Sewer Repair & Service
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Sewer Repair & Service
I have an old clay sewer line from my house to the city sewer main. I have had it
snaked twice in the last 18 months (after it popped open the clean out from back-
pressure) and inspected each time with a camera. It has some sags and there is
evidence of some small root intrusion. I had been hoping to wait on replacing it until
the old city sewer main is replaced, but am now thinking that this might be the time
for replacing our line. I would appreciate any recommendations for a contractor. I am
particularly interested in trenchless replacement. Thanks.
we used Nova Engineering (Richmond)
now called terra nova engineering
524-1220. Speedy, good work, neat,
Anyone had this done recently and happy with the job? We have one bid for $6,000,
but don't know how good the plumber is, and what the going rate is.
As I understand it they thread a pipe inside the existing pipe, and it should last for 100
Mr. Rooter Plumbing, 1516 University Ave. Berkeley 510-843-6378.
Family owned and operated. Not all plumbers do sewers, they do.
We used Carlos Reyes plumbing (510.215.2131). He was quick, efficient and the price
was good. We highly recommend him.
My sewer line appears to have collapse and will need a new
lateral from my house to the main. I have had several quotes
from 7000 to 13,000 to fix. Does anyone have any experience
with the company Streamline plumbing? or any company they liked?
I have not heard of Streamline. Our sewer line
failed and we used Nova Engineers out of Richmond.
Recommended by BPN. We were happy - they were
reasonable - ours was around 4500 and it connected
into the street. Your quotes seem high but
I don't know the circumstances (how long, etc)
no longer blocked
I can highly recommend Louis Ray, owner of a small sewer repair & plumbing
company called The Plumbing Ministry. He was recommended to me by ''Michael
Your Plumber'' who has done some plumbing work for us as well and is all over BPN
with positive reviews (he mostly does non-sewer plumbing), so I really trust his
judgement. Michael loves him, Louis is very sharp with a lot of sewer experience
before he founded his own company. He has done two sewer related projects for us
now, moving and replacing a bunch of old lines and moving the clean out valve. Lots
of digging and pretty messy. Anyway, very sincere guy, easy to work with and very
knowledgable. Tell him I sent you if you call him. His cell is (510) 812-2541
Call TERRA NOVA ENGINEERING in Richmond (510/524-1220;
email@example.com). Our work was done in Sept 07. We had
120 feet of sewer replaced, original terracotta line had
collapsed. The new line ran from house to Oakland city line,
which was reattached. The city main was deeper and further back
than had been surveyed, our parcel is pretty flat. The
terracotta was replaced by cast iron, but we were told PVC
would be fine too. PVC is cheaper, used for ''blow out'' jobs,.
b'c our original had collapsed, it was retrenched and regraded.
Cast iron is sturdier, but more rigid, PVC has better flex for
earthquake country. We took bids ranging $16000 to $4000.
TERRA NOVA estimated $6200, but with extra work it came out to
just under $7000. The extra work was dig a tunnel under our
fence to get the city main (10 to 15 feet from the original
estimate) and four feet deeper too! We were very impressed
with Terra Nova. They were fast q two days They cleaned up
scrupulously. My mother was at our house with our two year old,
she said naptime proceeded calmly and uneventfully. I have
nothing but praise for Shelia and Mirka, the husband-wife
owners. Shelia does the bookings and billings. She is
knowledgeable and explains details very well. Mirka is an
engineer, and does the onsite estimating, gets the crew going
on their plan, and is on site for problems and inspections. The
company obtains all permits and meets with inspectors, we did
not have to be on site for that. The Crew leader was great as
well. Please consider calling Shelia.
Please call Patrick Bailey at Emergency Plumbing and Drain, at
510-381-5000. Our old ceramic sewer pipes collapsed a couple
of years ago, and I got a range of ridiculously expensive bids
rather like yours. Patrick's bid was very reasonable (about
$2500 at the time), and he was able to come out quickly and get
the work done (trenchless sewer replacement). Since then I've
recommended him to several of my neighbors, and he's ended up
replacing their sewer pipes as well. He's licensed and a BBB
Hi, About half a year ago, for the first time we had a sewer line
backup and had roto-rooter clear it. Now I am thinking of having
someone come out and inspect it and clear or repair/replace if
necessary, because i don't want to suffer future back ups.
