of a city crew doing any type of cleaning/jetting on anything but the main.... Thanks!
Bet your glad thats done... Sandpipe? Never heard of that, can you explain and one other question.... Does the city maintain any part of the sewer other than the main? Ive never heard of a city crew doing any type of cleaning/jetting on anything but the main.... Thanks!
Bet your glad thats done... Sandpipe? Never heard of that, can you explain and one other question.... Does the city maintain any part of the sewer other than the main? Ive never heard of a city crew doing any type of cleaning/jetting on anything but the main.... Thanks!
Some cities & towns used to repair from main to tree belt but most have gotten away from that. I learned that the city has had quite a few problems in this area in the past. The main itself has lots of rocks in it.

I think this "sandpipe" was made from a mixture of concrete & sand. First time I've run into it. Stuff is worse than transite & orangeberg (sp?).
Over time the flow just eats away at the bottom of the pipe. This leads to sand, dirt & stones ending up in the main.

I got suspicious because the city doesn't jet anything but the main. They have jetted this main quite a few times. I can understand that most lateral repairs are due to people flushing things down the line that they shouldn't. The fact that they came out repeatedly made me think something wasn't right. Combine that with the patch leads me to think that they may have done something to the sewer lateral w/o knowing.

Until that line gets dug up nobody will know what happened. I'm just glad I don't have to dig 10' to main between storm drain, 2 water mains, gas line & house water line which was run 2' on top of sewer lateral and is leaking.
 
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