If I could just take a moment to stray off subject and comment on what a beautiful house and yard you have, soz.
This is only impression... clay pipes will break sometime. Remember, I'm from California.... land of the shakes and lotsa roots. What might be smartest in the LA area might well be overdoing in Ohio.
I am presuming you're free once past the trees, though I suppose I shouldn't presume that. Be nice if they could isolate A Break, or One or More Breaks.
Toying with the idea that it might be smart to put in a pvc shunt through the tree area, presuming you are going to be staying there for a while.
Babbling here, of course.
My guess is that the clay pipe is as old as your house. Clay pipe is pretty fragile. I can't answer the rest of your questions, though.
It is all tricky. My busn. partner and I redesigned a driveway some engineers had drawn through an oak tree grove for a certain project with cache'. Lotta cut to do their design.
What were they thinking, in CA? Anyway, we changed the route of the driveway entirely. But my point is, even with our design, within a certain area around the roots, they had to hand dig, not just by our pov but by the county's. Thus for many reasons we fine tuned the drive to make sense with natural grade (well, geez, if they'd asked us to design it first we would have done that first).
So, we took it to the county and sailed, mostly. The mostly ref'g that tampering with oaks at all is iffy, even many feet away.
I mention this since I don't know how clear sailing it is past your underground tree roots.
But, probably better sailing now than later, as they get denser.
Not all roots are structural... some are.
The break in my landlord's sewer line was probably because the previous tenant, a independent, long-distance truck driver, used to swing over the sewer line and park his rig--an 18 wheeler.
Pound. Pound. Pound. Crunch. Devastating for clay pipes.
Mr. M's a municipal engineer, so I asked him to take a look at the posts. He had a few comments.
First and foremost, contact your city engineer.
There are a few issues. How deep the pipe is buried is a factor in the cost, and obviously the length of the pipe to be replaced is a factor in the cost.
If you have clay pipe, old pipe, even if you repair a section, your problems may/will continue and you're better off, long-term, replacing the whole pipe so you can have peace of mind.
Without knowing the length and depth of the pipe and your local area costs, it's difficult to determine if $15,000 is an appropriate cost. For where we live, for example, it's on the high side, he says.
His advice is to check with your city engineer if contractors are required to be licensed (they are here). The city engineer's office can provide you with a listing of licensed contractors, also with other advice.
The RR guy was telling him what to look for, but evidently it was one of those sonogram type things -- "uh, yeah, it's a head, OK."
have you been putting down your drains?
Well, that abattoir in the basement does get a little messy...
We keep getting the "city engineer" suggestion from the most knowledgeable people, thanks! It's not something we would have thought of otherwise.
The break is pretty well isolated/ identified. Another detail I got last night is that the RR camera guy put some... thing (a beacon of some sort) in the pipe at the break (or just before) and then went up on the yard with a receiver of some sort. Then he pinpointed both where in the yard it was (good spot, just grass, and seemingly beyond trees -- just beyond the canopy) and how deep it was (that's where the 10-feet-down measurement came from -- E.G. saw the equipment).
However, we still don't know what's going on break --> street, nor how severe the break is.
E.G.'s tasks today are a) contact city engineer and b) contact RR guys and find out what options are for removing obstruction without further damage.
Ain't my house gorgeous, Gus? And it took a lot of messing with chemicals to get my grass exactly the right shade of green...
Thanks for asking!
Basically, after talking to a lot of people we've downgraded from red alert. The Rescue Rooter guy had a heavy odor of Eau Du Snakeoil about him, and we're now doubting both substance and implication of his pronouncements. The actual rooting (whatever they call it, I forget) carries a 90-day guarantee -- that's for back-ups, but nothing else. (As in, if the video guy can't get through but we're not backed up, too bad.) So we basically have a 90-day window (well, now down to 60 days or something) to try to figure out what's going on and what to do and have them come out and clear the pipes if there's a back-up, as opposed to a collapse.
If there's a collapse, we're in trouble.
But it seems like the kind of thing that we have is pretty common around here (lots of big trees and old houses), and people just have a -Rooter come out every few years and that's that.
We're still investigating, though.
Ideally the problem would have evaporated, but "Pending-pending" is better than $15,000 cash money on short notice.
I think the "sucker" tattoo on soz's forehead is causing far too many problems.
Perhaps tattoo removal would be the proper course of action?