My New Shovel Gets Tested, But Not With The Job I Had Expected!

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A shovel is a wonderful tool. You can use it to prepare your garden for the best homegrown vegetables ever! That was certainly my plan for my brand new shovel. Instead of pleasurable garden digging though, I found out that I ended up using it for a totally different job.

Much of my “free time” over the last few weekends has been used to dig out and replace a section of my old waste water line. This backup was something that could not be repaired by any of those root removal tools because of the way the line had collapsed.

Rather than clay tile as I had expected, the line was actually composed of a black rubber and tar type of material. When I cut into it with my reciprocating saw, it gave off an asphalt-like smell and melted to the saw blade, probably top technology at one time.

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Over the years, one section of the line had begun to deform and flatten out. In the most compromised section, the distance from top to bottom was only about one inch, and this had allowed cracks for roots to grow and clog the line. If your sinks “gurgle,” better investigate!

This was the third time that I had done this repair in this location. Previously I had only replaced a section about 12 inches in length. This time it was a section 54 inches in length. Part of the problem has been with tree and shrub roots growing back again.

Like my previous repairs, I used sturdy rubber connectors with stainless steel clamps to connect the new line to the old line. This time, I cut sections away until I got to almost round original pipe with no signs of cracking or flattening to hopefully create a more secure seal.

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My neighbors roots really sought out any weakness or slight leak in my previous repairs, so this time I added heavyweight plastic bags and water resistant insulating foam. My hope is that these additional barriers will seal any places where the clamps are not as tight as they could be.

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Although this is what I would consider only a temporary repair, it should hold up for a few more years when replacement of the entire line will most likely be required. That will also be a good time to replace the water supply line that takes water to the house.

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You might consider these extra steps “overkill,” so I probably shouldn’t add that I also added a layer of pink attic insulation left over from a previous project as an additional barrier. Still, my back was “killing me” after all of this digging, so I was looking for anything that would prevent having to do this job again!