Hopefully trenchless if anything.. Does anyone have any
reviews/recommendations for roto rooter/pipespy/rhino rooter?
i would not use a ''rooting'' service for replacement of
your sewer line. i have researched this and it's better
to have an engineering company ''A'' license to this work
as it involves excavation, sometimes quite deep.
i've heard several negative things about a couple of
the companies you mentioned (the ones with ''rooter'' in their
name) pipe spy is decent but pricey.
we used nova engineering (now called ''terra nova'')
good work and reasonable prices. we live in berkeley
and i remember the inspector told me she liked their
We had our lines replaced (in Oakland) about a two years ago, and
I couldn't be happier with the work done by Emergency Plumbing
and Drain (510-381-5000). We had the initial assessment done by
Pipe Spy, who came out and videoed the lines so we could see that
the blockage was on our (and not the city's) property. They were
great at this stage, but then when we asked for an estimate, they
kind of vanished. I kept calling back until finally I got back a
price quote that was way higher than I thought it should be. We
also called Harry Clark, who acted quite disinterested and gave a
very high quote. Emergency Plumbing did our neighbors trenchless
replacement years ago, and they have been very happy with the
work done, and so are we. I can't remember the owners name, but
he was prompt, courteous, and the work was done with a minimum of
disruption to us.
One thing to be aware of -- the city charges a fairly high flat
fee for this type of work, which drives the cost up (since it
will be included in bids you receive). When the work was done, I
could see why, since they had to dig a fairly sizable hole in the
street and fill it back in again. The city had to come out both
times to check on progress.
After years of having our lines snaked annually, and worrying if
guests are putting ANYTHING other than TP down the toilet, it's a
relief to just flush and not have to worry.
Our sewer line gets blocked with roots and we have to have it drained at least twice per year. It is evident that we need to replace it. We have been using Mr. Rooter, who gave estimate of around $6000 for the trench-less technology. Does this seem reasonable? Have others used Mr. Rooter and if not, which plumber did you use? Any advice is welcome! Thanks!
In response to the subscriber who was shocked by the outrageous trenchless replacement price quote from Roto Rooter - join the club! I too had a very bad experience with Roto Rooter several years ago, but was then fortunate to find Pacific Drain and Rooter Service. They charge a VERY reasonable price for clearing the sewer line of roots, plus the other "gunk" that gets caught on the roots. I have them come about once a year, and they charge me about $100. I have not yet replaced my old sewer line (sleeved clay pipe, which is how the roots get in), but am in the proess of getting a quote from Pacific Drain and Rooter Service to do this. They are at 510-452-4606; 4855 Hilltop Drive, El Sobrante. I know that they travel at least as far as Oakland. Give them a call, the are great!
Should you find yourself in need of sewage work I wanted to offer an unsolicited review of Rhino Rooter (510-559-9592).
As a builder, my husband subcontracts Rooter Companies quite frequently for sewage repair. On a recomendation from another contractor, he used Greg at Rhino and couldn't stop talking about how great the experience was.
They came out promtply, did an extremely thorough job and above all were considerably less expensive than the service he had been using.
We need to have our sewer line replaced from the house to the street. Has anyone used a company called PipeSpy? Have you had any good or bad Trenchless Sewer experiences with this company? Does anyone have any comments on using PVC pipes verses AB pipes or cast iron steel?
hello -- in reply to the request for info about pipespy -- we used them for a trenchless sewer repair 2 years ago and they were great -- reasonably priced, polite, efficient, and they do great work -- we haven't had any problems with our sewer system since then (our pipes used to back up fairly often due to a tree on our sidewalk that sent its roots down into them)-- i would highly recommend pipespy.
After a long search trying to determine why we've got water in our crawl
space that was never there before, we've figured out that our neighbor's
sewer line (grey water) is leaking, a significant amount. The City of
Oakland verified this (using dye) and is in the process of ''citing'' the
owner, though the owner wants the test re-done when he's there.
The property is rental property, and the owner seems very reluctant to fix
the problem or even acknowledge that it's his problem. We have no idea
what he's going to do to stall even further. We're also not sure the City
will actually enforce their citation. Plus, we're concerned about damage
from the water (undermining our foundation, mold, who knows).
Has anybody been in a similar situation? How much damage can be
caused by moist ground over an extended period? What did you do,
physically or legally? Do we need to hire someone to ''prove'' it's his
water? Should we hire someone to evaluate damage to our property? If
so, any suggestions? What do you even look for in the yellow pages?
Will we have to sue the owner to get him to fix the problem with his
pipes, especially if we want it done sooner rather than later?
We've never dealt with anything remotely like this--we've only been
homeowners for about 5 years--so any advice would be very welcome.
Regarding the damage that can be done by ''moist ground over
an extended period''. I have owned and lived in 4 houses in
the East Bay over the last 20 years, through wet spells and
dry spells. All of the houses have had issues at one time
or another with moisture underneath, 3 had sump pumps to
keep the water level low. After you have had a muddy stream
flowing under your foundation and through your finished
basement during a storm when the power has gone out, and the
sump pump isn't working, and then mushrooms growing in the
basement carpet afterwards, you become somewhat sanguine
about the effects of moist ground. The worst effects I've
experienced due to moist ground are having to replace
carpets and moldy wall board in finished basement areas, and
the seasonal shifting of the house due to expansive soils.
