Back in April of 1996, I bought my first house. I bought it on my 30th birthday. My mother was my realtor. It was a little house in an established neighborhood; by that I mean old. Big mature trees everywhere. I was a single mother, making $10/hour.
The house needed a lot of work, but I was determined to buy it and even though my mom thought I could do better, why would I listen to her?
Anyway, over the 9+ years that I lived there and the additional 5+ years that I (we've) rented it out, I (we've) had EVERYTHING done to it that could have been done to it other than bulldozing it down and starting over.
I was even interviewed for the local paper about the work that was done on the house.
The "troubles" started on the day I received the keys (6/24/1996), when I noticed that the previous owners had a jar in the lower cabinet in the kitchen that was collecting the water that was leaking from a water pipe. The disclosure had said that they had the plumbing inspected...this was soon followed by a complete tear out of the galvanized plumbing and install of copper plumbing.
Well, a little over a year passed and it was winter and I was having issues with the water draining from the toilet, bathtub, utility tub, sinks, etc. I had the septic tank pumped out a couple of times by now and it was starting to become an emergency. I contacted the local Township offices and also the nearby City's offices to see about tapping into the sewer. It seems that the offices spoke to each other and they figured out a way for me to get tapped into the sewer line in the alley behind the house (still not sure if that alley is owned by the city or the Township).
Since I didn't have the money to pay for such an expensive project, I was able to apply for one of the Township's grants. These grants that the Township gives out are liens on your house that are 0% interest loans and don't need to be paid off until you sell the house.
The Township worked with a local plumbing company; A&E Plumbing...and the job got done. Because of the pitch from the house plumbing to the sewer in the alley, they needed to install an ejector/grinder pump, which I lovingly call the shit shooter. It grinds up all the waste and ejects it down the pipe into the sewer.
Total cost was $6500, which I ended up paying off in 2002, when I needed the Township's help again...I won't get into that story now.
In October of 2008, all the residents of the street got a letter from the Township stating that they were planning on bringing the sewer lines through. They would be coming along the front yard and this would be the time to tap in if needed. Well, I didn't have to tap in, I was already tapped in the back - so the sewer was brought through and I was happy that I didn't need to spend any additional money to tap in.
Over the last couple of years, our "on-call" plumber, Don has been out to the house 4 or more times fixing drainage issues. The last time we called him was last week Tuesday, when our renter called to let us know it was happening again. This time Don could not fix the problem. He said it was the ejector/grinder pump and that is not in his repertoire. So, I called the company that installed it; A&E Plumbing.
After being at the house for a couple of hours and not being able to make any headway trying to open up the pump, they decided that they needed to leave and come back the next day with a backhoe. In the meantime, they installed a sump-pump so that my renters could still use the facilities. The bill for that night was $675. Uh-oh...I couldn't sleep just thinking how much this was going to cost by the end.
They came back Wednesday morning and were able to free the pump from the outer containment unit using a backhoe and a lot of leverage...as the main contractor got sprayed with sewer water from the force! YUK!
The pump was encased in tree roots and they were surprised that it even worked for the amount of time that it had. I guess the 3 or 4 times that Don came to fix the drainage issue was just a precursor to the major fail. And we would need to replace the whole unit; pump and containment unit. Could cost another $5500!
The contractor kept informing us of the progress, however he was very concerned that if we replaced this unit that we would need to continually maintain the pump since the source of the problem - the huge mature tree - was still there and looking for water.
That's when we were reminded that the Township had brought the sewer through the front of the house 2 years prior and maybe it would be a good idea to tap into the front sewer line. However, they were unable to get ahold of anyone at the Township offices that day...they just kept leaving messages. Curtis, the main contractor told us that if they needed to tap in under the road, it could run us closer to $10,000! None of this was sounding very good.
Curtis, continued to do all the running around for us. He called the Township and found out that when they brought the sewer line through, that they had installed a lead. He negotiated the situation with his boss who was able to somehow have the Township waive any of the connection/frontage/tap-in fees...maybe because I had already paid for all of that back in 1998 with the first tap in, but none the less, we were tickled pink to only pay an additional $4500 and never have to deal with this problem again (as she knocks on wood)!