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 catch basin/ grease trap chicago
Author: robk10 (IL)

Hello,

Heavy rain last Sunday and clear water came up through floor drains. So I assume it was roof runoff from downspouts. I assume the downspouts connect to the same main drain as the toilet and runs underneath the basement floor and they do not connect to the catch basin.

But what should I see when I look into the catch basin? It appears to be about 6 feet deep. The bottom 2 feet are filled with murky water of which about 18 or more inches seems to be sludge/silt. About 3-4 inches below the surface of the water is a pipe opening (inlet/outlet ?). I do not see any other pipes. How many pipes should there be? Would the inlet pipe be above or below the outlet pipe and should there be a vent pipe? Should the water be relatively clear and is there too much silt/sludge in there?

Thanks

Rob

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 Re: catch basin/ grease trap chicago
Author: plumb-bobII (VA)

Maybe I should start drinking coffee again. By catch basin, are you reffering to a grease trap? Is this in a home or business? Your thread is confusing.

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 Re: catch basin/ grease trap chicago
Author: e-plumber (NY)

I'm taking a wild guess but does it look like the one in this photo?

I've read about 'grease traps' inside of residences that can cause problems and some of them can possibly be terminated.
In addition, it appears that you have a rain water issue which causes the main sewer line to back up, (a separate problem?).


Have a read here, may be relevant: [www.plbg.com]

e-plumber
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 Re: catch basin/ grease trap chicago
Author: hj

The only thing that should go to the grease trap, if that is what you are referring to, is the kitchen sink. It will have an inlet opening on one side above the water, and an outlet trapped pipe on the other side.

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 Re: catch basin/ grease trap chicago
Author: robk10 (IL)

The basin/trap is in the backyard. It looks similar to the picture but appears to be several concrete rings stacked atop each other and finished off with 4 or 5 layers of brick at the top. They are the old chicago style HJ talks about.

Since my basin's pipes are covered with water I looked at a neighbor's. There are two 4-5 inch pipes, seperate and side by side. One is straight (inlet?) and drains the kitchen and maybe the laundry. The other one bends down 90 degrees and it's opening is below the water level. I assume this is the outlet to the house's main sewer line that connects to the city sewer.

Both my pipes are submerged. Does this indicate a clog in the outlet pipe? Is 18 inches of sediment alot?

Separate question...Since the water came up the basement floor drains after a heavy rain I assume the downspouts connect to the house sewer line. So to rod out the main line does it make a difference if you go through a downspout on the side of the house or through the outlet pipe in the basin in the back yard?

Is this something a handy homeowner could do or best left to a plumber?

Thanks

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 Re: catch basin/ grease trap chicago
Author: redwood (CT)

A pro with Professional grade equipment will Git-R-Done!

An amateur with beat up rental equipment will at best punch a small hole through a big clog and at worst be injured trying while the drain remains clogged or, have a cable stuck in the line.

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 Re: catch basin/ grease trap chicago
Author: Vern H

Are you sure you have a clog in the downspout line? I'm not a plumber but have lived in Chicago for 50+ years and dealt w/sewer backup during heavy rains. You are familiar w/Chicago's "combined" sewer system, right? I have a feeling what happened was the sewer in the street was full and unable to hold more water. What happened then is the downspout water backed up into your floor drains as it had no place else to go. Consider yourself very lucky it was clear water, not sewage. It might be worth it to have your line video'd to be sure.

Is it possible for you to disconnect and route your downspout water elsewhere? I did this several years ago and it made a big difference.

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 Re: catch basin/ grease trap chicago
Author: hj

It won't help if the main sewer is overloaded and backing up. We installed a lot of backwater valve/pump systems when I was in Chicago.



Edited 1 times.

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 Re: catch basin/ grease trap chicago
Author: PBwrencher (WI)

Many older homes had these catch basins/grease traps for the kitchen drain
piping, I can still picture them on my Great Grandmothers house built in 1890's and Grandfathers house built in 1920's in Wheaton Illinois.:)

You need to call in a licensed plumber and have him bring the plumbing up to code, such as by-pass the catch basin and remove any down spouts from the sanitary sewer and pipe it to the storm sewer.:think2:

5-17-08, 7:03am

- - - - - - -

A bath a day will keep you healthy in every way.

Safe plumbing brings life and health giving water into our homes, businesses, hospitals and takes away death and disease causing waste.

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 Re: catch basin/ grease trap chicago
Author: hj

They were still being installed in houses in the late 70's when I moved from the area.

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 Re: catch basin/ grease trap chicago
Author: more_cowbell (IL)

I have 2 100+ year old buildings in Chicago and have seen many more in process of inspection for purchase. Lucky me, I have learned enough in my encounters to be dangerous :=D

Catch basins in the city are designed to redirect stormwater directly into the sewer line under the building. Stormwater should skim off the top of sediment that accumulates up to the edge of a vertical barrier (the trap) between the sewer line and the basin where the sink line, gutter lines, and floor drains discharge. (In both my properties the barrier has broken down so all water drains directly into the sewer line)

I suggest marking the water level then emptying a 50gal or so garbage can of water into the basin. The water level should return to the "normal" level fairly quickly, otherwise your sewer line is probably at least partially blocked. (If your trap is gone, as mine are, drop a leaf onto the top of the water. It should slowly creep into the sewer line inlet, otherwise the line is blocked)

If the line is blocked then usually the first sign of trouble is water coming up the floor drains, since it is the path of least resistance to the rising water.

There are parts of the city that are prone to backflow from the sewer line during rainstorms, and when this happens tree roots in the line can trap solid material flowing back towards the building, or be compressed sufficiently to trap solid waste trying to pass to the street sewer pipe. When this happens you will need a professional to rod the line all the way to the street sewer line.

But let's not get too far ahead of ourselves.....for now just see if a large volume of water will pass through the catch basin.

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