The leaking sewer pipe should be fixed and soon. It will
cause problems. But in the short term the effects of moist
ground in a crawl space should not be expected to be worse
than what you have seen in a rainy year.
Leaking pipes from a neighbor's house:
I have had this same problem. Water under a house from any
source wreaks terrible damage by promoting mold, dry rot,
and powder post beetles.
You may need to install a French drain (look it up via
Google) betweeen your house and the neighbor. Getting into
a dispute with them may be more expensive in the long run
that just protecting your house by draining off the water.
A French drain will also help direct rainwater and
groundwater away from your foundation. Many contractors
will install them.
- Christine V.
This kind of leak can cause a lot of damage. You definitely
don't want to let it drag on too much! The City's citation
is good but you're right that enforcement could be a
problem. If the neighboring owner doesn't respond promptly,
then you need to collect some information and try to
resolve it yourselves first and deal with the neighbor
after. The basic process would be to hire a lawyer to write
a letter to the neighbor demanding that he fix the problem
(and analyze and explain to your your legal options); hire
an engineer or appropriate expert to determine how to fix
the problem from your side of the property line, if
possible, and get an estimate of the cost; if the neighbor
does not respond by a reasonable deadline, have the work
done yourselves; and finally sue the neighbor for your
costs. If you have to go this route it will be expensive
and a great big headache, but it's better than allowing
unsanitary water to undermine your foundation - which would
be a lot more expensive and a much bigger headache in the
Our next door neighbor's sewer pipe was leaking raw sewage.
The good news? It's fixed. The bad news? It took over a year
from the first complaint to get it repaired. You're already
on the right track by contacting the city of Oakland, though
I had one guy say that the only time he did anything about
my complaint was when I called. When the inspectors come, it
would be good for you to be there, too, and get a copy of
the report. If the city determines that the repair needs to
be made, they'll give the owner a set amount of time to
repair it. If the owner doesn't repair it within that
timeframe, then the city will have a hearing - you have to
push to be notified as to when this is. If the city
determines that the repair must be made but the owner won't
fix it, the issue will be sent to the Oakland city council
to approve funds for the city to make the repair and then
put a lien on the owner's house for the cost. Aside from
being persistent, my number one piece of advice is to
contact your city council member and get her/him involved.
Our sewer line needs to be replaced in San Pablo. Weeds have infiltrated the line at
most joints. Any suggestions for companies that do sewer line replacement?
Trenchless experience? Cost? Our experience is that the industry is spotty in integrity.
Any suggestions on how to navigate here would be appreciated.
I can't personally vouch for them, but they have done the
sewer lines for my two immediate neighbors (each side of me)
and they were both very happy with their work. Neat and
FAST (two days, I think? maybe 3?).
I'm almost positive the name of the business is NOVA - it is
a family business and the owner is professional and seems to
be really honest. He was working in our driveway for a
couple days so we got to know him pretty well.
A few months ago we replaced the main sewer line that runs
from our house into the middle of the street. We too had
old terra cotta pipes that cracked and allowed roots to
enter the line. We got multiple quotes and went with a
small company called Nova Engineering in Richmond. A
neighbor recomended them to us after they had their line
replaced. I too recomend them highly. They were very honest
about what problem we really had, and various options for
resolving it. (Unlike the various rooter services who I
didn't trust at all.) By the way, cutting down your trees
won't mend the cracks in the pipe...at some point they'll
have to be replaced regardless if a tree is there or not.
We too had to have our sewers cleared every year due to
roots and finally had them replaced last summer. We went
with trenchless, which was no cheaper ($7,500 in our case)
but much quicker and less disruption. As to whether roots
can get in again, I can't answer that yet! The trenchless
pipe comes in pieces, but they seal it together before
installation so it's ''seamless'' which is supposed to make
it much harder for roots to get in. We used Knight Sewer
and Drain 510 305 5357/582-4619 and were very happy. (He
mostly does Alameda County)
I had a trenchless sewer installed about 5 years ago and so
far so good. I did not have to dig up my garden to do it,
which was my issue also. My old 1920ms sewer was clogged with
roots. My homeowners insurance paid for the new sewer- check
I replaced my sewer line from the house to the street last year with
a trenchless line. I used Harry Clark Plumbing in Oakland and
thought they did an excellent job. Tthe fact that there was little
disruption to the yard and landscaping was a big plus. The job
- s. bryson
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